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An Overview of Workers’ Compensation in Illinois

Workers’ compensation laws protect employees who are injured on the job. These laws provide benefits to injured workers and the families of employees who are killed as a result of work-related accidents or injuries. Workers’ compensation laws exist on both the state and federal levels. If you’ve been injured on the job, the nature of your work will determine which workers’ compensation laws apply to your situation. Below, we discuss some of the key federal and state workers’ compensation laws affecting Illinois employees. 

Federal Workers’ Compensation Laws

There are several important federal workers’ compensation laws, including:

  • The Federal Employment Compensation Act: This act provides workers’ compensation for non-military, federal employees. Awards under the act are limited to “disability or death” sustained at work. However, the act doesn’t cover injuries incurred willfully by the employee or due to intoxication. 
  • The Federal Employment Liability Act: Although this law isn’t explicitly a workers’ compensation statute, it provides that a railroad company engaged in interstate commerce is liable for injuries to its employees if such injuries are caused by the company’s negligence.
  • The Merchant Marine Act: This law, also known as the Jones Act, provides seamen with the same protection from employer negligence that the Federal Employment Liability Act provides to railroad employees.
  • The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act: This act provides workers’ compensation to certain employees of private maritime employers. 
  • The Black Lung Benefits Act: This federal law provides compensation for miners who suffer from pneumoconiosis (“black lung”). The act requires mine operators to pay disability payments to employees and establishes a fund to provide disability payments to miners when mine operators are unable to pay. 

Worker’s Compensation in Illinois

The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act requires employers in Illinois to provide workers’ compensation insurance to almost all employees. In fact, it has been estimated that over 90% of employees in Illinois are covered under the Act. Employers who fail to comply with the act may be fined up to $500 for each day of noncompliance. In addition, the act imposes personal liability on the corporate officers of companies that fail to pay this penalty. 

How a Workers’ Compensation Attorney Can Help 

Following an injury in the workplace, it’s often necessary to contact a workers’ compensation attorney for assistance. In addition to making sure that you submit all required forms in a timely manner, an experienced workers’ compensation attorney will gather evidence, negotiate on your behalf, and draft a settlement agreement. 

Contact a Workers’ Compensation Attorney 

If you have suffered an injury at work, you may be entitled to financial compensation. At Foote, Mielke, Chavez & O’Neil, LLC, our experienced workers’ compensation attorneys are here to help. When you come to us for assistance, we will do everything in our power to ensure that you are compensated for your workplace injuries. Please contact us today to schedule a consultation.