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.
If you have been fired because of your workplace injury, contact Fish Potter Bolaños, P.C. online or by calling (312) 818-2407.
The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Statute
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 compensation injury.
- 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.
For more information, download our Workers’ Compensation, Assault Leave, Disability Leave and Benefits booklet for members of the Chicago Teachers Union.
Workers’ Compensation Frequently Asked Questions
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’ compensation claim?
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 in Chicago?
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' compensation benefits?
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’ compensation claim?
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:
Call us at (312) 818-2407 for your initial case review.