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Aurora workers compensation attorneysFor the average adult, one-third of your life is spent at work. Your workplace is a familiar space and, especially for traditionally non-hazardous spaces like an office, it may be hard to believe when a serious accident occurs. No matter who is at fault for the accident, you have rights as an employee to submit a claim for any pain and suffering sustained while at work. Suffering an injury at work is a scary and unsure time. Here are a collection of frequently asked questions in regards to workers compensation in Illinois.

What Is Workers Compensation?

According to the Illinois Handbook On Workers Compensation And Occupational Diseases, workers compensation is defined as a system, for most employees, to receive benefits by law after a workplace injury or disease developed from an occupational hazard.

What Should I Do After An Accident?

Ideally, you should tell your employer right away after an injury at work, but you can wait up to 45 days to report the incident without a delay of benefits. In the notice to your employer about your accident, you should include the day and place of the incident. If you are unable to work three days after the accident, your employer should begin paying Temporary Total Disability within 14 days or have a written explanation of why benefits are being withheld.

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Aurora workers compensation benefit lawyersGetting injured at work can be a scary experience. Not only are you suffering a physical injury, but you are also probably worried about how you will pay your bills if you cannot work. Thankfully, all employers are required to have what is called workers’ compensation insurance, which is insurance designed to help workers who are injured on the job. In Illinois, workers’ compensation is required to provide three types of benefits to injured workers: medical benefits, disability benefits, and death benefits. These different types of benefits can greatly help employees and their families if an accident does happen. 

Medical Benefits

The first and most basic benefit that is provided by workers’ compensation is medical benefits. If you are injured while you are at work, your employer is required to pay for all of the medical expenses relating to your injury. Expenses that are covered can include:

  • First aid;
  • Emergency care, such as ER costs and ambulance rides;
  • Doctor visits;
  • Hospital care;
  • Surgery;
  • Physical therapy;
  • Chiropractic treatment;
  • Prosthetics;
  • Prescription medications; and
  • Medical appliances.

If your injury results in a permanent disability, the cost of devices, such as a wheelchair or wheelchair ramp, may be covered as well.

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The Four Types of Permanent Partial Disability Benefits in Illinois

Aurora workers' compensation benefits attorneyThe United States has taken actions toward making workplaces as safe as possible for employees, but there are unavoidable accidents that still occur. Sometimes, accidents result in serious injuries that affect a person’s ability to work or to continue doing the job they were doing prior to the injury. In these cases, the employee is usually eligible for some sort of workers’ compensation benefit which can help supplement the loss of wages that they might experience. If a person loses a part of their body or loses the function of that part of the body, they usually qualify for permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits.

Commission on Workers’ Compensation

The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission is the state agency that all workers’ compensation claims go through. The Commission helps employees and employers settle cases that involve a workplace injury or illness by acting as an impartial administrative court system. The Commission awards four types of PPD benefits:

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What Is Workers’ Compensation, and How Can You Request It?

Kane County workers' comp benefits attorneyIf you experience an accident while on the job, you may qualify for benefits that will assist you while you are out of work. Most full-time and part-time employees are eligible for workers’ compensation, and these benefits can be paid regardless of who was at fault.

What is Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ compensation consists of benefits provided to employees who have either been injured or have fallen ill on the job, as long as the injuries or illnesses occur while the employee was working or were caused by the job they are performing. Aggravations of pre-existing conditions, injuries caused by repetitive use of specific parts of the body, heart attacks, strokes, and other physical issues that occur while working qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.

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Workers’ Comp: Permanent Partial Vs. Permanent Total Disability

Kane County workers' comp disability lawyerIf you have been injured on the job, you may be eligible for workers compensation benefits, especially if you are no longer able to go back to work due to the nature of your injury. If severely injured, you may qualify for permanent disability benefits. Even though there are two different types of permanent disability benefits, there is a major difference between permanent partial disability (PPD) and permanent total disability (PTD), and it is important to understand the distinction between the two types.

Permanent Partial Disability

In order to receive permanent partial disability benefits, an injured individual may still earn income from their job, but they are partially impaired from a permanent injury. Permanent partial disability can include the following injuries:

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Types of Illinois Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Naperville workers' compensation benefits attorneyWorkplace injuries can be devastating to your life and your finances, impacting not only your health and well-being, but your ability to earn an income and provide for your family. For employees who are injured while on the job, workers’ compensation benefits allow them to obtain financial relief due to the situation and/or injury. There are three types of workers’ comp benefits: 

  1. Disability benefits: These benefits replace the wages an injured employee loses due to their inability to work. The injury the employee has must be work-related. Disabilities fall into four groups: 
    • Permanent Total Disability (PTD): If an employee has this type of disability, that means they are unable to earn income in the future from the type of job he or she held when they received the injury. Employees with a permanent disability are eligible to receive lifetime disability payments.
    • Permanent Partial Disability (PPD): This type of disability partly hinders the employee’s ability to earn income. Examples include the loss of a finger or hearing loss. In these cases, an employee will typically receive an award based on the body part that was injured and the percentage of impairment.
    • Temporary Partial Disability (TPD): Also referred to as short-term disability, this type of disability benefit is for employees who are partially and temporarily disabled by the work-related injury. Benefits in these cases are typically available while the employee is recovering from their injury.
    • Temporary Total Disability (TTD): The employee cannot work at all for a short amount of time due to his or her work-related injury. In these cases, an Illinois employee will receive two-thirds of their average weekly wage until they are able to return to work.
  2. Medical benefits: Medical benefits often have no deductible and are unlimited. Payments are made until the injured individual is provided with the maximum amount of relief or is cured completely. The medical bills are sent to the workers’ compensation carrier. In Illinois, employees can use a doctor from their employer’s Preferred Provider Program (PPP), or they may choose one other doctor. If their employer does not have a PPP, they may choose up to two doctors.
  3. Death benefits: If an employee passes away because of a work-related injury, death benefits are paid to the employee’s dependents. In Illinois, these benefits are two-thirds of the employee’s average weekly wage, paid until the death of a surviving spouse or until dependent children reach the age of 18, whichever comes later. Funeral and burial costs up to $8,000 are also covered by death benefits in Illinois. 

Contact a Kane County Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

If you were injured while on the job, or if you are unable to work due to a work-related illness but your employer is withholding benefits or wages from you, contact our firm today. Our attorneys will assess your situation and help obtain the best resolution for you and your family. We understand what workers and their families go through when they are unable to work due to an injury or illness, and we will aggressively fight for you to receive the benefits you deserve. Contact an Aurora workers’ comp attorney at 630-907-0909 to schedule a free consultation.

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Aurora workers compensation lawyersWhen you suffer an injury in the course of performing your job, you are usually eligible to collect benefits under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation System. Workers’ comp benefits typically cover medical costs, lost wages, and other expenses that you may have incurred as the result of your injury. But, getting hurt at work is not necessarily the same as getting hurt in course of performing your job, as an Illinois appeals court recently determined.

Injured During Lunch

The case arose out of a 2012 injury sustained by a woman who worked at a DuPage County high school. The woman fell as she was leaving the building to go home for lunch, slipping on wet pavement on a handicap ramp. According to court documents, the woman stumbled, struggled to regain her balance, then fell forward “face first onto the pavement.” She was subsequently diagnosed with a broken nose, post-concussive syndrome, and injuries to her shoulder and hip.

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Aurora workers compensation attorneysInjuries happen everywhere on a daily basis. They occur at home, on the roadway, at school, and even at your workplace. No matter where they occur, there is often insurance coverage available to cover such injuries. By law in Illinois, insurance is required nearly everywhere, including by your employer.  This benefit is known as workers’ compensation insurance, and it covers a wide variety of situations should you find yourself a victim of a workplace injury.

What Is Workers Compensation Insurance?

Worker’s compensation insurance is a type of coverage that employers generally carry for the benefit of their employees. Not every state currently requires employers to have this insurance, which could potentially open the employer to personal liability claims. In Illinois, an employer must carry workers’ compensation in every work situation, regardless of considerations such as:

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Kane County workers' compensation lawyerWhen you have been hurt on the job, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance coverage should be available to offer you the benefits you need to recover quickly and get back to work. A work-related injury can be painful, of course, but it should not leave you struggling financially. It should be relatively easy to obtain coverage for medical treatment, rehabilitation, and even lost wages while you heal. According to Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, however, it may be too easy to get workers’ compensation benefits, and he wants something done to fix the problem.

Coverage for a Workplace Injury

The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act provides that any injury that arises out of and in the course of the injured party’s employment is intended to be compensable under the law. It is up to the injured employee to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that his or her injuries were related to employment. As far back as 2012—before Governor Rauner was even elected—state officials observed that courts in Illinois, as well as the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission (IWCC), have traditionally used very broad interpretations of the law to allow injured parties to collect benefits.

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Kane County workers' compensation lawyerWhen a person is injured on the job, he or she should not return to work until he or she has recovered enough to do so. In some cases, such healing may only take a few days, while, in others, physical recovery may require weeks, months, or even years. According to Illinois law, injured employees who miss time at work are eligible to collect temporary disability as part of a workers’ compensation benefits package. Recent studies suggest, however, that injured workers in Illinois miss about 50 percent more work, on average, than injured workers in Indiana, Iowa, and Wisconsin.

Wide Disparity

The average length of a temporary disability claim in Illinois is 18.4 weeks, according to the 2015 annual report issued by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. By comparison, injured workers in Indiana missed an average of 10.5 weeks, 10.9 weeks in Wisconsin, and 11.6 weeks in Iowa. In Michigan, an average claim for temporary disability lasted approximately 15.7 weeks, the second-highest in the region. Some of the disparity in the amount time missed can be attributed to types of work found in each state. The balance of manufacturing, office, farming, service industry, and public sector jobs can all have an impact on the types and severity of sustained injuries.

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Aurora workers compensation attorneysWhen you have been injured on the job, your first source of relief—after addressing your physical injuries—is usually provided by benefits offered through workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation benefits typically offer coverage for medical expenses, temporary or permanent disability, and some recompense for lost wages. Because the law in Illinois requires employers to provide workers’ compensation for their employees, many workers simply take the system for granted. They give little thought to the reality that workers’ compensation is a type of insurance policy that the employer must purchase at the expense of the company.

High Expenses, Even for Safe Workers

In recent years, the growing costs of purchasing workers’ compensation in Illinois has led many business owners to question the sustainability of the current system. The neighboring states of Missouri and Indiana manage to offer comprehensive workers’ compensation benefits with a significantly lower price tag. One business leader, whose company offers trucking services, said that if he moved his 17 trucking jobs to Missouri, his company could save more than $25,000 annually, just on workers’ compensation costs. He could reportedly save $66,000 on the insurance by moving to Indiana. “We’re just a victim of a high-priced system,” the company president said.

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Aurora Workers Compensation LawyersAlthough every state in the U.S. offers some form of workers’ compensation for those injured at work, the programs themselves vary greatly. Take, for example, the maximum compensation for losing a limb while on the job. In Illinois, you might receive as much as $439,858, but in Alabama, the maximum payout is only $48,840 - nearly $400,000 less.

When paired with the varied availability of services, maximum monthly compensation, and maximum time-frame for receiving that compensation, these massive disparities and differences can make a substantial difference in the lives of injured workers. A new study, conducted by the Workers Compensation Research Institute, sought to understand how by examining the long-term recovery and outcomes of victims in 15 states.

Access to Services Vary Significantly from State to State

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