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Worker’s Compensation 101

Our associate, Margie Putzler, recently put together an article for a local monthly magazine in which she very succinctly spells out some basics with respect to worker’s compensation in Illinois.  We are pleased to share  it below.  But please keep in mind that this is not meant to be taken as legal advice for you or a family member or friend, in that as we are careful to always caution folks: get a lawyer and pay attention to the advice your lawyer provides you.  We are always happy to review a case with one of the attorneys in our office in that we are involved daily in the worker’s compensation claim practice area.

Worker’s Compensation 101

Often, people pursuing a claim for an injury that has occurred at
work first turn to family and friends for advice. But that advice
is not always correct. Here are some workers’ compensation
basics to keep in mind as you move forward in this new year.

1. Workers’ compensation attorneys are paid on a contingency
fee basis, which means the attorneys do not get paid unless
the case is won. There is no fee for a workers’ compensation
attorney to review a case.
2. All businesses in Illinois are required by law to carry workers’
compensation insurance.
3. Most workers in Illinois are covered under the Illinois Workers’
Compensation Act. There are exceptions to this coverage. The
main exceptions are federal employees and farm workers.
4. Independent contractors are not covered by Illinois workers’
compensation. However, just because an employee is labeled
as an independent contractor by an employer does not mean
the employee is not covered.
5. An employee hired in Illinois but working in another state at the
time of injury is covered.
6. An employee already clocked out from the job may be
covered. An attorney versed in the workers’ compensation law
will know who is covered and not covered.
7. The same holds true for an employee who is injured while on
drugs or drunk at the time of the injury. The employer will deny
coverage, but this can be appealed if intoxication was not the
cause of the injury.
8. As with other types of cases, there is a statute of limitations
for workers’ compensation cases. Typically, workers’
compensation cases must be filed within three years of the
date of injury. There are exceptions to this statute, including
repetitive trauma injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome. It is
best to hire an attorney immediately in order to determine the
rights and benefits the employee is entitled to receive.
9. Do not give a recorded statement.
10. Do not post anything related to your injury on social media and
do not accept friend requests from unknown individuals. It is
best to stay off social media for the duration of the case.
11. Seek treatment immediately following an injury. An injured
worker has a right to choose his or her treating doctor. There
are guidelines for how many doctors an injured employee can
treat with, so it is important to seek the advice of an attorney
to make sure treatment is in compliance with the workers’
compensation statute.
12. An employer has the right to send an injured worker to a
doctor for an exam.
13. The employer may hire a nurse case manager. The nurse case
manager should not talk to the doctor without the injured
worker present, nor should the nurse case manager interfere
with the care of the injured worker.
14. An employer cannot fire an injured worker for filing a workers’
compensation claim.
15. A workers’ compensation case will not be settled until
treatment is concluded and the injured worker reaches
maximum medical improvement.
16. The value of a case is determined based on many factors. There
is no set value to a case, and no two cases are exactly alike.
17. A case is not closed until a settlement agreement is signed, or
if the injured worker waits to long to file.
If you suffer an on-the-job injury, seek the advice of an attorney
versed in the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. If you or anyone
you know has suffered an injury while at work, the attorneys at
Turner & Sackett LLC will answer any questions you may have
regarding workers’ compensation.