Some of the most common questions Illinois residents have when it comes to worker’s compensation—as well as their answers—include those below.
What Injuries Does Workers’ Compensation Cover?
Workers’ compensation is designed to cover work-related injuries. As such, it pays for injuries or serious illnesses contracted in the course of your work duties.
There are some limitations on what qualifies as a work injury, however. For instance, if you were involved in a vehicle accident when commuting to your workplace, that is not considered to be part of your work duties. As such, you wouldn’t receive compensation for injuries sustained in that accident.
However, if you’re driving a company vehicle to a business meeting during the course of your workday, that is considered to be part of your work responsibilities. In that case, if you’re involved in an accident, you’d likely qualify for benefits.
Who Is Covered?
In terms of who is covered by Illinois workers’ compensation, the answer is nearly anyone who is employed in the state. All employers, with very few exceptions, are required to carry workers’ comp insurance to cover their employees.
Note that in order to qualify for workers’ compensation coverage, you do need to be an employee. That means independent contractors are exempt from coverage since they are not technically employees.
Can I Choose My Own Doctor?
Illinois law allows you to cover up to two doctors as well as any chains of referrals stemming from them. That means you can choose your own doctors to provide medical treatment for your workplace injury. In addition, anyone they refer you to should be covered as well.
However, there is an exception to this rule. Some businesses have preferred networks of doctors for their employees. You can opt out your employer’s network, but doing so counts as one of your two choices of doctors.
Are Workers’ Comp Benefits Taxable?
Workers’ compensation benefits are not taxable. However, if you’re also receiving Social Security benefits, then you might see your benefits get reduced, and the difference might be taxed.
In addition, if you settle with the insurance company on your benefits, then the IRS may try to assess taxes on it, even though it’s not actually taxable.
How Is Workers’ Compensation Calculated?
Workers’ compensation benefits are intended to cover:
- Medical expenses and bills
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Lost income
- Lost earning capacity
Benefits should be enough to cover your medical expenses and vocational rehabilitation, but when it comes to your lost income from being out of work, it usually comes out to 2/3 of your average weekly wages. Disability benefits are calculated in a number of ways, but one way is to take 2/3 of your average weekly wages and multiply them by a number of weeks based on the severity of your injury.
What Do I Do if I’ve Been Injured at Work?
If you’ve suffered a workplace injury, your first steps should be to get medical help and to report your injury to your employer. You’ll also need to file a claim as promptly as possible.
In addition, it’s often necessary to get legal representation to secure the maximum benefits you’re entitled to. A workers’ compensation attorney can help you if you run into challenges with your claim.