In 2021, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 3.1 workers’ compensation claims for every 100 full-time workers. While those numbers are a little skewed due to changes in the industry due to COVID-19, that’s still a large number of employees hurt on the job.
Hurt on the job? Knowing your rights and having strong representation on your side is the key to making sure you get the money you deserve.
The core concept of workers’ compensation benefits for individuals injured in the workplace is straightforward. However, “winning” a workers’ compensation claim is often complex.
As a Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer who represents Chicagoland clients in workers’ comp claims, I fight for victims every day to gain the benefits they deserve. Since workers’ compensation benefits are likely the only source of income for these victims, it’s critical we take action quickly.
Who Is Eligible for Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation provides medical benefits and wages to people injured at their jobs. These include medical expenses, lost wages, and rehabilitation costs.
“Illinois law requires employers to provide workers’ compensation insurance for almost everyone who is hired, injured, or whose employment is localized in Illinois.”
This law covers around 91% of all Illinois employees.
What Are No-Fault Workers’ Compensation Claims?
With few exceptions, an employee injured in the workplace is automatically entitled to Illinois’ specified workers’ compensation benefits.
Illinois is a “no-fault” state which means injured or sick employees are eligible to receive benefits without proving fault from the company.
Injured employees do not need to prove that the employer, work conditions, equipment, or a co-worker caused the injury.
Even if the actions of the injured employee caused the injury, they are still eligible for benefits.
What Compensation Am I Entitled To?
Those entitled to workers’ compensation benefits receive compensation for lost wages.
These benefits also include medical bills, vocational rehabilitation, and partial permanent disability benefits.
However, workers’ compensation insurance companies do not like to pay claimants any more than they have to. Insurance companies try to minimize their costs and will sometimes look for reasons to limit and delay payments to the victim.
While there is a procedure for filing a workers’ compensation claim, follow this 5-step checklist to maximize success with your claim. I know the territory, the pitfalls, and the hurdles.
5 Steps to Win a Workers’ Compensation Claim
Step 1: Seek medical attention.
First and foremost is your health. Seek medical attention and treatment immediately.
Be sure to get copies of medical records regarding your exam and treatment. Take photos of any cuts, bruises, or physical damage that X-rays may not reveal.
An examination by a physician and following their medical advice needs to be the first things you do.
Step 2: Notify your employer.
Following your initial medical treatment, notify your employer as soon as possible.
In Illinois, you must notify your employer of the injury within 45 days.
You may inform them orally or in writing (although having a paper trail is a good idea). To avoid delays, include “your name, address, telephone number, Social Security number, and a brief description of the injury or illness.”
Step 3: Document the situation.
Accidents are scary, and details are easy to overlook. Write down what you remember happening as soon as possible in your private notes.
What was happening just before the accident? Equipment condition? Where were you located? Who came to help? What was said? Get the names of witnesses.
Write down everything in your private notes – do not share these notes with anyone other than your attorney, who will find these enormously helpful in fighting for you.
Keep these notes with your medical records.
Step 4: Notify your union.
Make your steward aware of your injury if you’re a union member. Your union can provide significant help, put you in touch with an attorney, and assist in filing any claims with insurance.
Step 5: Retain an attorney.
If you don’t have an attorney through your union, or would like one of your own, contact an attorney knowledgeable and experienced with workers’ compensation cases.
Friend, Levinson, and Turner help navigate the claims process to ensure that all of your benefits are rewarded appropriately.
We fight for your rights and your benefits and assist with all the details so you can focus on healing.
We Help Victims.
The key to our success is the time we take to get to know our clients as individuals. We establish a personal relationship to understand every detail of their case and the impact it has had on their family.
Our knowledge, experience, insight, and advice are invaluable. We make the legal process as stress-free as possible. We focus on recovering the compensation you deserve while you concentrate on recovery.
If you or a loved one is injured or a victim of the negligence of others, please call Friend, Levinson, and Turner at 312-346-8465 or contact us using the form below.