When a worker in Illinois gets hurt on the job, they can turn to the workers’ compensation system to get benefits. There are medical benefits to cover the treatment for their injury or work acquired illness. There are also disability benefits available if a worker is restricted from returning to work or can only perform lower-paid work because of their injury.
To receive those benefits, you have to follow the right process, and there are many opportunities to make mistakes that could impact your rights. Taking the three steps below can help you receive benefits after you develop a work-acquired medical condition or injury:
Report your issue to your employer as soon as possible
The workers’ compensation law in Illinois requires that employees notify their employers about their injuries or illnesses within 45 days. For example, if you get hurt because of a forklift incident, you have 45 days from the date of the actual incident to notify your employer. If you get diagnosed with a work-acquired medical condition, like carpal tunnel syndrome, which typically sets in gradually, it may be unclear on when exactly you are eligible for benefits and when notice to the employer must be provided.. If you wait too long, you may not receive benefits. Thus, reporting the injury or illness as soon as possible is very important.
Be honest and descriptive with the doctor about your condition
Trying to put on a brave face is admirable in social situations but a big mistake in a medical environment. Your doctor is not a mind-reader and will not be able to understand the impact of your condition on your life if you do not tell them about it in detail, as well as providing the medical providers with an accurate description of how the injury occurred or how the illness started.
Describing the intensity of your pain, the limitations on your function and other secondary issues, like sleep issues, can give the doctor overseeing your care a better idea of how your condition will affect your work ability. If you aren’t forthcoming with those details, they might assume your condition has less of an impact than it actually does.
Follow the treatment plan suggested by the doctor
While you may think that you don’t need to limit your lifting or take breaks from your job to stretch, your doctor understands the human body better than you do. Complying with their recommendations is important not just for your recovery but also for you to get benefits.