Benefits Available for Injured Workers
July 29, 2020
When we clock in at work we are agreeing to trade our time and skill for wages; we are not agreeing to trade our health or safety. The Illinois Workers' Compensation Act was enacted to create a streamlined system for injured workers to receive the benefits they are entitled to. Every employer is required to purchase Workers' Compensation insurance and the injured workers' benefits are paid by the insurance company. If the employer doesn't have the required insurance, the state has created an injured worker benefit fund. We help our clients get the benefits they are entitled to, medical treatment they need, and we fight anyone that stands in our clients' way of justice. Our clients are office workers, truck drivers, construction workers, manufacturers, machinists, maintenance workers, custodial staff, temp employees, and others.
Three Main Benefits for Injured Workers:
1. Temporary Total Disability or Temporary Partial Disability (TTD/TPD)
Temporary Total Disability (TTD) is compensation for the time that an employee is unable to work as a result of his/her injuries. TTD is calculated at 2/3 the employee's Average Weekly Wage (AWW). TTD is not paid for the first 3 lost workdays unless the employee misses 14 or more calendar days due to the injury. Time taken off work for an injury must be pursuant to a doctor's note. Temporary Partial Disability (TPD) is compensation for the time that an employee is restricted to light-duty and earning less than he/she would earn in the pre-injury job(s). TPD is paid until the worker has returned to his/her regular job or until he/she has reached maximum medical improvement. TPD is calculated at 2/3 of the difference between the average amount the worker would be able to earn in the pre-injury job(s) and the gross amount he or she earns in the light-duty job.
2. Medical Bills
The employer is required to pay for all the medical care that is reasonably necessary to cure or relieve the employee from the effects of the injury. This can include first aid, emergency care, doctor visits, hospital care, surgery, physical therapy, chiropractic treatment, pharmaceuticals, prosthetic devices, and prescribed medical appliances. Employers will typically pay medical bills directly and the injured employee will not be required to pay any co-payments or deductibles. An employer can dispute medical treatment, request an independent medical evaluation, request that a nurse case manager attend your medical appointments, conduct a utilization review, and use other means in an attempt to dispute liability for medical bills. An injured employee may choose his or her own doctor but is limited to only one doctor. However, the employee may see any doctor the employee is referred to by his/her chosen doctor and any doctor referred within that chain of doctors. The employee may not see another "chain" of doctors without the employer's approval.
There are four different ways of compensating an injured worker for the lasting effects of his/her injuries: Schedule, Non-Schedule, Wage Loss Differential, and Disfigurement. Schedule injuries are compensated according to a schedule set forth in the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act (see below) and are based on the body part injured, the severity of the injury, and the injured employees' average weekly wage. Non-Schedule injuries are also referred to as "person as a whole" or "man as a whole" and the employee can recover up to 60% of 500 weeks of his/her average weekly wage. A wage differential can be recovered when an employee's injuries prevent him/her from going back to the same job causing the worker to earn less money than before the work injury. A wage differential recovery amounts to two-thirds (2/3) of the difference between the employee's average weekly wage and the employee's post-accident wages. Disfigurement is compensation for disfiguring injuries to the head, face, neck, chest (above the armpits), arm, hand, or leg (below the knee). The injured worker would be entitled to a maximum of 162 weeks of 60% of the employee's average weekly wage.