Illinois Lawyer Referrals and Legal Guidance
Urbana Area Workers’ Compensation Cases
Job-related injuries and illnesses in Illinois are handled by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. If you are injured on the job in Urbana, Champaign County or most of the surrounding counties, or if you are injured while working out of state but work in those areas, your case likely will be heard at the Urbana Civic Center – 108 East Water Street. As of January 2012, three arbitrators handle hearings at this location.
Most injuries entitle you to medical and wage-compensation benefits. For example, if you sprain your back while lifting a heavy box, or sprain your shoulder from repetitive work on an assembly line, you will receive benefits while you recover, or longer if your injury is permanent. In Illinois, workers also are entitled to benefits for illnesses caused by work, such as exposure to fumes.
Illinois is a no-fault state, meaning it doesn’t matter if your employer’s negligence led to your injury, or if it was your mistake. As long as it arose “out of and in the course of employment” the injury is covered. You cannot sue your employer for negligence in most cases.
In Illinois there are three main types of benefits:
- Medical. All reasonable and related medical expenses are covered 100%. There should be no out-of-pocket expenses for the injured employee.
- Temporary Total Disability. Injured employees generally receive 2/3 of their weekly wages, tax free, for the time they are temporarily unable to work. If you are able to perform some work, but your employer doesn’t have appropriate work available, you can receive this benefit as well.
- Permanent Partial Disability. Employees can be compensated for the permanent nature of their disability. This usually occurs after you are discharged from your doctor’s care because they have determined that your injury will not improve (also known as “maximum medical improvement”). You can also receive benefits if you can return to work but are making less because of your disability.
Under Illinois law, employees are allowed to see the doctor of their choice. You may see a doctor in Urbana, or anywhere else, for treatment of your work injury. Your doctor does not communicate with your employer. The only time they can intervene in your medical care is by requesting a one-time independent medical exam (IME) by a doctor of their choice.
If you are looking for a work-injury attorney in Urbana, we recommend finding someone who focuses their practice on workers’ compensation. We know several attorneys in the area who not only focus on injury benefits but also have a track record of success. Almost all work injury lawyers in Illinois charge on a contingency basis, meaning you only pay if you recover.
Attorney fees in Illinois are limited to 20% of what you recover. Basically, if your attorney gets you $60,000, they get $12,000. If they get you nothing, you pay nothing. Because there are no hourly fees in this type of case, we recommend going with an attorney that focuses their practice on job injury cases. All of the lawyers we refer people to work on a contingency basis.
There are important deadlines to keep in mind if you are injured at work. First, make sure to notify your employer as soon as possible. Illinois law requires you to notify them within 45 days of being injured. The best way to give this notice is in writing. Second, there is a time limit on filing claims if your benefits are disputed. You have three years from the accident date or two years from the date of your last benefits to file a claim with the Commission.
Workers’ compensation claims are not lawsuits – they’re more like claims for health insurance coverage. Your lawyer will deal directly with the insurance company most of the time, not your employer. But unlike health insurance situations, quick action can improve your case.
If you are injured on the job, we recommend consulting with an attorney. Hiring an attorney to see you through the process can give you peace of mind. And more importantly, if your case gets complicated – perhaps you are denied benefits or the insurance company disputes your doctor’s diagnosis – having a good attorney representing your best interests can make all the difference.
Accidents in any of the following cities will likely be assigned to a hearing with an Arbitrator at the Urbana Workers’ Compensation Commission:
|Champaign||Ford County||Mahomet||Piatt County|
Since 2001, findgreatlawyers.com has been the place to turn to for Illinois workers’ compensation law firm recommendations and legal advice. Our law firm will talk to you for free, answer questions and if needed refer you to an independent lawyer that is right for your unique situation. You can contact us at (800) 517-1614. We don’t guarantee a result, but do promise to treat you as if you were a family member or friend.