Workers Compensation FAQs
I was employed less than a week before I was injured. May I recover?
Yes. Employees are covered under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act from the very moment they begin their employment. So, even if you are injured within a few minutes of commencing your employment, you may be able to recover for your work related injuries.
Do I have any legal rights if I am fired for filing a claim with the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission?
Yes. Illinois law prohibits employers from taking adverse action (i.e. termination) against employees who exercise their rights under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. An employee who is terminated in retaliation for filing a claim may file a lawsuit in a Illinois state court with jurisdiction over the matter. Such lawsuits are not filed at the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission.
A co-worker received substantially more money than that being offered to me for the same injury. Why the huge discrepancy?
A number of factors come into play. The amount of recovery is based in part on how much you earn per week (excluding overtime). Thus, if your co-worker is earning substantially more, his settlement amount would likely be higher. Another factor taken into consideration is the amount of time it took for recovery. Let us assume that both you and your co-worker suffered a work related injury that resulted in a herniated disk in the lumbar spine. It takes you five weeks of treatment to return to work. On the other hand, it takes your co-worker sixteen weeks of treatment to return to work. Such a difference in the period of treatment more than likely reflects that your co-worker’s injuries were more severe than yours. Thus, your co-worker’s settlement value would likely be higher.
My minor child was injured on the job. I have since been made aware that he was employed illegally. Does my child have rights under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act or other statutes?
Yes. A workers’ compensation claim may be brought on behalf of the illegally employed minor, and all the benefits afforded under the Act would be available to him. Normally, the Act is the exclusive remedy for employees injured on the job. One exception is when the employer illegally employs minors (i.e. employment violates child labor laws or minor did not have a work permit). In such a scenario, the illegally employed minor may elect to reject his rights and benefits under the Act. In doing so, the illegally employed minor has the right to pursue his common law and/or statutory remedies to recover for his injuries. The injured illegally employed minor must reject his rights and benefits under the Act within six months of the injury or within six months of appointment of legal representation, whichever is later.
My employer had workers’ compensation insurance when my injury occurred. My case has not been resolved and my employer no longer has workers’ compensation insurance. Will I no longer be able to recover a monetary award?
That is not necessarily the case. If your employer made all the required payments to the insurance carrier and decided not to renew the policy, you may still recover a monetary award so long as your injury occurred during the coverage period of the policy.
My employer is contesting my injury as non-compensable under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. Since my employer has not paid my medical bills, my medical treaters are threatening to initiate collection proceedings and report me to the credit report
Yes. If you notify the medical treater that your injury was a result of a work accident and give them the employer’s contact information, the medical treater must bill the employer directly. At that point, the law would also prohibit the medical treater from attempting to collect payment or from reporting you to the credit agencies until a determination has been made by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. The medical provider may continue to send you reminders of the balance.
My employer is requiring me to go to its doctor. Can I go to a doctor that I select?
Yes. You may select up to two doctors for treatment. The employer would be required to pay for the medical services rendered by these doctors. It is also important that you continue to make all of the appointments scheduled with the company doctor. If you fail or refuse to go to the company doctor, you risk the employer terminating your benefits and access to the doctors of your choice.