Six Things to Know when You Are Injured on The Job
Dec. 20, 2018
This post is intended as general overview of some of the basic helpful information if you are injured on the job, this post is not intended to provide legal advice, nor does it guarantee legal representation of any kind.
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The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act is the law that governs what benefits you may be entitled to if you are hurt at work. Illinois' workers compensation system is a "no-fault" system, meaning you do not have prove that someone did something wrong to make a claim for benefits. To be compensable the injury just has to arise out of the course of and during your employment.
Every case starts with an Application for Adjustment of Claim which is filed with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. You should know that your employer cannot fire you for filing a workers' compensation claim – also important to note is that this protection begins only once the application has been filed. If an employer fires an employee for filing a workers' compensation claim they may be subject to a claim for retaliatory discharge.
There are time limits to file an application and make a claim for any work injury. Contact us as soon as possible to minimize the risk of having your claim denied for untimely filing. The sooner the better – even if you have plenty of time to file your application, there may be other time sensitive things that require attention like: providing notice to your employer within 45 days of the injury, conducting a thorough investigation while the evidence is still fresh, issuing subpoenas before evidence is lost or destroyed, and seeing the right doctors. These are just some crucial first steps where mistakes can be avoided, but every case is unique so take advantage of our free consultation so we can provide you with specific advice about your specific case.
In general, the three main benefits you may be entitled to are:
Payment for medical expenses incurred as a result of the work injury;
Payment for time off work (calculated at a certain percentage);
In some cases when a work injury victim cannot return to their same job due to their injuries they may be entitled to vocational rehabilitation (training, schooling, and/or occupational therapy); and
A settlement for one of the following: permanency of your injury, wage differential (when the injured worker cannot return to the same job and will earn less in the future as a result), or a permanent total disability (when the injured worker cannot work at all due to the work injury).
Pre-existing conditions will not exclude you from receiving benefits. Injury victims very rarely can claim that they were in perfect health before an injury. As we age, our bodies develop degenerative conditions like degenerative disc disease in our spine or tendinosis in our rotator cuffs – a workplace injury is compensable even if it is an aggravation of these conditions. The job activity must only be “a cause” it doesn’t have to be “the only cause.” Someone with a preexisting condition is more likely to be more seriously injured with less trauma. Oftentimes, this can explain why a “low-impact” car accident caused serious injuries or how someone’s “bad back” went from sore and stiff to surgical after a fall.
Getting hurt on the job can be a frustrating, scary, and overwhelming experience. Getting to an attorney with an expertise in the nuances of your rights under the law is critical in ensuring you receive the benefits you may be entitled to.
Filing a claim when you are hurt on the job is not a lawsuit, but rather an application to make a claim for the benefits discussed above. Sometimes there may be a “third-party” who is responsible for your injuries. For example, let’s say you are an electrician and you drive a van to customers’ homes. While you are driving someone rear-ends you and you are injured. In this situation, you would probably have both a workers’ compensation claim and “third-party” claim against the other driver. Our firm can handle both of these claims and work together to ensure that your recovery is maximized.
Have you been hurt at work? Contact us for a free consultation with an experienced attorney today. We can provide a consultation over the phone or in person. We know you want answers quick so we promise to do our best to speak with you and/or meet with you right away.