Workers’ compensation – does fault matter?

On Behalf of | Mar 19, 2022 | Workers Compensation |

Workers’ compensation exists to provide assistance to people that suffer an injury on the job, resulting in an accumulation of medical expenses and time off from work.

The state regulates workers’ compensation, and in Illinois, claims fall under the no-fault statute.

What is the Illinois no-fault statute?

According to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act and no-fault statute,  anyone hurt while working can seek workers’ compensation benefits regardless of who is to blame for the accident. In the simplest terms, fault does not matter. Employees that do not understand this may fail to claim benefits because their injuries were the result of negligent or risky behavior.

What do you need to prove?

You do not have to prove fault in a workers’ compensation claim. However, you do have to prove that your injuries occurred while you were working. The first step is reporting the injury to the employer immediately following the accident. Delays in reporting open the door for employers to contest your claim.

Timeframe for reporting an injury

You have 45 days from the time of your injury to report a claim, and your employer has 30 days to reply. However, there are exceptions to that rule:

  • If your injury developed slowly and resulted in disability
  • If your injury caused work-related trauma over time
  • If you experienced illness due to radiation exposure

A common example of a slow-developing injury at work is carpal tunnel, caused by consistent movement of the wrist in the same motion.

Surprisingly, most workers’ compensation claim denials are the result of failure to report on time rather than fault.