When Can You Apply for Permanent Disability in Illinois?

 Posted on June 13, 2024 in Workers' Compensation

Aurora workers' compensation lawyerDealing with a work-related injury is stressful enough, but trying to figure out the ins and outs of workers’ compensation can be too much to handle. When it comes to securing permanent disability benefits, timing is key. Taking the time to understand your rights with an Illinois lawyer is helpful to ensure you are on the correct path.

What is Permanent Disability in Illinois?

In Illinois, permanent disability is classified into two categories: permanent partial disability (PPD) and permanent total disability (PTD). PPD refers to a permanent impairment that partially limits your ability to work, while PTD indicates a permanent impairment that completely prevents you from engaging in any gainful employment. When a worker suffers a permanent impairment due to a work-related injury or illness, he or she may be entitled to permanent disability benefits. These benefits are designed to compensate the worker for the long-term effects of impairment on his or her earning capacity and quality of life.

When to Apply for Permanent Disability Benefits

The timing of your permanent disability application depends on several factors, including the severity of your injury and the progress of your medical treatment. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI): Before applying for permanent disability benefits, you must reach Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI). MMI is when your condition has stabilized, and no further significant improvement is expected, even with additional medical treatment. Your treating physician will determine when you have reached MMI and will provide a report outlining any permanent restrictions or limitations.
  • Timing and Statute of Limitations: In Illinois, you must file a claim for permanent disability benefits within three years of your injury or within two years of the last payment of Temporary Total Disability (TTD) benefits, whichever occurs later. However, starting the process as soon as you reach MMI is advisable to avoid any potential delays or complications.
  • Gathering Medical Evidence: To support your permanent disability claim, you need to provide comprehensive medical evidence documenting the extent of your impairment and providing details on any long-term restrictions or limitations. Medical records serve as the foundation of your permanent disability claim. These records should include all relevant information about your injury, treatment, and recovery process. This may include initial injury reports, emergency room records, surgical reports, physical therapy notes, and any other documentation related to your medical care.

Diagnostic test results, such as X-rays, MRIs, or CT scans, can provide objective evidence of the nature and extent of your impairment. These tests can help establish the presence of any permanent damage or abnormalities resulting from your work-related injury.

The Role of an Independent Medical Examination (IME)

In some cases, the insurance company may request that you undergo an Independent Medical Examination (IME) with a doctor of their choosing. The purpose of an IME is to obtain an objective assessment of your condition and determine the extent of your permanent impairment. You should attend the IME and cooperate fully with the examining physician, as failure to do so could jeopardize your claim.

The IME physician is not your treating doctor and is not responsible for providing you with medical care. Instead, his or her role is to evaluate your condition and provide an opinion on the severity and scope of your impairment. Your treating physician’s opinion may differ, and the insurance company can use the IME report to justify a lower settlement offer or deny your claim entirely.

Work With an Aurora, IL Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

Applying for permanent disability benefits requires careful planning, thorough documentation, and a clear understanding of your rights under state law. By working with a Kane County, IL workers’ compensation attorney, you can make sure you are getting your needs met. Call Kinnally Flaherty Krentz Loran Hodge & Masur P.C. at 630-907-0909 for a free consultation.

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