What Is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is a system of benefits provided for workers who sustain work-related injuries or diseases. The allowable benefits are established within the framework set by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act and the Illinois Occupational Diseases Act.
Generally, three areas of benefits are provided to workers who are injured on the job:
- Payment of medical bills
- Compensation for time lost from work
- Compensation for the permanent effects of an injury or exposure
We understand that the workers’ compensation system can be incredibly confusing. Continue reading to learn more about what types of benefits you may be entitled to receive, or contact us directly to set up a free consultation with a member of our team.
Types of Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Illinois
Illinois workers’ compensation laws allow eligible employees to recover certain benefits. The purpose of these benefits is to offset some of the costs associated with a job-related injury or illness.
If you were injured at work or due to working conditions, you could be entitled to the following workers’ compensation benefits:
- Medical expenses, including ongoing care, rehabilitation, and therapy costs
- Lost wages, including weekly benefits for temporary partial or total disability
- Permanent partial disability and/or permanent total disability
- Vocational rehabilitation costs
- Death/survivor benefits
Who Is Covered Under Workers’ Compensation?
Most workers in Illinois are covered under the Illinois Workers Compensation Act when they are injured on the job. There are a few exceptions, but the law does include all workers in the building trades, including construction workers.
Who Provides Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
Under the law, your employer is responsible for providing workers’ compensation benefits. Often, your employer will have workers’ compensation insurance to handle work-related injuries. An employer may also pay the benefits directly or through a third-party administrator.
If an employer is uninsured and fails to pay workers’ compensation benefits, an injured worker may be entitled to recover from the Injured Workers’ Benefit Fund. The Injured Workers’ Benefit Fund consists of money obtained through penalties and fines collected by the State of Illinois from employers who fail to comply with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act.
What Types of Accidents & Injuries Are Covered by Workers’ Compensation?
The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act states that in order to be compensable, an injury must “arise out of and in the course of” employment. Generally, this means that the injury must have occurred while at work and/or as the result of a work-related activity.
A workplace accident is an event or circumstance that results in an injury for which benefits are payable. A single, definable occurrence will usually constitute an accident, but a repetitive injury or trauma developing over time may also be a compensable accident. Exposure to a hazardous substance on a one-time or recurring basis may also constitute an accident.
What to Do If You Suffer a Work-Related Injury
If you are injured in a workplace accident or suffer an occupational illness, you should notify your employer right away. In Illinois, you have just 45 days to report your work-related injury or illness to your employer. However, the sooner you notify your employer, the better. When you report your injury, you should provide details of how, when, and where you were injured.
You should also see a doctor as soon as possible after the incident. In most cases, you are allowed to choose your own doctor, however there are some exceptions under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. Additionally, your employer can request an Independent Medical Evaluation (IME). Employers typically request IMEs to confirm employees’ injuries and/or illnesses.
A lawyer will be able to provide detailed information about your rights and options, including your right to file a claim for benefits.