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How to begin the Illinois workers’ compensation claims process

On Behalf of | Apr 2, 2024 | Workers' Compensation

If you’ve suffered a serious injury at work, the last thing you want to think about is filling out paperwork. However, you’ll need to file a workers’ compensation claim to get the benefits to which you’re entitled for medical care, a portion of lost wages and other benefits, if applicable.

It’s important to complete the documentation fully and accurately. Even minor errors or omissions can delay your benefits or even cause your claim to be initially denied.

Don’t be talked out of seeking benefits

Don’t yet your employer tell you that your injury doesn’t qualify for workers’ comp, that you could lose your job if you take time off to recover or other things that aren’t accurate. While responsible employers won’t try to discourage someone from filing a valid claim, that’s not true of all of them. If you have questions about your eligibility and/or the consequences of filing a claim, both the state and experienced workers’ compensation law firms can steer you in informed directions.

Also, it’s important to remember that workers’ comp in most cases is no-fault insurance. That means even if your own error or negligence contributed to the injury, you’re likely still entitled to benefits.

Take the appropriate steps immediately after your injury

First things first: It’s crucial to get medical care right away. Even if you don’t think you were seriously injured, it’s wise to get checked out. Having this documentation can help your claim.

Be sure your employer is aware of the injury. If it happened on the job, someone in charge should be notified immediately. However, you have up to 45 days to notify them verbally and/or in writing. Putting something in writing – even if you’ve discussed it with a manager — is best.

When do employers need to report workplace accidents to the IWCC?

Illinois employers must submit an accident report to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission (IWCC) if any employee has to be off work for at least four days due to their injuries. When they do, you should receive a handbook from the IWCC with information about how to file a claim as well as other information about your rights. If you don’t receive one, you can request one through the IWCC site or by calling the commission.

People have plenty of time to file a claim, in part because injuries and illnesses may not show up immediately. But, the sooner you file one, the sooner you can start receiving benefits. If you have questions or concerns about what to do or whether your employer is doing what’s required of them, it can be helpful to seek legal guidance to protect your rights and benefits.