Workers compensation insurance companies will often look for any possible reason to deny or reduce the compensation an injured worker receives. While injured workers in Illinois are entitled to receive benefits for the damages they have suffered in a work-related injury, a wrong move by the victim can have a significant outcome on a workers compensation claim. To reduce the chances of having a claim minimized, denied or prematurely terminated, there are some general tips injured workers should follow.
- Work-Related Injuries Should Be Reported Immediately. Under Illinois law, injured workers should report injuries to their employer within 45 days of the incident. Failing to do so could result in a legitimate claim being denied. Additionally, the statute of limitations for filing a claim with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission is the longer of two years from the date of final payment from the worker’s job or three years from the date of the injury.
- Witness information should be gathered and documented. Credible witnesses can help prove that the victim’s injuries occurred while performing work-related duties and not at another time. When a case is disputed, their testimony can be a deciding factor in the legitimacy of the claim.
- Medical Attention Should Be Sought Right Away. For injuries that require immediate care, victims should go to an emergency room or walk-in clinic right away. Otherwise, injured workers should see a medical professional as soon as possible after the incident. When a victim doesn’t seek medical attention for their injuries, many insurance companies will assume that the injury wasn’t that serious and no compensation is needed.
- Reports of Work-Related Injuries Should Be Thorough, Accurate, and Consistent. Insurance companies and the workers compensation system typically place a lot of weight on the employee’s and witnesses’ statements. When reports don’t match up or they are vague in describing the events surrounding an injury, claims have a higher chance of being denied.
- Injured Workers Should Be Selective When Disclosing Information. Insurance companies are entitled to have access to medical records and billing statements that pertain to the work-related injury. They do not, however, need to have access to other medical records. Therefore, a limited authorization is all that should be signed. Additionally, the insurer may request a tape-recorded statement regarding the incident. It’s recommended that victims refrain from honoring such a request unless they are directed by their attorney to comply.