Suffering an injury on the job can impact your quality of life as well as limit your ability to work. The purpose of workers’ compensation law in Illinois is to make sure you are properly cared for in the event of a workplace injury, but it can take a while to settle your claim. In some cases, you’ll receive benefits (such as disability or work differential) within a few days, but in others, you might end up waiting much longer.
If you are wondering when your claim will go through, you should be aware that there are some factors that could make it take longer than you might expect.
First of all, any medical costs associated with your injury should be covered by your employer’s workers’ compensation plan. To find out how much you are owed for this, you need to wait until medical treatments are over, or when you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI). Until then, it will be difficult to pin down the costs of your treatment.
If you have been receiving disability benefits, but still haven’t had your medical bills covered, it may be because you are still receiving medical care. Assuming all goes well, your claim will be settled once those treatments are over.
Delays, Complications, and Adjustments
But what happens if it doesn’t go well? In some cases, your employer or their insurance company won’t provide you with the benefits you deserve, and they may even try to deny coverage altogether. If this happens, you must file an Application for Adjustment of Claim with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. After that, the following could happen:
- Negotiations: You and your attorney will negotiate the settlement with the employer and their insurance provider. In some cases, a resolution can be reached outside of court.
- Trial: You might have to go to trial to contest a claim. This could happen within a couple months, or it may take longer, depending on whether you need additional evidence (such as expert witness accounts from doctors).
- Appeals: Either party may appeal to the decision made in court, which could add years to the time it takes you to get a settlement.
Ideally, your claim should be resolved within a couple months at most, depending on how long you need to receive treatments. However, these complications could add months or even years to the process, especially if you or your employer decide to appeal the decision.
Importance of Representation
If you are not represented by a skilled workers’ compensation lawyer, there is a high chance that the insurance company will simply ignore you or draw out the process as long as possible, which could result in you losing out on the full amount that you’re owed.
In addition, negotiations are best handled by an experienced attorney who is familiar with the law and how these processes work. If you have been injured on the job, you need a workers’ comp lawyer to handle your claim. Hart & David can provide you with that assistance, so give us a call today for a free consultation.