Life comes with unavoidable risks. Every day we face potential injury doing even the simplest things. Crossing the street, riding the bus, even cooking can be a risk. But if you’re injured at work, there are laws designed to protect your livelihood and minimize risk.
What is workers’ comp?
Workers’ compensation – workers’ comp for short – is a system that benefits to employees hurt at work or those who contract work-related illnesses. Injured workers are usually still eligible for benefits regardless of who’s at fault for the injury.
Who does workers’ comp cover? For what?
In Illinois, most employees based in the state are eligible for workers’ comp as soon as they start their jobs.
Most accidents or illnesses incurred by workers because of their employment are covered under Illinois workers’ compensation laws. This could include anything from a back injury to amputation to lung disease from asbestos exposure.
What does workers’ comp provide?
Illinois law dictates what the benefits provided to those who qualify for workers’ comp, including:
- Medical care to treat the injury or illness sustained on the job
- Temporary total disability as the worker recovers
- Temporary partial disability for workers on lighter job duty for less pay while recovering
- Vocational rehabilitation programs
- Permanent partial disability for workers permanently disabled but still employable
- Permanent total disability for workers who cannot work again
- Death benefits for families of workers killed on the job
Who pays for workers’ comp benefits?
Employers pay workers’ comp benefits. Usually the employer carries workers’ comp insurance. No part of workers’ comp benefits or insurance premiums can be charged to employees.
What if my employer denies workers’ comp claim?
For a number of reasons, an employer may try to deny a workers’ comp claim. It’s the employer’s and insurer’s prerogative to minimize liability and payout.
If this happens, you may file a complaint with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. In disputed cases, the state of Illinois suggests hiring an attorney to represent you in the proceedings.
If you’re injured on the job, remember you’re not alone. While it is your employer’s responsibility to provide for you if you’re hurt, it is often helpful to seek legal counsel early on.