The Romaker Law Firm is a premier Chicago-based workers’ compensation law firm. For over 20 years we have faithfully served our clients. We have earned our reputation as a firm that fights aggressively for our clients to ensure that they receive maximum compensation for workplace injuries.
If you are considering filing a workers’ compensation claim, check out our top 10 things to know about filing an Illinois workers’ compensation claim. Our goal is to be a resource for you if you plan on filing a claim.
And if you require assistance in pursuing your rights, contact us. Our staff is fluent in both English and Spanish. To consult with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer about your case, contact us now at 312-377-7000.
#1 – What is workers’ compensation?
Workers’ Compensation is a mandated insurance program that every employer in Illinois is required to carry. The insurance policy insures that employees injured while working are entitled to medical treatment.
Workers’ compensation law is set forth in the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission is responsible for administering workers’ compensation and overseeing disputes that arise between employers and employees over benefits.
If you are injured at work your employer is required under Illinois law to cover the costs of your medical treatment. You are also entitled to receive a portion of lost wages for time missed from work, as well as other benefits depending on the duration and severity of your injury.
#2 – Injuries covered under workers’ compensation
Workers’ compensation law applies to injuries that occur while on the job. If you injure yourself while performing a task outside of the course and scope of your employment, you will likely not be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
Some examples of injuries that would be covered under Illinois law include:
- An injury to your back from lifting an item while at work
- Injuries resulting from a car accident while making a delivery
- Heart attack caused by work
- A pre-existing injury that is aggravated or re-injured at work
Determining whether your injury occurred outside of the scope of your employment can be confusing. If you are unsure whether your injury is covered your best option is to contact a workers’ comp lawyer.
#3 – What you should do if you are Injured at work
If you are injured at work the most important thing is to seek medical treatment. Following medical treatment, you must notify your employer of your injury within 45 days of the injury. If you do not file a claim, your benefits could be denied.
In addition, it is important to keep detailed records, including receipts from doctors, pharmacies and other providers. Keep your employer involved throughout the process and provide them with copies of your documents.
#4 – Time to file your claim
You are required to report your injury to your employer within 45 days of the accident.
However, you have 3 years from the date of your accident to file a claim for benefits with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. If you fail to report your injury to your employer within 45 days, your claim will be denied even if you file within the 3-year period.
If it has been more than 3 years since your accident, but you have received benefits within the past 2 years, you may fall under an important exemption that could allow you to file a claim for benefits.
#5 – Your employer cannot retaliate against you
Your employer cannot fire you for filing a claim. Some people avoid filing claims out of a fear of losing their jobs. Under Illinois law, it is illegal for your employer to terminate you for filing a claim.
#6 – There is no fixed period for receiving benefits
Every workers’ compensation case is different. Your benefits will not be arbitrarily cut off at a pre-determined period. Generally speaking, your benefits will be terminated if you return to work, if you agree in writing that you will no longer receive benefits, or you lose you workers’ compensation case.
It is not uncommon for claimants to prematurely give up on receiving benefits because they are unfamiliar with the law. It is critical to consult with an experience workers’ comp lawyer during this process.
#7 – How long does a workers’ compensation case take?
In many ways the amount of time your workers’ compensation case takes depends on who your attorney is. Many firms do the minimum amount of work, letting their clients’ cases drag out for years.
There are things your lawyer can do to speed things along. At Romaker Law, we go the extra step to maximize your compensation.
#8 – Can you recover benefits if you are an “independent contractor”?
Only ‘employees’ are eligible for workers’ comp benefits. However, just because your employer calls you an ‘independent contractor’ does not mean that you are one.
Under Illinois law, if your employer does any of the following, you may be an employee:
- Determines how your work is done
- Pays you benefits
- Deducts taxes from your pay check
- Restricts you from working for other companies
- Many more factors
#9 – Undocumented immigrants may qualify for benefits
If you are an undocumented immigrant and are injured in a workplace accident, you have the same right to benefits as any U.S. citizen. If you have been injured at work, you are entitled to medical treatment and potentially lost wages. Filing a workers’ compensation claim will not affect your immigration case or status.
#10 – Hire a Lawyer
Workers’ compensation law is confusing. There are important deadlines and procedural requirements, that if missed could result in your claim being denied. An experienced Illinois workers’ compensation lawyer can be indispensable. For a free consultation about your Illinois workers’ compensation question, contact Romaker Law today.