What Benefits Are Available Through Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation insurance is one of the most significant benefits that employees have in the modern workplace. However, even though they may know they’re covered by a policy, many people don’t know how to file a claim or don’t know what benefits are available to them if they do become injured. If you or a loved one has been hurt, it is essential to understand your rights, so you can take your next steps toward healing.
One of the best places to start is by calling a workers' compensation attorney in your area. If you’re in Elgin, Illinois, or the surrounding areas—including Aurora, St. Charles, and Kane County—contact me, James P. Leahy Attorney At Law, to get started.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Illinois
Nearly every state in the country has some sort of workers’ compensation insurance that employers have to comply with. In Illinois, this means that almost all employees are covered because employers who have just one employee (even a part-time employee) are required to carry it. The only exceptions are those who are sole proprietors, corporate officers, or members of an LLC. Workers’ comp is available starting on the very first day of your employment, and there is no waiting period for coverage to kick in.
This type of insurance is intended to cover any expenses that stem from a job-related injury or illness. Importantly, this includes accidents that were the fault of the employee (with few exceptions). For example, if it was found that the employee was impaired on drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident, then workers’ comp would not cover the damages. It does cover both traumatic injuries due to a one-time accident as well as cumulative injuries or illnesses that worsen over time (e.g., carpal tunnel, hearing loss, exposure injuries, or even mental health injuries).
Applying for Benefits
The basic process of applying for workers’ compensation benefits is the same in most states, but you will need to be aware of your state’s statute of limitations and what to do if a workers’ compensation claim is denied.
You must report your injury to your employer within 45 days of the accident; however, you are permitted to get medical attention first.
After you report, your employer will help you fill out claim forms and may ask you to see a different medical provider. It’s essential that you attend all medical appointments and follow through with treatment plans.
You should then contact a workers’ compensation attorney who can assist you with your claims and fight for the compensation you deserve. This is especially true if you have a complicated case or if you have already received a workers’ compensation denial or Notice of Controversion.
Determining Factors in Receiving Workers’ Comp Benefits
The amount of your workers’ compensation settlement offer will depend on a few factors:
Your current wages: Typically, Illinois workers’ comp pays ⅔ of your average weekly wage base for the duration you’re out of work.
The type of injury: In general, the more serious the injury, the more money you’ll receive.
What medical treatments are needed: Injuries and illnesses that require major surgeries or ongoing treatments will typically pay out more and be more complicated to settle.
How long you’ll be out of work: It depends. In some cases, a workplace injury will only prevent you from working for a short period of time. In others, your injury may not allow you to return to the same type of work, and you’ll need retraining. Still, in others, you may be partially or permanently disabled and may be due more compensation for this. For those who are permanently disabled, you may decide to pursue a compromise and release agreement which is essentially a lump-sum payment that’s made instead of agreeing to pay ongoing medical care and benefits.
When to Get Help From an Attorney
An attorney can help at any stage in the process, but they can be especially useful if you encounter obstacles along the way. Specifically, they can help you understand the reasons a workers’ compensation claim may be denied, what to do if you get a Notice of Controversion, and how to pursue a workers’ compensation appeal.
In some of the more complex cases, you may be able to request a hearing where you can present your case in front of a judge. Here, a skilled attorney can be an indefensible asset helping to represent your case, advocate for your rights, present evidence, and call up witnesses in an effort to achieve the maximum settlement.
Don't Face This Alone
At James P. Leahy Attorney At Law, I care about your future. If you’ve recently been injured while on the job and are concerned that you may not be getting the compensation you deserve from workers’ compensation, reach out to me in Elgin, Illinois, to schedule a consultation.