What is Worker’s Compensation?

If you are an employer in the United States there are many considerations when it comes to employing others. One such consideration is your state’s workers’ compensation laws. These laws protect employees in the instance of work-related injuries or aggravations to existing injuries. They provide a benefit for the employer because they protect an employer from a lawsuit and all of the costs associated with litigation. Each state has workers’ compensation laws and it is best to consult with an attorney to understand the particulars of your state’s laws.

Generally, employers are required to purchase insurance for workers’ compensation to cover their employees. In Illinois, the employer is required to cover the entire cost of the insurance and cannot have employees contribute to the cost. Employers are also prohibited from retaliating against an employee who files a claim. There are things employers must do in Illinois:

  1. Purchase workers’ compensation insurance or self-insure from the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission.
  2. Post a notice in the workplace
  3. Keep track of all accidents that involve an employee loss of more than three days and report the statistics to the Commission.

There are penalties for employers failing to have workers’ compensation insurance. Penalties can include imprisonment and fines. Employers can also lose the protection from civil lawsuit afforded by the Workers’ Compensation Act, which may result in significant damage awards.

When an employer has been notified of an accident, the employer should:

  1. Ensure the employee has all necessary medical services;
  2. Inform the insurance company of the claim;
  3. If there has been an injury beyond three days, an employer must either begin paying benefits, let the employee know if additional material is needed, or let the employee know why benefits are being denied.

If the employer does not pay benefits, both the employee and employer should consult attorneys immediately for further advice. The employee’s next step may be to file a claim at the Workers’ Compensation Commission. At this stage, the case will be assigned to an arbitrator. It is up to the parties to keep the case moving along, periodically checking in with the Commission. The arbitrator may dismiss the claim or the parties can escalate to a trial.

In Illinois an employee must file a claim within a certain time period of an injury or death resulting from a workplace accident or after receiving disability benefits. However, different diseases have different time limits so it best to consult an attorney. Attorney’s fees in Illinois are set by statute.

It is the employee’s burden to prove that they are entitled to benefits. Both sides may appeal the arbitrator’s decision, and if necessary, escalate to the court system or settle privately.


This article is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice. Your case may be different. In considering the statute of limitation this firm is not giving an opinion on when the statute of limitation expires. The statute of limitation requires a claimant to file a lawsuit by a certain date. Failure to file a lawsuit before the expiration of the statute of limitation bars a claimant from filing a claim and from being compensated. Hiring an attorney immediately will protect your rights.

Consult an attorney in your area for further guidance. If you were injured at work, please call one of our attorneys at David K. Kremin & Associates, and we will give you a free consultation. We never charge unless we collect for you. Please call 1(800) ASK-A-LAWYER or 1(800)275-2529.