What Are the First Steps to Filing for Workers’ Compensation?
While some people are tempted to associate on-the-job injury with physically intensive occupations such as construction or agriculture, employees who hold office jobs are just as likely to sustain injuries deserving of workers’ compensation. In the difficult period of recovery after injury, it can be overwhelming to make sure that you are taking all the right steps toward being compensated fairly.
Workers’ compensation is a system of benefits provided to employees who experience injuries or diseases directly related to their work. Because workers’ compensation benefits are regulated by state governments, Illinois has its own distinct structure of benefit distribution. It is therefore essential to understand the unique requirements and procedures of Illinois’ compensation system in order to properly file for the compensation you deserve. Although on-the-job injuries are unfortunately common, most employees are covered under workers’ compensation law from the first day of employment.
How Is Compensation Awarded?
There are various forms of compensation that may be provided to an injured employee. An employer is legally responsible for the cost of these benefits. According to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission’s Handbook on Workers’ Compensation and Occupational Diseases, workers’ compensation benefits can include:
- Medical care to treat injury or disease
- Temporary total disability (TTD) benefits provided to employees who are unable to work due to injury or disease
- Temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits awarded to employees able to manage a lighter workload for decreased pay
- Rehabilitation benefits
- Permanent partial disability (PPD) or permanent total disability (PTD) benefits for employees sustaining permanent injuries
- Death benefits for family members
Although employers are legally required to have an established system of compensation for injured workers, disputes can arise between employers and victims of injuries sustained on the job. These disputes are settled by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission (IWCC). Any employee who seeks to receive unpaid benefits, or is concerned about receiving future benefits, must file a worker’s compensation claim.
Taking Action After Injury
If you are injured at work, there are key steps you should immediately take to avoid anything that may delay or impede the benefits you should receive.
- Seek Medical Help. Critical injury, accumulated damage, and disease all require expert medical attention. Be sure to inform your doctor of the work-related nature of your injury or illness, so that billing can be handled properly by the office.
- Notify Your Employer. It is important to notify your employer of the accident as soon as possible- under most circumstances, that means no more than 45 days after the date of the incident. A report is best made through writing, to ensure there is documented evidence of the notice, and should include details such as when and where the accident occurred.
- Stay Involved with Your Case. Once you have reported the injury, your employer has a duty to begin insurance processes, file accident reports, and accept or deny injury claims. Most employers are backed by experienced legal teams who may contest and examine details regarding your injury, medical treatment, or wages. Speaking with your lawyer can help to give you assurance that you are following all the appropriate procedures.
- Complete and Submit Forms. For employees seeking the involvement of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission (IWCC) to settle disputes, some forms will need to be submitted for review. Once a claim has been filed, a case number and an arbitrator will be assigned by the IWCC. In most cases, both employer and employee will hire attorneys. If an employee chooses not to hire an attorney, they will hold full responsibility for tracking the claim, and appearing and presenting evidence at hearings when necessary.
- Monitor Claim Status. Attentiveness to your case and good communication with your lawyer will increase your ability to receive your deserved workers’ compensation benefits. The IWCC maintains an online database where you can track the status of your case.
Prince Law Firm Is Here for You
If you have sustained a work-related injury, your top priority is recovery. We believe that your right to safety and wellbeing should not be compromised. Equipped with extensive knowledge of the workers’ compensation process, our team is ready to support you as you seek to regain health after injury.
Our team at Prince Law Firm has proven its success in advocating for injured workers and handling disputes between employees and employers. Providing expertise and support, we work diligently to attain the workers’ compensation benefits you need to mitigate financial burdens while you focus on recovery. Our dedication and commitment make the difference when you need us most. Reach out to our firm today and let us help you receive fair compensation.