Injured on the Job? Know Your Rights for Workman's Compensation

Injured on the Job? Know Your Rights for Workman's Compensation

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Scaffolding accident on construction site

With employees in this tough economy working longer hours with less staff there is a greater chance of getting injured on the job.  Workers have rights for injuries under the Workman’s Compensation Act that was established in the late 1920’s to limit the liability for employers on injured employees. It was designed to limit the liability of employer’s negligence.

 

Do you have chronic back pain from carrying heavy packages or a briefcase?  Did you slip and fall on black ice while on your way to an appointment and sustain a leg injury?  These are the situations where you may be eligible for workman’s compensation benefits.  Know that you have rights under the law for medical treatment and disability.

 

Unfortunately, most employers aren’t proactive when it comes to filing an injury claim, afraid that their comp insurance costs will increase when claims are filed.  By law all companies must carry workman’s compensation and liability insurance.  It protects them from potentially sky high medical bills that they may be responsible for an injured employee, yet they aren’t thrilled to pay unless a claim is filed by an employee.

 

It’s important that you know your rights as an injured employee. To recover comp benefits from an employer you must be injured, be an employee of the company and the injury must have arisen out and in the course of your employment.  There are thousands of cases delineating the parameters of these concepts. They are decided by the Commission and courts every day.

 

In Illinois, the Illinois Workmen’s Compensation (IWCC) is the body that governs and determines issues involving the rights to benefits.  The initial hearing is before an arbitrator (judge).  His or her decision can be appealed to the commission subsequent to argument being held before three commissioners.

 

The vast majority of claims are settled by an attorney that is often hired by the injured party; though an injured party can appear before the court unrepresented. The attorney’s work on a fee basis collected only if the case is settled.  The standard fee is 20% of the recovery.  All settlements must be approved by the arbitrator. 

 

The compensation for the injury is a bit complicated.  Some of the benefits include medical bills paid by the employers insurance with no deductible per fee schedule.  There also can be temporary total disability benefits (TTD) amounting to 2/3 of the employees pay for the duration of their inability to work.  If it is a permanent disability, payment is made on each body part injured, like an arm, which is paid per schedule for so many weeks based on 60% of the employee’s salary.

 

If injured at work make sure to report it immediately to your supervisor.  Many times they will say it is not related to work.  Don’t be discouraged or believe you don’t have rights to a claim.  Contact a Workman’s Compensation attorney that represents the petitioner (that’s you) and set up a meeting with them as soon as possible after your injury and attend to any medical treatment you may need for your injury.  The statue of limitations on a workman’s comp case in Illinois is 3 years, but can be extended under special circumstances.  This varies in other states. 

 

I’d recommend an experienced law firm that has an active practice since they’ll have a good relationship with other attorney’s defending the companies and experience with the arbitrators.  An experienced firm you may want to consider is Cohn, Lambert, etal.  This firm has been in practice for over 40 years and is one of the best in the city. They can be reached at 312/726-4692.

 

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    Workers Compensation Insurance

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