What types of benefits are included in Workers’ Compensation?
In the State of Illinois, Workers’ Compensation has several basic benefits:
(a) Temporary Total Disability, which pays 2/3’s of the employee’s average weekly wage for the temporary time that the employee is off of work and
(b) Permanent Disability, which is a permanent disability that can be:
(i) partial, which means that the employee can go back to the old job but with the chance that wages will be lost in the future; the employee is entitled to a lump sum paid at the rate of 60% of the average weekly wage,
(ii) wage differential if the employee can’t return to work at the old job for the same pay so 2/3 of the difference is payable
(iii) retraining and one or more of the last two options, or
(iv) permanent total disability, which is payable at 2/3’s of the average weekly wage for life.
(c) Under all circumstances (temporary and permanent disability), the employer must pay for medical bills that are related to the accident. Under some circumstances this may be for life
How do I submit a Workers’ Compensation claim?
You must notify your employer of the injury as soon as possible, but in any event within 45 days of the accident. To file the case itself, you must file a claim with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission within 3 years of the accident or within 2 years of the last payment of benefits (but this is disputable and it is best to file within 3 years).
What must my employer do after I inform him or her of my injury?
Your employer is obligated to file a “Form 45” with the State and to pay benefits to you within 2 weeks of the accident. Usually this means the insurer, but some employers are self-insured.
Can I file an appeal if my Workers’ Compensation claim is denied?
Yes. If the claim is denied by the insurer, then you must file a claim with the Workers’ Compensation Commission and then have a trial. If the Commission denies the claim, then there are several ways to appeal from that denial.
Do I need an attorney when filing a Workers’ Compensation claim?
The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission strongly recommends consulting an experienced personal injury attorney when pursuing workers’ compensation benefits.
What is the difference between Workers’ Compensation and personal injury claims?
Personal injury is a term that is used to describe all personal injuries that occur outside of work. It is a very old right that exists because people have a basic right for courts to determine whether someone else has done something wrong that a court might correct. It requires proof of fault in court, before a judge or jury. Personal injury claims are harder to prove than Workers’ Comp. claims but they have some damages, such as pain and suffering, which can’t be obtained in Compensation. There are no “caps” in these claims, but there are in Workers’ Compensation claims.
Workers’ Compensation, which is a type of strict liability, never existed before the early 1900’s. It was created by legislatures to compensate people for dangers that existed due to the very nature of hazards in the workplace. It can’t be tried in court and must be in front of a state commission.
What damages can I get in a personal injury case?
Payment for past and future medical bills, lost wages, pain, suffering, disfigurement and whatever damages are likely to occur to the injured person; family members’ damages are not generally recoverable other than to spouses.
What do I have to prove to get a verdict a personal injury claim?
Personal injury claims require proof of more than 50% fault in order for damages (injuries of various types) to be awarded by a court. This is called “comparative fault.” A court may award anywhere from 50% of the damages to 100% of the damages. For that reason, insurers look to that same standard (>50% up to 100%) in assessing how much they will offer.
How do I get some money for my damages due to a personal injury accident?
Either by settlement with an insurer (if there is insurance) or settlement with the wrongdoer (if they have no insurance but have money) or by trial if the first two settlement methods don’t work. To recover money it requires that the defendant have either money or insurance.
Is there a cap on how much money I can receive in a personal injury case?
No. As of 2010, the state of Illinois does not cap damages in any personal injury case, regardless of the circumstances.