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Workers’ Compensation FAQ’s

A Common Mistake

Most people don’t think about getting hurt at work and how it can affect their families. The realities of the workers’ compensation system are often unknown. The truth is anyone, in any job, could be at risk for injury.

Workplace injuries can trigger significant personal and financial hardships. Not knowing what to do immediately after an accident could jeopardize your ability to receive workers’ compensation benefits – even when you’re entitled.

The first 48 hours following an accident are the most important. What you do during that time can make or break your workers’ compensation case.

KEEP THE ACCOUNT OF YOUR ACCIDENT SHORT, TO THE POINT AND FACT-BASED. DO NOT SHARE ANY UNNECESSARY INFORMATION. WHAT YOU SAY AND TO WHOM YOU SAY IT COULD AFFECT YOUR CASE LATER.

What to do if you’re injured on the job

  • If you are able, tell your supervisor that you’ve been injured.
  • Immediately seek medical treatment.
  • When asked for medical insurance, tell them that you were injured at work and provide the name of your company. The medical facility will contact your company. The medical facility will contact your employer to verify workers’ compensation benefits.
  • If workers’ compensation insurance is unavailable, use your own insurance.

What kinds of jobs are covered by Workers’ Compensation?

Almost all jobs are covered by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. Unless you are a Federal employee, or work in a limited number of maritime jobs, your employment and any injury that you suffer is covered by the Act.

How long do I have to work for my employer to be covered by Workers’ Compensation?

There is no requirement that you work for your employer for any specific period of time to gain coverage under the Act. If you suffer an injury on your first day on the job, the Act covers you just as it would a ten-year employee.

What are my rights?

You have the right to receive medical care of your choosing for any injury that you suffer while at work. In addition, if your injury makes it impossible for you to work, you have the right to receive 2/3 of your average weekly wage for the period that you are off of work due to your injury.

How long do I have to file a Workers’ Compensation claim?

You must file an Application for Adjustment of Claim within three years of the date of the accident if no compensation was paid. If you receive payment for temporary disability or medical benefits paid by workers’ compensation or your group health insurance, then you must file your application within two years of the date of the last payment.

Do I have to tell my boss about my accident?

Yes. You should report your accident or injury as soon as possible. In the event that you have a repetitive-trauma injury (i.e. carpal tunnel syndrome or something similar), you should report it as soon as you are aware that your condition is related to your employment.

What kinds of injuries are covered by Workers’ Compensation?

Almost all injuries, whether physical or psychological, are covered by the Act. A narrow selection of occupational diseases is covered by a similar law known as the Occupational Diseases Act.

What if I have a pre-existing injury?

A pre-existing injury may or may not affect your right to recovery under the Workers’ Compensation Act. If your injury was long in the past, and if you have not received any treatment for some time, there may be no impact on a workers’ compensation claim. If you have a pre-existing injury, you should contact one of the attorneys at Strom & Associates to discuss the specific interplay between your new accident and your pre-existing condition.

What if a family member is killed or dies as the result of an injury or illness associated with my work?

If a family member dies as the result of a work-related accident, the Workers’ Compensation Act provides that the surviving family members can receive benefits through the life of the surviving spouse or, if there is no surviving spouse, until the youngest child reaches the age of 18 or 25, depending on educational status.

A work-related death is obviously a traumatic event with far-reaching implications. Should you be unfortunate enough to suffer such a loss, you should contact one of the attorneys at Strom & Associates to discuss your rights.

Is hearing loss covered by Workers’ Compensation?

Yes. Hearing loss is compensated by measuring the amount of damage that has been caused by the occupational injury.

Are heart attacks and strokes covered by Workers’ Compensation?

They may be. The relationship between your employment and a heart attack or stroke is generally defined by your treating physician. The attorneys at Strom & Associates are experienced in working with physicians to determine whether any relationship between your employment and a heart attack or stroke exists.

Who will pay my medical bills?

In a successful workers’ compensation claim, medical bills are paid by your employer or its insurance company. On occasion, insurers refuse to pay medical bills despite the fact that the treatment was necessitated by a work injury. In these instances, the attorneys at Strom & Associates are able to force the matter before an arbitrator and fight to have all of your medical expenses repaid.

Can I choose my own doctor?

Yes. The Workers’ Compensation Act gives every employee the right to direct his or her own medical care. Often times, an employer will send an injured worker directly to a physician or clinic whose interests may not coincide with those of the worker. You have an absolute right to choose your own doctor and are not required to treat with any health care provider that was chosen by your employer.

When will my weekly benefits begin?

Weekly benefits begin three days after you are removed from work. In the event that you are removed from work by your treating doctor for the work-related injury for more than 14 days, the first three days (for which you were not initially paid) will be repaid.

How much will my weekly income benefits be?

Assuming that you are unable to work, your weekly benefits will be 2/3 of your average weekly wage. Computing an average weekly wage may be more complicated than it appears at first blush. The nature and amount of overtime hours must be taken into account when determining the correct benefit rate.

Do I need an attorney?

It depends. Some people are able to navigate the period following an injury easily and require no assistance. However, some claims come very complicated very quickly and injured workers find that the assistance of counsel helps them to complete a seemingly insurmountable task. The attorneys at Strom & Associates are always mindful that deciding whether to retain an attorney is an important and, at times, difficult decision. We pride ourselves on not pressuring anyone to rush into a decision and will be happy to provide you with more information so that you can be fully informed of all factors when deciding whether to hire a lawyer.

Can I be fired for filing a claim?

No. Illinois law makes it illegal for any employer to retaliate against an injured worker for filing a workers’ compensation claim.

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