On January 12, 2015 a man was killed in a construction accident in Edwardsville, IL. Apparently a crane that he was working near collapsed on top of him. As unbelievable as this sounds, injuries like these are not unusual in construction workplaces. Fortunately, the state of Illinois and organizations like OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) have created standards that must be followed in workplace environments.
Most employees are covered under workers’ compensation in the state of Illinois as a result of the promulgation of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act of 1911. The Act also creates the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, which decides the injury cases in the workplace environment. It is wise to check with your state as to what kind of employees are covered under the workers’ compensation program. The beauty of the system is that an employee can recover for such injuries regardless of who is at fault. As long as the injury was sustained at the workplace it is eligible to go through the workers’ compensation system. This reduced costs for both the employer and the employee, as they can avoid going through the traditional court system to seek compensation.
An injured employee will receive what is called Temporary Total Disability (TTD) which is essentially a percentage of their weekly earnings until they can return to work. Other benefits are possible, such as reasonable hospital and medical bills, as well as some physical or mental therapy. If the worker is permanently injured or dies, the spouse or dependents may pursue a lump sum or other benefits.
If you have been injured at work, it is imperative to provide the employer with notice of the accident. There is a narrow time frame in which to do this, so as soon as an employee is aware they must notify their employer. Many workplaces have formal procedures for doing this so it is important to be aware of what is required before an injury happens. Some workers are concerned that their employer may retaliate against them for filing a claim. It is against the law for an employer to do so. Make sure you do not sign anything or submit to a recorded statement right away. It is best to get an attorney immediately to make sure you are fully compensated for your injury. Remember it is not just about paying the medical bills you have now but also any future bills that may happen years from now as a result of your injury.