Workers’ Compensation Lawyers
Our team of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers has years of experience in work-related accidents. We’re familiar with many of the tricks by big corp and insurance companies. It’s no secret that in Illinois workers’ compensation benefits are under attack. Big corporations and their insurance companies care more about their bottom line than they do for the wellbeing of workers.
A work-related injury can throw your health and your family’s future out of balance. If you’ve been hurt in a work accident in or around Rockford talk to one of our Rockford Workers’ Compensation lawyers about your injury today. Call (815) 964-8303.
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Construction Site Accidents We Work – Common accidents and when it can be workers’ comp, personal injury, or something else. Construction Site Injury Claims – Your claim type will depend on if you’re a worker, bystander, or another contractor.
The Right To Receive Workers’ Compensation Benefits
If you have been injured in a work-related accident in Illinois, you may have the right to receive the following type of workers’ compensation benefits:
You have the right to have any medical bills related to your work-related injury paid for by your company and their workers’ compensation insurance carrier which includes things like first aid, ambulance and emergency care, doctor visits, hospital care, surgery, physical therapy, chiropractic treatment, medications, prosthetic devices, wheelchairs, medical appliances, or modifications to your home such as a wheelchair ramp.
Although Illinois law is clear that an injured worker is entitled to have their medical bills paid by their company, we have people call us all the time that are facing a situation where their employer is refusing to pay for their medical bills. Oftentimes, the company tries to steer an injured worker away from making a workers’ comp claim and tries to convince them to just use their private health insurance to cover the cost of medical bills. The company usually does this so they can avoid having a workers’ comp claim on their record which would likely result in the company having to pay an increased premium to their workers’ comp insurance carrier. When a worker is forced to use their health insurance instead of workers’ comp, they may end up being on the hook for hundreds or thousands of dollars in co-pays and out-of-pocket expenses that they wouldn’t otherwise have to pay if they had made a workers’ comp claim.
Another common situation that we deal with all the time is when a company refuses to pay for medical treatment for an injured worker. This usually happens anytime a doctor for an injured worker recommends a surgery. Because of the costliness of surgery, insurance companies try to find any way they can to weasel out of having to pay for the surgery. Sometimes they send an injured worker to what’s called an Independent Medical Exam (IME), to be examined by a doctor that’s been handpicked by the insurance company. Typically, the IME doctor ends up coming up with some bizarre theory of why the injured worker’s injury isn’t actually job-related, and the insurance company uses the IME doctor’s reports as a basis to deny a surgery. At The Rockford Personal Injury Lawyers, we have helped numerous injured workers who have had difficulty getting their medical bills covered by their employers.
Temporary Disability Payments
If you’ve been injured at work, you likely qualify for temporary disability benefits which are meant to ease the financial burden on you during your recovery. There are 2 main types of disability payments in workers comp cases in Illinois: (1) Temporary Total Disability (TTD); and (2) Temporary Partial Disability Payments (TPD).
You can receive Temporary Total Disability (TTD) payments if your doctor orders you to take time off work to recover from your injuries. You can also qualify for TTD payments if your doctor gives you certain restrictions but your employer can’t accommodate those restrictions. For example, if you injured your leg at work then the doctor may give you a note saying that you should not be standing at work but that you are medically okay to perform work while seated. In workers’ comp, this is typically referred to as light-duty. If your employer does not have any light-duty work available (such as any work that you can do from a seated position), then you would be able to stay home and entitled to receive TTD payments.
TTD payments are limited to 2/3 of an injured workers’ average weekly wage. For example, if someone normally earns $900 per week, then they would receive weekly TTD payments of $600. Illinois law also sets certain minimum and maximum rates for TTD benefits.
Under Illinois law, an injured worker may qualify for Temporary Partial Disability (TPD) payments. TPD payments may be received by an injured worker if they are still injured and working light duty (on either a part-time or full-time basis), and they are earning less than the worker would have earned before their accident. Like TTD payments, TPD payments are limited to 2/3 of the difference of how much the worker would have been making prior to their accident compared to how much they are making after the accident. For example, imagine an assembly line worker that was making $19 an hour that was injured at work and their employer offered them temporary light-duty work by giving them a job at the factory’s phone center where the worker would only make $10 an hour. In that situation, the worker would be entitled to TPD payments in the amount of $6 which represents 2/3 of the difference between the worker making $19 an hour compared to only $10 an hour. Altogether, the worker would be receiving $16 an hour ($10 an hour from the reduced pay position and $6 an hour in TPD benefits).
If sustained a work-related injury which caused a reduction in your earning power, then you may be eligible for vocational rehabilitation benefits which can include job search assistance, job training, and counseling.
Workers’ Compensation Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
WHAT IS WORKERS’ COMPENSATION?
Workers’ compensation cases do not take place in a traditional court room but at the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. There will not be a jury and instead of a judge, there If you are injured on the job, workers’ compensation laws require your employer to pay for the cost of your medical bills and a portion of your lost salary for the time you missed work while recovering from your injury.
I WAS INJURED ON THE JOB, DO I HAVE A WORKERS COMPENSATION CASE?
Generally, if you are injured in a work-related accident then you are entitled to workers compensation benefits. There are other situations that you may not think fall under workers comp but are in fact considered work-related accidents. For example, injuries that occur at your employer’s parking lot may be covered under worker comp. On the other hand, there are accidents that happen on the job but may not be covered under workers comp. For example, independent contractors are not typically covered under workers comp and even if they have an injury while working they will typically not be entitled to workers comp benefits.
WHAT TYPE OF EMPLOYEES ARE ENTITLED TO WORKER’S COMPENSATION BENEFITS?
Most employees in Illinois are covered under workers comp but independent contractors typically are not covered (although there are arguments that can be made that an independent contractor should actually be classified as an employee). There are three situations in which you can bring in Illinois workers compensation case: (1) you were hired and Illinois (even though your job may be in another state); (2) the accident in which you were injured occurred in Illinois; and (3) your employment was principally located in Illinois (for example, you mostly work in Illinois but you were injured outside of the state).
I’M NOT SURE IF MY JOB HAS WORKERS COMPENSATION INSURANCE, HOW DO I CHECK?
Pretty much every employer in Illinois is required to have workers compensation insurance or be self-insured. Illinois law requires employers to report their workers compensation insurance information to the Illinois Worker’s Compensation Commission and you can search their database at the following link:
WHAT IF MY JOB DOESN’T CARRY WORKERS COMPENSATION INSURANCE, WHAT DO I DO?
Even though Illinois law requires most employers to carry workers compensation insurance, some employers try to save a few pennies and don’t purchase any. The good news for employees is that in 2005, Illinois created the Injured Workers’ Benefit Fund which can provide coverage in situations where someone is injured while working for an employer that doesn’t have Worker’s Comp. insurance. Unfortunately, getting Worker’s Comp. benefits from the Injured Workers’ Benefit Fund involves more complexities than a typical workers compensation case, and we highly suggest hiring a lawyer if you find out that your job does not carry workers compensation insurance.
HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO FILE A WORKERS’ COMPENSATION CLAIM?
Under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation act, you have three years from the date of your accident or two years from the date of your last benefits payment to officially file your workers compensation case. To preserve the statute of limitations, you have to file a form known as Application for Adjustment of Claim with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission.
I WAS HURT AT WORK IN THE ACCIDENT WAS MY FAULT, CAN I STILL GET WORKERS COMPENSATION BENEFITS?
Yes, even if you are fully or partially at fault for the accident that led to your injuries you can still recover workers compensation benefits. In certain types of cases like car accidents, one driver has to prove that the other driver was at fault for causing the car accident. However, in Illinois workers compensation cases, it is a no-fault system so regardless of who caused the accident you can still recover for your injuries unless you are engaging in “horse play” or doing tasks unrelated to your job.
DO I HAVE TO PAY TAXES ON WORKER’S COMPENSATION BENEFITS?
No. You do not have to report your workers’ compensation benefits as income on your federal or states taxes and you do not have to pay any taxes for the benefits.
I’VE BEEN INJURED ON THE JOB BUT I FEEL BAD ABOUT MAKING MY EMPLOYER PAY FOR MY RECOVERY. WHAT SHOULD I DO?
You don’t have to feel bad about your employer because Illinois law requires most employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance. That means that your employer’s insurance company has to pay for the benefits and not your employer. Rest assured that no one has ever felt bad about an insurance company having to pay for worker’s compensation, except maybe insurance executives.
WHO SHOULD I REPORT MY INJURY TO AT WORK?
Generally, you have 45 days from the time of the accident to report the injury to your employer. You can give notice either orally or in writing and the notice of accident should include the approximate date and place of the accident. It is very important for your case that you give notice to your employer as soon as possible.
CAN I BE FIRED FOR REPORTING AN ACCIDENT OR FILING A WORKERS’ COMPENSATION CLAIM?
No. It is illegal for an employer to discharge, harass, or discriminate against you in any way for exercising your workers’ compensation benefits. We do not tolerate any of this behavior against my clients and have assisted clients in filing a separate lawsuit against an employer for unlawful actions.
HOW MUCH DO I HAVE TO PAY FOR AN ATTORNEY TO REPRESENT ME?
You do not have to pay anything upfront. We earn up to 20% of the amount we recover from your employer. We only get paid if you get paid.
IF WE CAN’T REACH A SETTLEMENT, DO WE HAVE TO GO TO COURT? WILL THERE BE A JURY?
Workers’ compensation cases do not take place in a traditional court room but at the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. There will not be a jury and instead of a judge, there will be an arbitrator who is essentially judge and jury. We will present your case to the arbitrator and the arbitrator will issue a decision.
Call a Rockford Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Suffering a work-related injury can be a devastating event, especially if you have family members relying on your paycheck for their livelihood. You do not have to deal with this situation alone. We have helped numerous workers in Rockford and throughout northern Illinois with their workers’ compensation cases. Our attorneys have experience litigating cases before the Illinois Workers Compensation Commission. We also have experience with appeals in Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, and we recently defended a trial with that the insurance company appealed but we were able to have our trial win upheld by a unanimous decision of 3 commissioners with the Illinois Workers Compensation Commission.
To discuss your case with a Rockford Workplace Injury Lawyer, call us at (815) 964-8303 for a free consultation.