The Employee Guide to Illinois Workers Compensation Law by sanmelody


									  The Employee’s
        Guide to
   Illinois Workers’
 Compensation Law

Law Offices of Kevin M. O’Brien
  407 South Dearborn Street
          Suite 1125
      Chicago, IL 60605
     (312) 583-9000 phone
    (312) 583-9069 facsimile
This booklet is meant for informational pur-
poses only and is not a substitute for legal
advice. We strongly advise anyone with any
legal questions to consult an attorney im-
mediately. Any action taken without an ex-
perienced attorney may negatively affect
your right to compensation.
             Table of Contents

1.   What is Workers’ Compensa-

2.   Who is covered by the Workers’ Compensation

3.   What injuries are covered?................................2

4.   What benefits can I expect to receive under the
     Workers’ Compensation Act?...........................3

5.   Notification to Employer……………………...4

6.   How do I file a claim?.......................................5

7.   Is there a Statute of Limitations during which
     time I must file a claim?....................................6

8.   Glossary of Terms…………………………….7
 Law Offices of Kevin M. O’Brien

           Our office, the Law Offices of Kevin M.
O’Brien, was established in 1982. We have extensive
experience in representing union members and work-
ing with injured clients to help them receive maxi-
mum benefits and settlements. Our office has han-
dled literally thousands of claims. We have a reputa-
tion for preparing our cases so that they are ready to
be won at trial. This facilitates a faster settlement or
resolution of your claim.
           We have tried numerous jury trials in both
the Municipal Department and the Law Division of
the Circuit Court of Cook County and the surround-
ing suburbs. We handle personal injury and workers’
compensation cases, including: motor vehicle acci-
dents, premises liability, medical malpractice, and a
wide variety of work-related accidents.
           Our offices are located in the South Loop
of downtown Chicago. If a client is not able to
travel to our office for a meeting, it is our practice to
accommodate them to the best of our ability.

Managing Partner       Legal Assistants
Kevin M. O’Brien, Esq. Margaret Bigos
                       Meaghan O’Brien
Associate Attorney
Bryan B. Hoffman, Esq.
                       Law Clerk
Office Manager         Cole Munvez
Shannon E. Lenihan
    What is Workers’ Compensation?

           Workers’ Compensation is a system of
benefits created by Illinois law for employees who
have suffered work-related injuries or diseases.
The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission is
responsible for administering the law, providing
information and assistance to employees and em-
ployers, and resolving any disputes regarding em-
ployees’ entitlement to benefits. The Workers’ Com-
pensation Commission does not pay benefits—this is
the sole responsibility of the employer and the em-
ployer’s insurance company.

   What does Workers’ Compensation
              cost me?

           Nothing. Benefits are paid to you by your
employer’s insurance carrier. The costs of these
benefits cannot be charged to you, nor can you be
fired for filing a claim after you have been injured.
Workers’ Compensation payments are not subject to
state or federal income tax and need not be reported
on returns as income. There is no fee from our office
unless we recover benefits for you.

               Who is covered?

           Almost every employee who is hired, in-
jured or whose employment is localized in the state
of Illinois is covered by the Workers’ Compensation
Act. This means that you do not have to be a resident
of Illinois to be covered. The Act covers anyone
who was injured in Illinois or anyone that was
hired in Illinois but was injured in another state.
Employees are covered from the moment they begin
their jobs.

         What Injuries are covered?

           In most instances, Workers’ Compensation
benefits are paid for accidental injuries that are
caused, in whole or in part, by the employee’s work.
Workers may also be compensated for aggravation
of a pre-existing condition. For example: re-injuries
to an employee’s back while on the job would be
covered by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act.
Injuries are accidental if they happen without plan or
design. This includes injuries brought on by the
repetitive use of a part of the body such as Carpal
Tunnel Syndrome.

      What if I am fired for filing a
     Workers’ Compensation Claim?
          It is against Illinois Law to fire, discrimi-
nate against or harass an employee for filing a
Workers’ Compensation Claim. In the rare case
where an employer fires an employee because he/she
files a Workers’ Compensation Claim, the employee
may have a retaliatory discharge case against the
employer where he/she can recover lost pay and
other damages.

 What benefits can I expect to receive
under the Workers’ Compensation Act?

1.) Medical Expenses: All reasonable medical
expenses incurred as a result of an injury should be
paid for by the Workers’ Compensation Insurance
Carrier. This includes, but is not limited to, ambu-
lance fees, emergency room service, hospital ser-
vices, doctors’ fees, physical or occupational ther-
apy, prescription drugs and vocational rehabilitation.

2.) Temporary Total Disability: (TTD)
If your injury causes you to miss work for more than
3 days, you are entitled to receive 66.66% of your
average weekly wage. This benefit lasts until you are
able to return to your job. In order to receive this
benefit, you should have a signed doctor’s prescrip-
tion setting out the number of days you will be un-
able to work. Usually, doctors hold an employee out
of work until the next doctor’s appointment when the
time off may be extended by the doctor, if necessary.

3.) Additional Benefits: Depending on the
severity and the permanency of your injuries, you
may also be entitled to payments for Disfigurement,
Permanent Partial Disability (PPD), or Permanent
Total Disability (PTD). These benefits may be paid
in a lump sum.

4.) Death: If an injury results in the death of an
employee, benefits would be paid to the dependents
of the employee.

      What should I do if I’m injured
              on the job?

            If you are injured on the job, you should
seek immediate medical treatment. You should also
report any injury, even if it does not appear to be
serious, as soon as the incident occurs. This is espe-
cially true about neck and back injuries which may
not appear to be serious at the time of the injury, but
may become disabling within hours or days after the
injury. It is important to notify any doctor that you
see that you are being treated for a work-related
injury. You should immediately report the incident
to your supervisor, foreman, boss or any other per-
son in charge. Also, ask to fill out an incident report.
In addition, it is a very good idea to keep a diary or
log of the benefits you receive, the days you miss
from work, the medical treatment you receive, and
any pain you experience.

 What should the notice to my employer

           The law requires the employee to notify
the employer of the date and place of the accident, if
known. To avoid delays, it is best to also give your
name, address, telephone number, social security
number and a description of how the accident oc-
curred. You may give your employer notice orally
or in writing.

    What if I don’t report the incident
               right away?

          You have 45 days after the date of accident
in which to report it. If notice is not given within 45
days, you may lose your right to compensation or
other benefits. Any delay in notice may result in a
delay of payment of benefits.

    May I be treated by any doctor of
              my choosing?

           Yes. You may seek treatment from your
own physician as long as the treatment is reasonable
and necessary. Your employer may ask you to be
seen by an independent medical examiner (of the
employer’s choice) for an evaluation, but you can
still see your own physician for treatment.

            How do I file a claim?

           Notifying your employer of your injury
does not automatically guarantee payment of bene-
fits to you. In fact, often an employer will not inform
an employee of the benefits due to him or her.
In order to protect your interests, a claim must be
filed with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Com-
mission. While you can file a claim on your own
(Pro Se) with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation
Commission, you should contact an attorney to assist
you. Your employer has attorneys, so should you!

 Is there a Statute of Limitations during
      which time I must file a claim?
           Yes. You have three years after the date of
the accident or two years after you receive your last
payment of compensation (medical bills paid or
Temporary Total Disability benefits.) If you do not
file within this time period, you will be forever
barred from seeking compensation as a result of your
injuries and you will lose your rights to all benefits.
These dates can be confusing so it is best to consult
an attorney.

 What happens if I am unable to return
to my same job and cannot earn as much
           If you are unable to return to the same job
and cannot earn as much money, you may be entitled
to receive a wage differential award. The wage dif-
ferential is two-thirds of the difference between the
amount the injured worker is able to earn after the
injury and the amount he or she would have been
earning in the occupation he or she had at the time of
the injury.

  What if I am not sure I want to file a
          Call our office for a free consultation.
There is no charge for an office visit. We will gladly
answer all your questions and concerns. If you
should decide to retain our office to file your claim,
you do not prepay any fees or expenses to us. Fees
and expenses are paid when the employee receives
benefits.                  6
               Glossary of Terms

Temporary Total Disability (TTD):
Payments made to you for the time that you miss
work as a result of your work-related injury. The
amount paid to you is based on a percentage of your
average weekly wage. You should receive these
checks as you would receive your regular paychecks.
You should receive them for as long as a
doctor recommends that you remain off work.

Permanent Partial Disability (PPD):
If you have a permanent disfigurement or partial
disability as a result of your accident, you may be
entitled to compensation in a lump sum settlement.
This amount is based on your average weekly wage
as well as the severity of your injury. There are also
minimum and maximum rates for these payments.
Our firm will work hard to protect your rights and to
achieve the maximum amount of benefits owed to

Permanent Total Disability (PTD):
If your injury causes the permanent loss of various
body parts, including hands, arms, feet, legs, eyes,
etc., our firm will fight to have you receive the maxi-
mum allowable recovery under the Illinois Workers’
Compensation Act. Like Temporary Total Disability
(TTD) and Permanent Partial Disability (PPD), the
amount the injured employee receives is determined
by a variety of factors including the employee’s
average weekly wage, number of dependents, etc.

 Law Offices of Kevin M. O’Brien
   407 South Dearborn Street
           Suite 1125
       Chicago, IL 60605
      (312) 583-9000 phone
     (312) 583-9069 facsimile


      CALL US NOW!

        (312) 583-9000

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