What is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system of benefits paid by employers to workers who experience job related injuries or diseases. Every State has workers’ compensation laws. Illinois first began its system in 1912, with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission being established in 1913 to hear the claims of injured employees. The Commission is an impartial administrative court system. Essentially any employee hired and injured, with employment localized in Illinois, is covered.
What Injuries are Covered?
The law covers injuries that are caused, in whole or in part, during the course of the employee’s employment. For example, you can file a claim for a one time injury, such as lifting a heavy object and injuring your back or for repetitive movement such as typing for hours a day, which may cause an injury such as carpal tunnel.
If you are injured on the job it is important to immediately notify your employer. Note the time and place of the accident, a brief description of the injury or disease, and the employee’s contact information. The employer generally needs to be notified within a specific time period of the accident or the employee could forfeit all benefits. Notice can be longer depending on the type of injury claimed. Notice means telling a manager or higher superior of the injury. It is important to also consult with an attorney immediately to ensure a timely claim.
When you have been injured you should see a medical provider immediately. Next, cooperate with all doctors during the process. The employer may require an injured worker to see their medical specialists to verify the injury. Let your medical provider know that your injury is work related so they can seek compensation from the employer.
Workers’ compensation will cover your medical bills, lost wages, medical supplies, and will pay you a lump sum settlement of the maximum recovery you make. If your injury is work related and there is no third party liability, your sole claim would be a workers’ compensation claim. However, do not overlook that while you were working a non-employer or non-employee is partly responsible for your accident, you are then free to sue that person or entity directly.
If you file both a workers’ compensation claim and a civil claim in the Circuit Court for the same accident, the workers’ compensation will automatically put a lien against any compensation you recover in the third-party who caused your injury. A lien means that if you recover any compensation for damages, from the liable person, you have a legal obligation to re-pay to the workers’ compensation insurance company any money paid for medical bills or lost wages. Plaintiffs will normally give you written notice of this claim, but the law states that the lien exists whether or not you receive any such notice in some circumstances.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not a legal opinion. Your case may be different. Consult an attorney in your state for further guidance with your claim. If you are injured at work, please call David K. Kremin & Associates for a free consultation at 1(800) ASK-A-LAWYER or 1(800) 275-2529.