How to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Illinois
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 2.8 million non-fatal workplace accidents occur in America each year. When it comes to the commonness of workplace injuries, Illinois is no exception. That is one of many reasons why employers are legally required to purchase workers’ compensation insurance for employees.
Like most areas of our legal system, the steps required to receive workers’ compensation can be complex and confusing. It’s essential to follow the appropriate process in order to receive compensation—and more importantly, the amount of compensation you rightfully deserve.
From filling out the correct paperwork in its entirety to meeting the appropriate deadlines, it’s important to have a general knowledge of the steps required to file for workers’ compensation in Chicago.
5 Steps to Take After a Workplace Accident or Injury
In order to receive the compensation you deserve after a workplace accident or injury, it’s imperative to file a workers’ comp claim as soon as possible.
When it comes to workers’ compensation, time is of the essence if you wish to make a valid case for yourself and receive the amount of compensation you are due. Moreover, filing your claim in a timely manner can help ensure that you can continue to support yourself financially as you recover from a work-related accident, injury, or illness.
Take these 5 steps to file for workers’ compensation efficiently and effectively in the state of Illinois.
Step 1: Seek medical care as soon as possible.
The reasons to seek immediate medical assistance following a workplace accident or injury are twofold. The first and most obvious reason is to protect your health and wellbeing. Even what appears to be a non-urgent injury can cause underlying problems that aren’t immediately visible, such as internal bleeding, whiplash, spinal injury, or damage to soft tissue in the back or shoulders.
Regardless of how severe you believe your injury to be, it’s crucial to seek medical attention to give you deserved peace of mind and screen your body for potentially life-threatening medical issues.
Secondly, seeking medical attention as soon as possible will ensure that the appropriate records are filed for later use. Medical documentation is often extremely useful when it comes time to file a workers’ comp claim and can help ensure that you receive the amount of compensation you deserve.
Step 2: Notify your boss of the incident.
Your next step is to notify your employer of the workplace accident or injury. The state of Illinois requires applicants to submit notification to their employer within 45 days of the incident, although it’s always best to notify your boss as soon as you’re able.
Consider these best practices when notifying your employer about a workers’ compensation claim:
- Notify the employer in writing when possible. Although an oral notice is acceptable, a written notice is always best for record-keeping, and can help prevent potential disputes later on.
- Tell the employer directly. Do not rely on a colleague or lower-level manager to deliver the message to them.
- Include the date and location of the accident in your notice.
Step 3: File an Application for Adjustment of Claim.
Next, make sure you fill out the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission Application for Adjustment of Claim. This must be submitted within 3 years of the workplace accident or injury.
After the appropriate paperwork is submitted, your employer is obligated to provide a list of accepted medical providers and inform their insurer to begin the claims process. If the workplace accident has rendered you unable to continue work for a minimum of 3 days, your employer is obligated to do one of two things:
- Accept your claim and begin paying temporary disability payments.
- Provide a written explanation as to why your claim was denied or delayed. If this is the case, they must also notify you of any additional information needed from you.
Step 4: Keep track of appropriate documentation and relevant evidence.
Make sure you keep track of relevant reports regarding the workplace accident or injury. The following are best practices to keep supporting documents readily accessible:
- Maintain list of any doctors or physicians you visited
- Hang on to bills and receipts from pharmacies or stores from which you’ve purchased over-the-counter medications or treatments
- Keep a dated journal of how your injury impacts your day-to-day activities
Step 5: Keep up the status of your workers’ comp claim.
You can keep track of your workers’ compensation claim online. Assuming your employer doesn’t approve all parts of the claim you submitted, you may have to appeal to the Workers’ Compensation Commission, during which time you can check the status on the official website.
We’re Here to Protect Your Rights in the Workplace
At McHargue & Jones, LLC, we know all too well how critical it is for employees to understand and assert their rights in the workplace. Unfortunately, workers’ safety isn’t at the top of every employer’s to-do list.
That’s why it’s up to you to take back control by demanding the compensation you’re due. If you were recently involved in a workplace accident, you need an experienced attorney you can rely on when the going gets tough. Our devoted workers’ compensation lawyers are here to guide your next steps and advocate for the justice you rightfully deserve.
Don’t be bullied into staying silent by a disgruntled employer who isn’t willing to take responsibility for negligent actions. Our passionate team will fight tirelessly for the maximum compensation you deserve.
If you were recently injured in a workplace accident, time is of the essence. Don’t wait to take action. Call (312) 487-2461 to schedule your free consultation today.