Frequently Asked Questions About Illinois Workers’ Compensation Laws
If you have been injured at work recently, you know how complicated the claims process can become. I speak with workers’ compensation clients on a regular basis who rely on my 35 years of experience to answer their questions about how the system works. Here are a few of the most common questions asked by my clients:
If I go back to work after my injury, can I still get workers’ compensation benefits?
Yes, you can. Your benefits cover several expenses, including medical care and time off from work. Your benefits will still cover your medical costs, even after you return to work. You may return to work when your doctor says you are ready, though you may still have restrictions. In fact, your employer will expect you to return when your doctor declares you healed enough to begin your duties. Contact an attorney right away if your employer expects you to work outside of your restrictions.
Are there any work injuries workers’ compensation benefits DON’T cover?
Yes. Although the law generally does not look with negligence involved in work injuries, the law does have a few exceptions, including:
- Self-inflicted injuries — For example, if you purposefully injure yourself or start a fight at work.
- Violations of company policy — If you were drinking on the job or committing some other major violation and injured yourself, you may not receive benefits.
- Committing a crime — You are not protected from injuries incurred while committing a crime against the company.
How long will my workers’ comp case take?
How long your case takes will depend on how severe your injuries are and how much medical treatment you need. I generally do not advise settling your case until you complete your medical care.
Can my employer fire me for filing a workers’ compensation claim?
No. Under the law, your employer cannot fire you for filing a workers’ comp claim. This is considered retaliation, and it is illegal. If your employer fired you after filing a claim, seek legal assistance immediately, even if they claim the termination is for another reason. My office has experience with workers’ comp retaliation claims.
How do I pay my bills while I am out of work?
I understand that you have real financial concerns during your workers’ compensation case. In some cases, you may still receive a paycheck for your time out of work if you have a doctor’s recommendation. Usually, your employer must pay two-thirds of your regular pay. In addition, you do not have to use your sick or vacation days due to a work accident.