Articles Posted in Workers Compensation

Workplace injuries are often fairly straightforward. If you are injured by operating a piece of machinery or falling from scaffolding, for instance, it’s easy to connect the injury to your work and to receive the compensation you need for medical bills, lost time at work, disability, etc. Even in repetitive stress injuries such as back injuries or carpal tunnel, most doctors will be able to trace the injury back to the workplace.

Chemical exposure injuries are a different matter, however. It can take months or even years for symptoms of chemical exposure to manifest, making it very difficult to connect your condition to your occupation.

Common Instances of Chemical Exposure

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The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act is designed to protect employees from the risks inherent in their line of work. It makes sure employees are covered if they suffer an injury by holding employers responsible for covering the costs. However, independent contractors aren’t covered by the provisions under Illinois workers’ compensation law, so if they’re injured on the job, they’ll need to find some other way of paying their bills.

The Role of Independent Contractors

An employee’s role is fairly straightforward: you’re hired by a company to work certain hours and perform certain responsibilities. An independent contractor, on the other hand, is typically their own employer. As such, they hire out their services to clients, but aren’t considered to be an employee of those clients.

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Under Illinois law, employers have a duty to provide workers’ compensation coverage to their employees. This means that one way or another, they are responsible for the costs of injuries sustained on the job among their employees. In most cases, this takes the form of workers’ compensation insurance.

In some scenarios, employers may also self-insure, but only if they meet certain requirements. In this case, they pay the costs of workplace injuries directly.

In either case, the onus of paying for workers’ compensation should never fall upon the employee. Workers are not to pay for their workplace injuries, nor should they be held responsible in any way for any portion of the cost.

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Suffering a work-related injury entitles you to workers’ compensation benefits, but in some cases, your employer may try to either reduce the amount you are entitled to or deny benefits completely. In these cases, you can appeal the decision by requesting a hearing from the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission (IWCC). Depending on the nature of the claim, appealing a decision can become a long and complicated process, so you will need to be aware of your options and the resources available to you.

Reasons for Denial

Before making an appeal, it’s important to know why your workers’ compensation was denied. Possible reasons why employers deny benefits include:

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A workplace injury is a heavy trial, especially if it leaves you disabled. Getting fired only makes things more difficult.

Employers are obligated by Illinois law to pay you disability benefits, even if you no longer work with them. However, they may try various methods to avoid that obligation. One of those methods may involve denying coverage by virtue of your being fired.

Instances in Which Firing May Occur

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While a large portion of workplace injuries aren’t immediately life-threatening, there are also many that require emergency medical attention. This is a necessary step in recovering from your injury, but it may not always be clear how it will affect your workers’ compensation, especially given the expense of these visits. Workers’ compensation law is ultimately intended to cover the costs of medical treatment received for workplace injuries, so ideally, everything should work out in your favor.

However, it may not always be that simple. The main concerns with getting your emergency medical treatment covered is when it comes to your choice of doctors and the influence of your employer’s insurance company.

Choice of Doctors

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If you are injured while on the job, you are entitled to workers’ compensation. Illinois law requires most employers to carry workers’ comp insurance, which means your claim will most likely be processed by an insurance company. In many cases, you are able to get what you are owed without any problems, but often, your claim may be denied or unfairly reduced.

Tactics Used By Insurance Companies

The motive of an insurance company, like any other business, is to turn a profit. One way to maximize profits is, unfortunately, to minimize costs. This means paying out as little as possible to claimants for their injuries. Some of the ways your employer’s insurance company may try to decrease the amount they are obligated to pay include the following:

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Workers’ compensation cases are typically handled outside of court, and in many cases, there’s little dispute over what you’re owed. That said, there are instances where you’ll need to put a little extra pressure on your employer’s insurance provider, in which case involving an attorney is necessary.

Most of these disputes are handled strictly as a negotiations process with the insurance company, but they may go to trial in certain circumstances. Workers’ comp trials are reviewed by an arbitrator under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, and they function much as any other arbitration hearing would.

Here, we’ll discuss the circumstances under which a workers’ compensation case would go to trial.

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More often than not, a workplace injury will be fairly minor—a temporary back injury, some carpal tunnel, a twisted ankle, etc. However, more serious injuries can occur, such as the loss of an arm, leg, fingers, and so forth. In these cases, you are entitled to disability benefits under Illinois workers’ compensation law. These benefits help to make up for your inability to work.

The way these benefits are calculated will depend on the degree of your injury as well as your own individual needs. Each situation is unique, and the factors at play in your workers’ compensation claim will impact what you’ll be entitled to receive.

Permanent Partial Disability

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Injuries at work can be devastating. If you have been permanently disabled by an injury, it could impact your ability to continue fulfilling your current workplace obligations, meaning you’ll need to seek a new way to make a living. Vocational rehabilitation may be necessary in order to meet this need.

Workers’ Rights under Illinois Law

Under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, your employer may be required to cover vocational retraining. If it is deemed necessary for you to improve your earning potential, they have to pay for rehabilitation expenses just as they have to cover medical costs, disability, and lost wages.

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