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Basics Of Workers' Compensation In Illinois

Although none of us like to think about it, workplace injuries are one of the most common kinds of injuries that people suffer. Fortunately, the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act protects you from most of the injuries suffered while you are at work. In the unfortunate event that you are injured at work, you should understand some of your basic rights and responsibilities under the Act.

Many of the things you should do after being injured on the job are the same things you should do after being injured anywhere. As soon as possible after being hurt, go to the hospital or see your doctor. Get the names and addresses of any witnesses to your accident. Keep copies of all of your medical records, accident investigations, claim forms, and any other paperwork.

In addition to these common-sense details, the Act requires you to report your injury to your supervisor within 45 days of the day that it occurred. You also must file an Application for Adjustment of Claim with the Illinois Industrial Commission (the agency that oversees the workers' compensation system). Keep track of your mileage to and from doctor's appointments, because your employer must pay your reasonable travel expenses.

When it comes to your medical treatment, choose one or two doctors you trust and have these doctors refer you to specialists, if necessary. This is important, because your employer is only required to pay for a maximum of two doctors of your own choosing, plus anyone to whom these doctors refer you. If your doctor tells you that you are too injured to return to work, ask to have that put into writing. If your doctor says that you may return to work subject to certain restrictions (such as "do not lift more than 25 pounds"), get the restrictions in writing and make sure that you and your employer understand them.

You also should be aware of other pitfalls that could complicate your workers' compensation claim. For example, do not sign documents that your employer has prepared regarding your injury. By law, an employer cannot require you to sign an injury report, or give a written or recorded statement, for you to be eligible for workers' compensation benefits. Despite this, some employers try to get injured workers to sign statements that may be used later to undermine the workers' legitimate claims.

Although your employer is entitled to have your medical condition evaluated by a doctor of its choosing, beware of the employer who sends you to a number of different doctors for such an evaluation. Your employer may be "doctor shopping," or looking for a doctor who will testify to what your employer wants to hear.

While no one wants to be injured on the job, following these simple guidelines will help to insure that you are justly compensated for a workplace injury and that you get back to work as soon as possible.

This website is not intended to constitute legal advice or the provision of legal services. By posting and/or maintaining the website and its contents, Lucas Law does not intend to solicit business from clients located in states or jurisdictions outside of Illinois wherein Lucas Law or its individual attorney(s) are not licensed or authorized to practice law.

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