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Frequently Asked Questions About Workers' Compensation in Illinois

Attorneys Serving Injured Workers in Cook County and DuPage County

At Kaiser Law, in Bensenville, IL, our experienced attorneys work on behalf of workers who were injured in the course of doing their jobs. In most cases, injured employees are eligible to receive benefits under the Illinois workers' compensation system, but getting those benefits is not always as easy as it should be. We know how devastating a work injury can be, and we know that you might need workers' comp benefits to help you get back on your feet and back to work quickly. Our team is equipped to get you the benefits you deserve and to answer any questions that you might have.

Q. Am I eligible for workers' compensation benefits?

A. Under Illinois law, an employee who is injured or becomes ill in the course of his or her employment is generally eligible for workers' compensation benefits. Contractors or per diem non-employee workers do not usually qualify for workers' comp benefits. Similarly, benefits are not available for injuries or illnesses that are not work-related. Our attorneys can help you determine whether a workers' compensation claim is appropriate for your situation.

Q. Do I need to prove that someone else was at fault for my work-related injuries?

A. The Illinois workers' compensation program is a no-fault system, which means that benefits are usually available regardless of how the injury or illness occurred. You do not need to prove that anyone acted negligently, and you can even collect benefits if your injuries were entirely your fault—as long as they were related to the performance of your job.

Q. What types of benefits am I eligible for under workers' compensation?

A. Your specific benefits will depend on the nature and extent of your injuries, but workers' compensation may cover the costs of your emergency medical treatment, required hospital stays, surgical procedures, therapy, rehabilitation, doctors' visits, orthotics, prosthetics, prescriptions, and over-the-counter medications. If your injuries caused you to miss work, you may be eligible to recover lost wages and receive payments for a temporary or permanent disability. Workers' compensation could also cover any expenses of retraining for a new job if your injuries prevent you from returning to your previous occupation.

Q. Can I sue my employer instead of filing a workers' compensation claim?

A. Illinois law prohibits you from filing a personal injury lawsuit against your employer for a work-related injury, with very limited exceptions for extreme behavior by the employer. You may choose to file a third-party personal injury lawsuit if someone else's negligence led to your injuries, however. For example, if you were delivering pizzas for your employer and a drunk driver caused a crash in which you were hurt, you could file a separate lawsuit against the drunk driver in addition to your workers' compensation claim.

Q. How soon do I need to file a workers' compensation claim?

A. In most cases, you have 45 days to notify your employee of your work-related injuries. If you are suffering from an occupational illness or disease, you should let your employer know about your condition as soon as you reasonably can. After meeting the notification requirements, you usually have three years from the date of the injury or incident in which to file a formal workers' compensation claim.

Q. Can I see my own doctor for my injuries?

A. You generally have the ability to choose the doctor or doctors you see, but certain limitations may apply. Some employers may have a pre-approved list of providers, and you may need to start there, but you always have the right to visit a hospital or doctor of your choosing. Your employer's insurance company could also require you to undergo an independent medical examination to verify the nature and extent of your injuries. The attorneys at our firm can help coordinate your medical care so that your rights are fully protected.

Q. How can a pre-existing condition affect my workers' compensation claim?

A. If you have a pre-existing health condition, the condition will not typically decrease the benefits for which you are eligible under workers' comp. Our lawyers will work with you in showing that your current injuries were not caused by your pre-existing condition so that we can protect your eligibility for benefits. We can also help you collect benefits for the work-related aggravation of your pre-existing condition or prior injuries.

Q. How can I get in touch with a qualified workers' compensation attorney?

A. When you are injured at work, you need an advocate who will fight to get you all of the benefits to which the law says you are entitled. The skilled team at Kaiser Law has over 100 years of combined experience, and we are equipped to help you protect your rights. Contact our office by calling 630-233-9946 and schedule a free consultation with one of our knowledgeable workers' comp lawyers. We serve clients in Bensenville, Elk Grove Village, Elmhurst, Addison, Melrose Park, Franklin Park, Park Ridge, Niles, Cook County, DuPage County, and the surrounding areas.

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