Workers’ Compensation Attorneys in Naperville & Chicago
Chicago Area Work Injury Lawyers
Our Naperville attorneys are here to help you and can point you in the
right direction to find a workers’ compensation lawyer or to help
you if your employer terminates you for filing a workers compensation claim.
It is illegal in Illinois for an employer to retaliate against someone
who files for workers compensation. In fact, even if someone suffers an
on-the-job injury and a workers compensation claim is anticipated, it
may be illegal to fire the worker. Likewise, if someone is fired for taking
FMLA leave, that also can be illegal. The law protects the rights of employees
who have workplace injuries.
In Illinois, the Workers’ Compensation statute is in place specifically
to protect employees from work-related injuries. Under the statute, an
employee who is injured at the workplace while performing work duties
is entitled to medical care for their injury so long as the employee makes a claim.
The statute requires most employers to purchase workers’ compensation
insurance to pay for work-related injuries that may occur and, thus, almost
every employee in Illinois is covered by workers’ compensation from
the moment they begin working. Importantly, the Illinois workers’
compensation statute is a no-fault system, meaning the injured party does
not have to prove the employer was negligent or at fault prior to becoming
entitled to compensation.
Employees who are uncomfortable about filing a workers’ compensation
claim with their employer may take comfort in the fact that workers’
compensation claims benefit both the employer and the employee. That is,
when an employee files a workers’ compensation claim, he agrees
not to file a lawsuit against their employer for their work injury in
return for receiving compensation benefits. In fact, employers are not
harmed because it is not the employer who pays the expense, but the employer’s
workers’ compensation insurance.
On the other hand, employees benefit because when they file a workers compensation
claim, they may be entitled to payment for their medical bills, eliminating
most, if not all, out-of-pocket expenses. Furthermore, if an employee
is injured to the where they are unable to work following the workplace
injury, a workers comp. claim may allow the employee to get 2/3 of their
average weekly wages until they are able to return to their position following
their workers compensation claim. Finally, because Illinois is a worker-friendly
state, employees may also receive payment for the permanency of their
injuries depending on the workers compensation claim.
Illinois employers are required to provide three (3) basic workers’
compensation benefits to most employees who are injured on the job. The
employer is required to provide:
Medical care that is necessary for the employee to recover from an injury;
Wage replacement benefits while an employee is recovering from the injury;
Benefits to employees who suffer a serious injury as a result of the incident at work.
In addition, an employee may be eligible for vocational rehabilitation
if they are unable to return to their regular job.
Your employer is required to pay for 100% of the reasonable costs of any
medical treatment including, but not limited to, care from a hospital,
physician, chiropractor or physical therapist that is reasonably necessary
to your recovery. These services are to be processed and paid for through
Workers’ Compensation, not through your regular medical insurance.
Temporary Total Disability Benefits (TTD)
You are entitled to receive weekly wage replacement benefits, referred
to as “temporary total disability benefits (TTD)”, if you
have been off work more than three days following an on-the-job injury.
TTD, which is paid in lieu of your regular salary, is computed at 2/3
of your regular pay and is tax free. If you are off two full weeks or
more, you will retroactively be paid in full for the first three days.
Compensation for the Injury
You may also be eligible for additional compensation for your injury. Illinois
has a complicated system for evaluating the amount of compensation to
which an individual may be entitled. You may be compensated for the injury
to a particular part of your body, or reduction in your overall functional
capacity, or your inability to earn the same amount of money you earned
prior to the injury, or any disfigurement you suffer
Vocational or Occupational Rehabilitation
If you are unable to return to your job, the Board may be required to pay
for treatment, instruction, and training necessary for your physical,
mental, and vocational rehabilitation. In addition, it may be liable to
compensate you while you are participating in this rehabilitation.
What do I do if I am injured on the job?
An employee who is injured on the job should report the injury immediately,
or as soon as possible, to their supervisor. All incidents must be reported
within 45 days of the occurrence.
When should I call an attorney?
After a workers compensation injury, you should
contact us in any of the following circumstances:
Your workers compensation claim has been denied or delayed.
Your employer or its workers compensation insurance company asks you to
provide a tape-recorded statement.
You receive a letter requiring you to attend an Independent Medical Evaluation
(a doctor chosen by the workers compensation insurance company).
Your employer fires you, or puts you on permanent layoff, after your workers
You are unable to return to your work due to the permanent restrictions.
When your doctor advises you that you have reached your maximum medical
improvement and you want help in negotiating an appropriate settlement
for your injury.
How much can I expect to receive in my workers’ compensation case?
Each workers’ compensation case is different, so it’s hard
to know what you can expect to receive until your case has been reviewed.
The value of your claim will be impacted by the type of benefits you are
eligible to receive.
Does the Independent Medical Examination (IME) affect my workers’
An IME report will resolve any issues or outstanding questions about your
claim. The results of your IME can significantly impact the course of
your claim as it is also used to evaluate your ability to work status.
Is there a deadline attached to the IME report results?
The process does not have a defined timeline, but if you have an attorney,
they can advocate on your behalf to speed up delivery.
How long do I have to wait before TTD benefits start?
Once you have a restriction of duty status attached to your file and you
have missed work, TTD benefits should start. If you have not received
benefits after starting your claim and missing work, your attorney can
work with you to determine how to proceed.
Should I be worried about a utilization review?
There is no reason to worry about a utilization review. A utilization review
is not uncommon and is within your employer’s rights protected under
the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. A utilization review is
used to determine the appropriateness of projected or received care. It
searches for excess spending and can limit benefits if a provider thinks
they are being overcharged or an excess of services are being provided.
What should I do if I haven’t received workers’ compensation
benefits or if they are late?
Once your benefits begin, they should continue until your case is closed.
However, if you stop receiving payments before your case is closed, your
attorney can help you petition to have your benefits resumed, including
fees and penalties.
Is my job in jeopardy if I file a workers’ compensation claim in Chicago?
No, your job is not in jeopardy. Employees are protected from illegal termination
for filing for workers’ compensation benefits, and employers who
violate this law can be sued.
How long can an injured employee collect workers’ compensation benefits
Medical reports, benefit types, and the nature of your injuries determine
the length of your workers’ compensation benefit and leave.
Can I file a lawsuit against my employer for negligence if I accept workers'
Employers within the workers’ compensation system in Illinois have
limited liability protection. In most cases, this protection would preclude
an employee from filing suit except under very rare circumstances.
Can a positive drug test for a legally controlled substance hurt my workers’
Generally speaking, a positive drug test after a workplace injury can be
detrimental to your case, but there are instances where a successful claim
may be possible. It’s imperative to secure legal representation
immediately following a positive drug test.
Can my doctor provide workers’ compensation treatment?
According to Illinois workers’ compensation Act guidelines, you can
choose your doctor for your treatment plan; however, restrictions exist,
so consult your attorney for limitations.
To hear more about the workers comp. system in Illinois, listen to an interview
with work injury lawyer Jim Green here: