In most cases, workers who are injured in Illinois can be covered by Illinois workers’ compensation. However, most people don’t realize that if they are living or working outside of the state, they may still qualify for Illinois workers’ compensation if certain requirements are met. If you’re employed by an Illinois company or if you usually work within the state, you may qualify for benefits.
Covering Out-of-State Work Injuries
To qualify for workers’ compensation for an out-of-state injury, you’ll need to be able to prove one or more of the following:
- Your employer is based in Illinois
- Your work contract was drawn up within the state
- You were actually injured within the state
Out-of-state work injuries are especially common for truckers and airline employees, given the extensive travel involved in those industries. Other jobs may apply, though, so if you’ve been living and working in another state for a while but were hired in Illinois, you can still claim benefits under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission (IWCC).
Nuances of Out-of-State Work Injuries
While the same laws generally apply to out-of-state workers that would apply for in-state injuries, there are some nuances to keep in mind.
Out-of-state Medical Treatment
When injured outside the state, workers often need immediate medical treatment. As such, that would likely occur outside the state as well. Even so, the cost of your medical treatment should be covered, though Illinois has special rules in place for this.
The amount that is paid for out-of-state claims is based on either Illinois’ medical fee schedules or those used in your state of residence, whichever comes out lower.
Often, employers or insurance companies may try to persuade out-of-state workers that they don’t qualify for Illinois workers’ compensation benefits. If your employer is based in Illinois or if you were hired here, this is false, but you need to be able to prove it.
Keeping records of where you were hired can solidify your case if it’s called into question. If you can show that your employment contract was completed within the state, that should be enough.
Other Qualifying Factors
Of course, simply being employed by an Illinois company isn’t enough to qualify for benefits. There are other qualifying factors that everyone needs to meet in order to receive benefits, such as:
- Being injured in the course of performing work duties
- Reporting the injury within 45 days
- Filing a claim within three years of when you were injured or within two years of last receiving benefits
- Be an employee, not an independent contractor
In order to have a valid workers’ compensation claim, you’ll need to meet all of the above requirements. Again, these can present ways for your employer to try to deny your claim, so it’s important to be able to prove each of them if your claim is called into question.
That said, many workers are told they aren’t eligible for benefits when in fact they are, so it may be worth hiring a workers’ compensation attorney to represent you if your claim is denied.