Knowing who to turn to in the event of an Illinois work injury is key to recovering compensation. Most employees will only have to file a claim with their employer, but some claims may require prolonged involvement from other entities, including insurance companies and the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission (IWCC).
In the event of a workplace injury, the first party you’ll communicate with is your employer. It’s your employer’s responsibility to provide workers’ compensation benefits to their employees, and you’ll report your injury to them. Typically, injuries should be reported within 45 days of the time they occurred (or within 45 days of when you discovered that you were injured).
In addition to notifying your employer of your injury, you’ll need to file a formal workers’ compensation claim. This usually must be done within three years of the date your injury occurred.
Your Employer’s Insurance Provider
Most businesses don’t pay workers’ compensation benefits out of pocket. Instead, they pay for workers’ comp insurance coverage for their company. As such, your employer will file your claim with their insurance provider, who should then make the needed payments to you.
It’s worth noting that often, your employer’s insurance company may try to minimize the amount they pay out to you. They might try to find ways to downplay the severity of your injury or claim that it wasn’t related to your work duties. In these cases, you’ll want to involve a workers’ compensation attorney to advocate for your rights.
The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission
If the insurance company denies benefits to you or tries to diminish them in any way, you may have grounds to appeal their decision. Doing so will require involvement from the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission (IWCC).
To appeal, you’ll have to fill out an Application for Adjustment of Claim and file it with the IWCC and your employer within three years of your accident. Once it’s filed, they’ll assign an arbitrator to your case.
If the case does not settle beforehand, you’ll have a hearing with the IWCC’s arbitrator, who will then make a decision on whether your appeal should be accepted or denied. If they deny it, you can file a Petition for Review with the IWCC for another hearing, after which a panel of three commissioners will examine your case.
Past that point, if your claim is still denied, you might be able to appeal in higher courts, including the Circuit Court, the Appellate Court, and (in rare cases) the Supreme Court. This isn’t common, but it does happen.
A Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If your workers’ compensation claim is denied, or if you don’t receive adequate benefits to cover your injury’s medical treatment and other expenses, you’ll likely need to involve an attorney in order to receive the full amount of benefits you deserve.
The attorney you choose should have plenty of experience handling workers’ compensation claims as well as the resources to handle more complex cases. For more information on how to involve an attorney in your workers’ compensation claim, contact Hart David Carson LLP today.