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Workers' Compensation Law

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Illinois Workers’ Compensation Laws

For workers across the state of Illinois, the possibility of a workplace injury will probably be a long way down your list of daily worries. In between the demands and stress of your working and personal life, the risk that your work may negatively impact your health will not be your greatest concern.

However, that risk does exist and workers in Chicago, Peoria, Schaumburg and elsewhere suffer illness and injury every day as a result of their employment. Illinois workers’ compensation rules protect workers when this happens, regulating what is covered by workers’ compensation and how benefits can be claimed.

Workers’ compensation insurance

All employers in Illinois are required to have workers’ compensation insurance to cover claims for compensation if an employee is injured in the course of employment. Workers’ compensation insurance will pay a range of benefits to employees with eligible work-related injuries.

Compensation is paid regardless of who was at fault for the accident (including the worker themselves), although the existence of insurance also means workers give up their right to sue their employer for damages.

What does workers’ compensation cover in Illinois?

Workers’ compensation exists to provide benefits when an employee is injured or falls ill as a direct result of their employment. This includes where they injure themselves on company property in the course of their work, and when they fall ill as a consequence of their work environment. Exceptions where workers’ compensation is not payable include:

  • Company parties and picnics, unless the employee was ordered to attend
  • If the employee was intoxicated at the time of the accident
  • If the employee was involved in an illegal activity during their work

Workers’ compensation covers a range of benefits when an employee suffers an injury at work. These include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Death benefits
  • Disability benefits for temporary and permanent injuries

Benefits related to the disability are intended to cover lost wages while a worker recovers. If the injury is permanent, they could become long-term payments, based on a percentage of the worker’s previous wages.

If the disability means that a worker can return to work but no longer earn the same wages, benefits may continue to be payable to help cover the fall in income.

Workers’ compensation claims process in Illinois

A worker in Illinois must inform their employer of the accident which caused their injury within 45 days. If they are reporting a work-related illness, they must tell their employer within 45 days of being made aware that the illness is related to their work.

After being informed of an injury, your employer must report the claim to its insurance company, which will work out what benefits you are eligible for. Workers in Illinois are, in general, allowed to select their own doctor for treatment. However, an insurance company could order a medical exam as it investigates the claim.

It is possible an insurance company will dispute the evidence of the accident and injury, and deny a worker’s claim. Illinois law says that a worker who is denied workers’ compensation benefits must make a claim to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission within three years.

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