State law in Illinois protects workers from the high financial burden associated with sustaining an injury during the course of employment. Through the Illinois Workers’ Compensation and Occupational Diseases Act, injured workers may apply for benefits to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, which oversees the provision of compensation for eligible claimants.
The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act gives workers who have incurred a workplace injury the right to receive benefits through their employers; however, the process required to receive benefits can be challenging. In order to increase the probability of approval for workers’ compensation, the following set of tips may be helpful:
- Promptly seeking medical care for the workplace injury
- Notifying the employer soon after the injury manifests
- Filing a claim for benefits within the required timetable
- Proving the relationship between workplace and injury
- Consulting with an attorney to help with the process
Following these tips may not guarantee a successful workers’ compensation case, but given the financial consequences of workplace injuries, it is wise to fully understand the process.
Seek medical attention first
The first of the five tips is perhaps the most obvious. After a workplace injury that requires medical attention is sustained, the first step is to seek that necessary medical attention. Not only is this a prudent step for the sake of health, the fact that treatment was promptly sought is important evidence that the injury in question was genuine.
After receiving necessary medical treatment, two specific administrative requirements can make or break a workers’ compensation case. The first is to notify the employer of the injury that occurred on the job. In most cases, this must be done within 45 days of the injury manifesting itself. The second is to file an Application for Adjustment of Claim with the IWCC which, in most cases, must be done within three years of the work-related illness manifesting itself.
Prove the relationship
So long as the required administrative procedures have been completed in time, the key to approval becomes proving a causal relationship between the workplace and the injury. In some cases, the burden of proof shifts from employee to employer, such as in the EMT, Paramedic and Fire Fighter fields, but in most cases, claimants must demonstrate that the injury arose during the course of employment. Given potential opposition from employers and insurers, who stand to lose funds if a case is successful, injured workers may wish to use a workers’ compensation attorney during the claim and possible dispute process.