Illinois Lawyer Referrals and Legal Guidance
Illinois Workers' Compensation
Many people who are hurt on the job are unable to work while they recover and some are unable to return to their jobs at all. A work injury can be a major setback and in some cases the injury is severe enough that your life is essentially on the line. We get that. We have been involved in thousands of Illinois work comp cases. As a result, we treat every referral personally as if the caller was a family member or friend. There are many great attorneys out there, but also some really bad ones. We help you avoid those and connect you with a law firm that will care and fight for you.
The law in Illinois says that if you suffer a work-related injury, you get workers' compensation. It's similar to health insurance, but it's exclusively for work injuries and illnesses. You file a claim for lost wages and medical bill reimbursement. If your claim is approved, the insurance company pays you these benefits. If your claim is denied, you can request that an arbitrator hear the facts and decide. Most employers are required to have workers' compensation insurance.
A job-related injury or illness can hit you financially, as well as emotionally. Your goal is to get better and get back to work. Illinois law is set up to help you do this, but only if you take advantage of it. Don't let your boss tell you that you aren't eligible or that they don't have insurance or that your job will suffer if you file a claim. The law says you cannot be fired for filing a workers' compensation claim.
If your injury is serious, if your claim is denied, if you don't think you're getting full benefits, or if you simply want the assurance that someone is looking out for you, talk to a workers' compensation attorney. The attorneys we recommend do not take a fee from your weekly checks; they only charge you if they are able to get you a settlement or if they win at trial. In other words, they won't take away from the money that you need to pay bills and feed your family.
Every state has workers' compensation, but Illinois is considered one of the more worker friendly places to file a claim. If your employment is somehow connected to Illinois, you might be able to file a claim here, even if you don't physically work in Illinois. Read more here.
The links below provide information about specific injuries, as well as specific benefits that might be available to you. If you would like our help, please contact us at any time. All calls are confidential.
- Can I File My Workers' Compensation Case in Illinois?
- Can My Employer or the Insurance Company Talk to My Doctor?
- Common Questions about Illinois Workers' Compensation Laws
- Common terms in Illinois Workers' Compensation cases
- Frequently Asked Questions about Illinois Workers' Compensation cases
- Functional Capacity Evaluations
- Illinois Workers' Compensation settlements
- Illinois Workers' Compensation tips
- Independent Medical Examinations
- Our History of Success
- Random Illinois Workers' Compensation Facts
- Stages of an Illinois Workers' Compensation case
- Surveillance in Workers' Compensation Cases
- Ten Things You Should Know About Illinois Workers' Compensation Law
- Vocational Rehabilitation
- Workers' Compensation 101
- Workers' Compensation and Medical Fee Schedules
- Types of injuries in Illinois Workers' Compensation Claims
- Can I Receive Workers' Compensation If My Condition is Pre-existing?
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in Illinois Workers' Compensation Claims
- What to Expect from Carpal Tunnel Surgery
- Cauda Equina Syndrome
- Compartment Syndrome
- Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
- Deep Vein Thrombosis
- Does Typing Cause, Aggravate or Accelerate Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or Other Injuries to the Wrist and Hands?
- Overview of De Quervain's Tenosynovitis
- Elbow Injuries
- Hip Fractures
- Knee Injuries
- Lisfranc Injuries
- Myofascial Pain Syndrome
- Neck Injuries
- Plantar Fasciitis and Illinois Work Injuries
- Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) or Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
- Compensation for Scars and Disfigurement
- Shoulder Injuries
- Spinal Injuries
- Spinal Stenosis
- Spiral Fractures
- TFCC Tears and Illinois Work Injuries
- Tarsal Tunnel and Illinois Work Injury Attorneys
- 2011 Changes to Workers' Compensations Laws
- 2006 Illinois Workers' Compensation Law Changes That May Still Effect You
- Analysis of Important Workers' Compensation Decisions
- Application for Adjustment of Claim
- Crime and Punishment in the Workers' Compensation Act
- Illegal Aliens and Illinois Workers' Compensation Benefits
- The Illinois Dead Man's Act
- Illinois Scaffolding Accidents
- Illinois Temporary Total Disability Benefits (TTD)
- Illinois Workers' Compensation, PPD and TTD Rates
- The Illinois Workers' Compensation Act, Sections 1-3
- The Illinois Workers' Compensation Act Section 4
- The Illinois Workers' Compensation Act, Sections 5-7
- The Illinois Workers' Compensation Act, Sections 8
- The Illinois Workers' Compensation Act, Sections 9-13
- The Illinois Workers' Compensation Act, Sections 14-16
- The Illinois Workers' Compensation Act, Sections 17-19
- The Illinois Workers' Compensation Act, Sections 20-25
- The Illinois Workers' Compensation Act, Sections 26-30
- Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission and the Illinois Workers Compensation Act
- Illinois Workers' Compensation and Permanent Partial Disability Benefits (PPD)
- Independent Contractors and Illinois Workers' Compensation
- Medical benefits in Illinois Workers' Compensation Claims
- Medical Fee Schedule of February 1, 2006 for Workers' Compensation Claims
- Medical Treatment and Illinois Work Injuries
- New changes to the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act and additional updates at the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission
- Notice in Illinois Workers' Compensation Cases
- Nurse Case Managers and Illinois Work Injuries
- Parking Lot Accidents on the Job in Illinois
- Permanent Disability Benefits in Illinois Work Injuries
- Permanent Disability in Illinois Workers' Compensation Claims
- Recent Decisions at the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission
- Social Security and Workers' Compensation Claims
- Statute of Limitations for Illinois Workers' Compensation Claims
- Traveling Employees and Illinois Work Injury Lawyers
- Wage Differential Law in Illinois Workers' Compensation Claims
- The Workers' Compensation Commission in Chicago
- Workers' Compensation for Traveling Employees
Attorneys and Trial
- Attorney Fees for Workers' Compensation in Illinois
- Should I Settle or go to Trial?
- Testifying in Illinois Court Cases
- What Does it Cost if I Switch Attorneys?
- What is Hiring a Workers' Compensation Lawyer Going to Cost?
- What makes a great Illinois Workers' Compensation lawyer?
- What Should I Ask a Work Injury Lawyer in Illinois?
- Where Should I Look For a Workers' Compensation Lawyer?
- Who is the Best Workers' Compensation Lawyer in Illinois?
- Your First Meeting With a Work Injury Attorney
- Bloomington Workers' Compensation Attorneys
- Chicago Claims
- Cook County Workers' Compensation Claims
- DuPage County Workers' Compensation Lawyers
- Kane County Workers' Compensation Lawyers
- Lake County Workers' Compensation Cases
- Locations for Illinois work accident arbitrations
- Madison County Workers' Compensation Attorneys
- McHenry County Work Injuries
- Peoria Workers' Compensation Attorneys
- Quad Cities Workers' Compensation Cases
- Rockford Area Workers' Compensation Cases
- Springfield Area Workers' Compensation Cases
- Urbana Area Workers' Compensation Cases
- Will County Workers' Compensation Attorneys
Findgreatlawyers.com is a free service, run by Illinois lawyers, to help people with any Illinois legal matter. From Chicago to Belleville, to Peoria to Rockford and all locations in between, we will use our best efforts to help you with your legal situation.
Illinois is the best state for injured workers
If Illinois is at all related to your injury – you were hurt while on business here, or your company is based here even though you are not – you should consider filing your claim here rather than in your home state. The law allows it, and in our experience it can result in better benefits, including higher weekly workers' comp checks. We've looked at the laws in all 50 states and Illinois happens to be the friendliest when it comes to injuries on the job. If you have a question about whether you're allowed to file a claim in Illinois, let us know. Don't rely on the opinion of out-of-state attorney when it comes to this. It's not that they want to trick you; it's just that they might not know the rules.
You can switch attorneys in an Illinois workers' comp case
If you're not happy with your current work injury attorney, you may be wondering if you're stuck or if you can get a new attorney to take over your claim. Switching attorneys is allowed, and recommended if your attorney lacks the skills or experience to handle your case successfully. It shouldn't cost you anything additional. Your old attorney may be entitled to a portion of their fee, based on what work they've done, but that will be worked out between the new and old attorney.
It's not good to switch multiple times, and it's tricky to switch if your case is almost over. If you've reached a settlement, for example, you might have trouble finding an attorney to take over that late in the game because it limits the fee they'll be able to earn.
Disagreements happen. We always recommend having a serious conversation with your current attorney about your concerns. It could be a misunderstanding that can be fixed, and you'll save yourself the trouble of switching lawyers. However, if that's not possible, switching earlier is always easier because less work has been done. Again, no matter what you decide, it shouldn't add to your legal fees.
Don't give a recorded statement to the insurance adjuster
When you get injured on the job and file a claim for workers' compensation to pay for medical bills and lost wages, you will likely be hearing from your employer's insurance company. If you have an attorney, you should tell the insurer, and all communication should go through them. However, you might not have an attorney yet.
You should know that the insurance company is essentially your opponent. Sure, they are paying your bills, and they may be very nice and seem very concerned about your health, but their job is to spend as little as possible on your claim. You, on the other hand, want the most out of your claim.
So, to get to the point, don't talk with them more than you have to. And definitely don't agree to give a recorded statement. You may inadvertently say something to hurt your claim, and in the worst case scenario they will deny benefits as a result. Even though honesty is the best policy, they know what to get you to say to help their bottom line. Kindly decline the request, and consider talking to an attorney about what to do next.
What you can expect to pay your workers' comp attorney
Injury attorneys, including workers' compensation attorneys, charge on a contingency basis, which means they only get paid if you win. The majority of injury attorneys – those who handle car accidents, medical negligence and slip and fall cases – get paid about a third of what your case is worth. So if your case settles for $150,000, you can expect your attorney's fee to be around $50,000.
In a work injury case, attorneys are limited to 20% of what you recover, either at trial or in settlement. And this does not apply to medical benefits or the weekly checks you get while you're out of work. An attorney should not be taking part of these benefits – it's money you need for living expenses.
If your case is disputed and you are pursuing a lump sum for money you are owed (for weekly checks you never received, for example), then your attorney may charge you a percentage of that. If your injury becomes permanent and you get a final settlement, your attorney will charge you a percentage of the amount you recover. Again, it's limited to 20% by law and may be even less in some instances.
Death benefits under Illinois workers' compensation law
When someone is killed in a workplace accident, it falls under workers' compensation. Benefits are paid to a surviving spouse and/or surviving children. Benefits are 2/3 of the average weekly wage for the 52 weeks before the accident. There are minimum and maximum amounts set by law. The fault of the employer is not an issue and you don't to prove negligence in order to receive benefits. Burial costs are covered up to a certain amount, as well. Illinois law limits an attorney's fee to $100 when a workplace death claim is undisputed.
Similar cases can end with different settlements
As in any other area of law, settlements in workers' comp cases vary widely. You can have two very similar cases that end much differently. For example, if you and your co-worker suffer the same injury – say a back injury – your co-worker may get twice what you get. It depends on your income, how the injury affects the work you can do, how long your recovery takes, etc. And it's negotiable, so it can also depend on the attorney and the adjuster and the agreement they're able to reach. You can put yourself in the best position possible by hiring an experienced work injury attorney and not talking to the insurance company yourself.
Three things to do if you're injured on the job
If you are injured at work, or outside of work doing something related to your job, you likely have a workers' compensation case. First, get medical treatment. This is the most important, for obvious reasons, as well as the reason that waiting can make it more difficult to prove your claim. If your doctor can't connect your injury to your job, you may be out of luck. Second, notify your employer. If your employer isn't notified, your claim can be denied. You have 45 days to do this, and it is best (although not required) that you do it in writing. Third, meet with an attorney if your claim is denied, if you don't get a response, if your employer is trying to convince you to not file a claim, if you feel you are wrongfully fired, or if you have any questions about your benefits. The insurance company isn't on your side, so don't take their advice.
You should hear back about your claim fairly quickly
After filing a claim with the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission, you should hear back within about two weeks. If your claim is denied, you can ask for a hearing. It's a good idea to have an attorney represent you if you've been denied benefits. If your claim is accepted, you should start receiving checks. If you have a minor injury and only need to file a claim in order to get medical benefits, you may be able to handle it on your own. However, if you can't work either because of your injury or because your employer cannot accommodate your restrictions, an attorney can make sure you're getting the full amount you are owed. It can vary based on how your income is calculated.
Injuries during breaks at work and the personal comfort rule
If you get hurt at work while walking to the bathroom or in the break room during lunch, you should still be covered under Illinois workers' compensation law. These types of things fall under the "personal comfort rule," which basically says that these things (going to the bathroom, eating lunch) are a necessary part of the work day, even though they aren't technically part of the job.
It matters where you were when you were injured. If your risk of injury was the same as it was for any member of the general public, then you probably aren't covered. For example, in a recent case a woman was compensated when she fell in a stairwell on her way outside for a smoke break. Because the stairwell was controlled by the employer and only for use of employees (not the general public), she was entitled to benefits.
Do I need to attend my hearing?
Yes, if your case is set for hearing or for trial, you need to attend. You will likely need to testify about your injury. If it's just a routine "status call" to update the commission on where your claim stands, then your attorney can attend without you. There may be some exceptions, so you'll want to ask your attorney about the pros and cons of being there.
No juries in workers' compensation cases
In a workers' compensation case, there is no jury, and decisions are made by arbitrators. You don't have to prove that the injury was anyone's fault (it doesn't matter). And you don't have to wait until the case is over to get compensated. If you're injured at work, you file a claim for benefits, rather than a lawsuit. You should begin to get benefits (payment of medical bills, payment for lost wages) fairly quickly.
It's usually a more streamlined process. However, if your claim is disputed, it may start to look more like a court case. If your employer or the insurance company denies your claim, stops paying benefits, doesn't pay enough, etc., then you can take your case in front of an arbitrator and have them decide.
What is a status call?
Once your claim has been filed with the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission, it is put on the calendar for a status call about every two months. It's a way for the Commission to keep tabs on your claim. Attorneys for both sides generally attend a status call. They can request a trial or offer a settlement, or continue it for another two months. There is a general rule that this can go on for three years but after that if the case is stalled it can be dismissed.
If you have an emergency situation, you don't have to wait for your status call. You can file what's called a 19(b) petition for immediate hearing. This can be used if you are not receiving benefits you should be getting, for example.
Appealing a workers' compensation decision
You can appeal a decision made by an arbitrator in a workers' compensation case. Your appeal will be heard by a panel of three commissioners, who will review the record and consider arguments made by both sides. If you don't get the outcome you're looking for, you can appeal to the Illinois courts. However, winning an appeal is pretty rare. According the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission, only about 25% of appeals result in a better outcome for the party making the appeal. Sometimes, it results in a worse outcome. Although attorneys will sometimes appeal the cases they handled, you might have trouble finding someone to take your case if your first attorney lost. Appeals aren't new trials, so you can't undo mistakes or present new evidence.
You can collect both social security and workers' comp benefits, but there's a catch
There is no law against getting both benefits at the same time. However, there is an overall limit on what you can receive. Generally, the limit is 80% of your former earnings. So if you're receiving workers' compensation checks because you can't work, your social security disability benefits will be less than they otherwise would have been. It's an offset. In theory, you shouldn't make more money by not working. Keep in mind that these two systems are different; just because you're eligible for one doesn't mean you'll be eligible for the other. If you are settling your workers' compensation claim, talk to an attorney about protecting your social security benefits, as these can negatively affect each other.
You are entitled for payment of lost wages on the fourth day of missed work
If you are injured on the job and unable to work (or your employer is unable to accommodate your work restrictions), you should be eligible for temporary total disability payments. Benefits are owed starting on the fourth work day that you are unable to work. If you are out for 14 days you will then be compensated for those first three.
TTD checks usually come every two weeks. The amount depends on what you earn. It's a portion of your wages – usually 2/3 of your average weekly wage – although there are minimum and maximum amounts set by law that may affect you.
Be honest with your doctor (and your lawyer)
We see the best results in cases where an injured worker is honest about his or her injuries. Having your doctor on your side is invaluable. They will give their opinion on whether you are able to work and what, if any, restrictions you will have. Be honest with them, and keep them up to date on any changes in how you're feeling. The same goes for your attorney. It's difficult to help a client when you don't know what's really going on. A good attorney will do what they can to get you all the benefits you're entitled to, but they can only do that with your help.
You don't have to let the insurance company attend your doctors' appointments
If the insurance adjuster suggests that one of their nurses attend your medical appointments, just say no. Sometimes they assign nurse case managers to cases with more serious injuries, with the goal of saving money. They might suggest less expensive treatments or try to get your work restrictions lifted. You don't have to let them tag along, and you shouldn't. Your conversations with your doctor should be private.
You probably shouldn't be dealing with the insurance company on your own anyway. They know you don't have a lawyer and assume you don't know what your rights are. They may also offer you fewer benefits and less money, and not inform you of all your options.
You have three years to file a claim for workers' compensation
In Illinois, the statute of limitations on filing a claim (called an application for adjustment of claim) for a work injury is three years. If you have already received some benefits, you have two years from the date of the last payment. Don't wait until the last minute, and always check with an attorney to make sure you understand the deadline, because there are exceptions that can shorten the time you have. And even if you think you've missed your chance, you might still be able to file a claim. Don't decide on your own.
It's important to note that Illinois law says you have to report a work injury to your employer within 45 days of the date you were injured. You should tell your employer right away. Some employers have a system in place for reporting and documenting work injuries; others do not. Either way, make sure your report is in writing, even if it's informal. If you fail to meet this deadline, the insurance company can try to deny your claim and you could lose out on benefits.
Even if you violated a safety rule, you can still get benefits
What it really comes down to is what you were doing when you violated the safety rule. If you were goofing off, a resulting injury probably won't be covered. However, if you were doing something work-related, even if you were breaking the rules, you should be entitled to benefits.
Illinois workers' compensation is not based on fault. It doesn't matter if your employer was negligent or you weren't being careful, the result should be the same. You should get medical coverage and payment for a portion of your lost wages if you can't do your job. Other benefits may be available, as well.
The main point is that you shouldn't give up if you're told, either by your employer or their insurer, that you don't have a claim because you violated a safety rule. It may not matter. Get an experienced attorney to review your case and get you any benefits you're entitled to.
A pre-existing condition does not absolutely deny benefits in a workers' compensation case. Under the law, if a person aggravates or accelerates his/her condition (even slightly) due to the work event, they are entitled to compensation.
Illinois is a favorable state for injured workers – so file your case here if you can
If you work and live in Illinois and work for an Illinois company, it's obvious that you would file for workers' compensation benefits in Illinois. However, the scope is much broader.
If you were injured here, you can file here. If you were only hired here, even if you've never been here since and weren't injured here, you can file in Illinois. If your company is based out of Illinois – even if you are not – you can file here.
If you have a question about whether you can file for workers' compensation in Illinois, talk to an experienced Illinois work injury attorney about it. Illinois is one of the best states for filing, meaning that workers generally get more benefits here than they would in other states for similar injuries. And in most cases, it's up to you whether you want to file in Illinois or elsewhere, assuming you are eligible in both places.
A warning about workers' compensation and private investigators
One of our top tips for injured workers is to be honest about your injuries. Don't say you are hurt if you aren't. Some workers' compensation insurers (as well as some employers) hire investigators to check up on injured employees.
Also, don't ignore your doctor's restrictions – it can kill your case. If your doctor tells you that you can't lift more than ten pounds, don't help your friend on moving day. If you are supposed to be resting after a back injury, don't show up at the gym for a work out.
We're not trying to make you paranoid. If you think an investigator is following you, it doesn't necessarily mean you did something wrong. Just continue to follow your doctor's orders. Be honest, and be careful.
Workers' Compensation: Average weekly wage compensation includes wages earned at a second job.
A steel worker never formally reported his second job as a lounge doorman to his employer. When the worker was injured at the steel company, the Commission decided to include his wages as a lounge doorman in the calculation of his average weekly wage benefits. Though the worker never formally reported the second job to the human resources department, the Commission decided that the informal notice to his managers was sufficient to include the second job in the worker's average weekly wage calculation.
Worker's Compensation: Failure to comply with medical treatment cuts benefits
An arbitrator originally awarded a nursing assistant 25 weeks worth of wages when she was hurt at work. The Commission reduced the arbitrator's award to four weeks worth of wages because the nursing assistant had missed many of her physical therapy sessions, failed to put effort into her medical treatment, and put questionable and inconsistent effort into her medical evaluations.
There are no punitive damages for Illinois workers' compensation claims, but there is one similar option
Under Illinois work comp law, you can't sue your employer for negligence. You also can't get an Arbitrator to award you punitive damages or pain and suffering in a case against your employer. That's just the way it is and there is no way around that.
That said, if your employer or their insurance company acts unreasonably there is an option for you called penalties and fees. By unreasonable, we mean if they have no good reason to deny you medical care or TTD benefits. In other words, if they send you to one of their doctors and he says you don't need surgery, then they aren't unreasonable if they don't pay for surgery. On the other hand, if they have no medical opinion or other evidence in their favor then a denial of benefits would likely be unreasonable.
If there behavior is unreasonable they can be fined penalties of $30 a day for failure to pay TTD and 50% of your medical bills, on top of what you are already owed. This is pursuant to section 19 of the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act. From Section 16 of the Act they also could be responsible to pay your attorney 20% of these penalties for their fee. If you have a $100,000 surgery that is being unfairly denied then this could be a really big deal.
The insurance company can't just "close your case"
It's not uncommon for someone to call us and say that they need a work injury lawyer to "re-open" their case. They say something like, "I called the adjuster and they said my case was closed six months ago."
The fact of the matter is that unless your case is barred because of a statute of limitations violation, the insurance company can't close your case without properly settling with you. They don't have to offer you a settlement, but if you hire a job accident lawyer and they file the proper paperwork, your case will be opened and the insurance company will have to deal with you.
No attorney can guarantee you a result, but we can guarantee you that the insurance company isn't looking out for your best interests.
You can't sue your employer for negligence, but if there is a parent company you might be able to sue them.
In a recent Illinois wrongful death lawsuit, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that the parent company of the employer could be sued for their negligence. Under the exclusivity provision of the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act, an employer cannot be sued for negligence. This exists because workers' compensation laws in Illinois are "no fault" laws. In other words, a worker can be hurt on the job due to his/her own error, but he/she can still recover work comp benefits. In exchange for this, employers are granted immunity from civil lawsuits by their employees for on the job injury.
In the recent Supreme Court case, it was argued that the parent company of the employer was directing all of the business decisions including minimizing costs for training and safety. The plaintiffs alleged that this caused unqualified workers to perform dangerous jobs, ultimately resulting in two deaths. The court agreed and reinstated the case to be heard at the Circuit Court level. The Court made clear that the parent company can't just be sued for mismanaging the budget. Rather it must be shown that they directed or authorized the way activities should be performed, disregarding the interests and discretion of the direct employer.
Does this sound confusing? If you have any questions or need a workers compensation attorney in IL, please call us at (312) 346-5320.
After years of talk, injured worker to be arrested for Illinois Workers' Compensation fraud.
Findgreatlawyers.com helps people who need Illinois workers' compensation lawyer referrals or just general guidance. We are a big believer in helping honest people with honest claims. These claims are not lawsuits against your employer, but rather employee benefits like health insurance or long term disability.
Unfortunately there are some dishonest workers out there who pretend they got hurt on a job when it happened somewhere else or lie to their doctors about their health. We have seen cases where alleged injured workers said that they couldn't walk, but a day later are seen on surveillance cameras playing softball and running.
A worker in Peoria is about to be arrested for alleged misconduct. Those types of actions hurt all of us, especially people with legitimate Illinois workers' compensation claims. As we said, we exist to help honest people get the benefits that they deserve. If you have questions about a work injury please do not hesitate to call us at (312) 346-5320.
If you get in a fight with a co-worker, if it's not about your job then your injury won't likely be covered under Illinois workers' compensation law.
Fights happen at work all of the time. Usually it's just words or bad feelings, but every now and then punches are thrown. If that happens to you, a quick analysis should let you know whether or not your injury is covered under Illinois workers' compensation laws.
- Were you fighting about work or something else? If it's an argument over a girlfriend or a sports team or anything else that isn't clearly related to work then injuries suffered in a fight wouldn't be covered by your employer's workers' compensation insurance. But if you were fighting over who was supposed to do a certain job or anything like that, you may be covered.
- Were you the aggressor? If you are pissed off at a co-worker because they didn't do their job and take a swing at them, only to have your nose broken when they punch you back, you likely would not get workers' compensation benefits because you started the fight.
If this law is confusing to you and you have any questions or if you would like a referral to an Illinois workers' compensation law firm that has experience with employee fights, please call us at (312) 346-5320.
If you are settling an Illinois workers' compensation case and need future medical treatment, beware settling if you are applying for social security benefits or anticipate being on Medicare in the next 30 months.
The law has been around for a while, but is now being enforced. Essentially what would happen for years is that injured workers would settle a case, get a lump some of money and then go to the government for social security help or medical payments through Medicare. Now, if you anticipate that you are going to need Medicare to help pay for your injury treatment in the next 30 months, you need to put protect the interests of Medicare.
Essentially (and check before you act on this because the rules change a lot) you must put money for future medical in a separate, interest bearing account. This money is usually determined by performing what is called a "Medicare Set Aside." There are companies that analyze cases like these for a living and give you a reasonable estimate of what to set aside. On top of that, sometimes you have to get direct approval from the government. Failure to protect the interests of the government could put you on the hook for hundreds of thousands of medical bills.
Does this sound confusing? It gets confusing for even the most seasoned Illinois work injury law firms, mostly because enforcement of the law is so new and changes a lot. If you have a serious injury or are close to Medicare eligibility, it is really important to have an Illinois workers' compensation lawyer that deals with your type of case every day. If you would like a referral to one please call us at (800) 517-1614.
Unlike personal injury or medical malpractice, your Illinois workers' compensation case should not be worth less based on where you live.
It's a proven fact that a medical malpractice or personal injury case is worth more money in a high population area like Chicago than it would be in a smaller location like Mt. Vernon. When it comes to work injuries though, there should be no difference in what a case is worth.
The reason this is true is because there are no juries in work injury cases. Personal biases don't come into play during trials, except to the extent that the Arbitrator favors one side over the other. So if you need a work injury lawyer in Champaign, Waukegan Belleville or the tiniest town in Illinois, rest assured that your success or failure should depend on the facts of the case and the quality of your lawyer, not biases that are supposed to be ignored.
Just being hurt on your employer's premises is not enough to receive Illinois workers' compensation benefits.
In order to prevail on a claim that you are entitled to Illinois workers' compensation benefits, you must also show that your injury arose out of and in the course of your employment.
Recently, a woman drank a lot of coffee and fainted, striking her head. She worked a night shift, but wasn't required to drink coffee. Although the excessive caffeine caused her to faint, drinking coffee wasn't part of her job so her injury did not arise out of her employment. As a result her claim for benefits were denied even though the employer supplied the coffee.
In another case, a worker did get benefits for getting hurt in a recreational football game because the injury was on company premises and it was implied that participation would be looked upon as favorable.
Bottom line is that if you are hurt and think it has anything to do with your job, you should ask a lawyer their opinion and make a decision from there.
Recent Illinois Appellate Court decision changes notice law in Illinois Workers' Compensation cases.
In a recently published decision, the Illinois Appellate Court made it easier for workers to pursue a case for a job accident in Illinois. Previously the law required you to report a work injury within 45 days of your accident or when you knew of the injury. Some people lost benefits because they didn't tell their employer it was work related for a variety of reasons.
Under the new ruling, as long as your employer new that you had an injury within 45 days of when it happened then they would be found to have notice under the law. Essentially the judges felt that employers would not be prejudiced by having to defend a claim even if they didn't have the opportunity to inspect the accident site.
Please note that if you think you have a work related injury you should report it as soon as possible. For more information on notice as it relates to Illinois work accidents, please click here.
When hiring a lawyer in Illinois for workers' compensation, we couldn't encourage you enough to hire someone who day in and day out only handles IL work injury claims.
There are a few reasons we feel this way. First, the Illinois work injury legal community is tight knit. The lawyers that regularly handle those cases for workers and employers have to constantly deal with each other due to the volume of cases, even if they don't like each other. You want someone representing you who is in this tight knit circle.
Second, you want someone who is regularly before the Arbitrator. Many cases don't go to Arbitration, but if yours does, you don't want to be at a disadvantage because the other lawyer knows the Arbitrator's tendencies and has a relationship with him or her. If your attorney also does personal injury and medical malpractice or other areas, they can't be before that Arbitrator on a regular basis, at least not as much as Illinois attorneys who specialize in workers compensation. Even if they know what they are doing, if they are in a medical malpractice trial, that could take four weeks. If so then unless they have partners who know what they are doing your case will sit by the wayside.
Finally, the Illinois workers' compensation laws are constantly changing. Work comp specialists regularly get updates on these laws and know how the Arbitrators and the Commission interprets these laws.
Hiring someone who doesn't deal with work injury cases in Illinois on a daily basis is just short changing yourself.
If you were hurt on the job and your doctor is in your corner, demand your attorney go to arbitration if your benefits are cut off.
We know more Illinois workers' compensation attorneys than probably any other area that we help out in. Even the ones that we don't recommend for the most part seem to do a good job and we truly feel that most lawyers have the best interests of their clients at heart and fight for them. We certainly know that the work injury attorneys we recommend are that way.
That said, it seems lately we have heard from many people who have hired Illinois workers compensation law firms (not recommended by us) that either don't know what they are doing or won't do the hard work that is necessary and justifies their fee. Most recently, a man called us whose doctor stated that he was permanently disabled. The company doctor said he could work so his benefits were cut off. He has been without pay for two years even though his doctor is on his side.
Generally speaking, Arbitrators in these cases side with the treating doctor more often than not. If you have a medical opinion in your favor and are not receiving benefits, why wouldn't your attorney go to arbitration? A lawyer should do more than wait for you to get better and collect their 20% fee. They should guide you through the process and when necessary file a motion for trial to resolve any disputes. The poor man that finally called us is owed more than $60,000.00 and can hardly support his family any more. If your benefits are cut off, insist your attorney get you a hearing. Even if doctors depositions are necessary, you usually can have your case heard within 2-3 months from the date you are cut off.
If you are hurt during a recreational activity with you co-workers such as a company picnic or softball game, you will not receive Illinois work injury benefits unless your participation was mandatory.
Recently the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission denied work injury benefits to a fire fighter who was injured while participating in a softball game with the members of his station. Although he sustained a serious injury, benefits were denied because his participation was not mandatory. It's not enough to feel that you should be there. In other words, you may know that your boss would frown upon anyone who didn't attend the company holiday party, but unless you are threatened with losing your job, having your pay docked, losing a vacation day, etc. then any injury sustained at that event would not likely result in an award for Illinois workers compensation benefits.
Often these scenarios fall in a "gray area" and it is not clear if they are compensable or not. If you have questions about your injury or would like an Illinois workers comp attorney referral, please call us at (312) 346-5320.
Rule #1 in Illinois workers' compensation claims: listen to your doctor.
We gladly consult with injured workers (and companies too) on a daily basis about their Illinois work injuries. Through no fault of their own, many of the people that call us aren't educated on IL work comp laws and we hopefully can help them understand the law more.
Quite often someone calls us and tells us that they are under a doctor's care for a work injury and the job activities are making their condition worse. "I'm really in a lot of pain at the end of the day and my doctor doesn't want me doing that job," a caller recently told us. The problem is that because most people are hard workers and want to do well for their employer, they ignore the restrictions. We admire this attitude, but the reality is that you have to listen to your doctor. Most people that ignore their doctor end up getting hurt worse. That doesn't help you or your employer.
Some people that call us report that their employer won't accommodate their restrictions. At that point, you need your Illinois workers compensation attorney to intervene on your behalf. Failing to take action could lead to permanent restrictions and/or a much more serious injury.
If you are having problems with restrictions on the job or have any Illinois workman's compensation questions, please call us at (312) 346-5320.
Established in 2001, findgreatlawyers.com is a free service, run by Illinois lawyers, to find an attorney or obtain guidance for Illinois workers' compensation cases. Our founding attorneys are Chicago workers' compensation lawyers who have created a state wide network of job injury attorneys that are experienced, have a track record of success and fight for their clients. If you'd like our help, please call us at (312) 346-5320 or (800) 517-1614 or fill out our contact us form and we will contact you. All inquiries are kept in strict confidence. Please note that while we are based out of Chicago, we have a tremendous network of lawyers who only handle work injury cases throughout Illinois. In other words, if you have an Illinois workers' compensation claim we are the right resource for you.