Understanding Workers’ Compensation Claims in Illinois
If you’re an employee who has been injured on the job, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ compensation is designed to provide employees with a financial safety net when they suffer an injury or illness related to their employment. In Illinois, there are several types of workers’ compensation claims that can be filed in order to receive such benefits. Let's take a look at some of them.
Temporary Total Disability Claim
A temporary total disability (TTD) claim is used when an employee is unable to work while they recover or if their employer cannot offer modified light-duty work that complies with their physical limitations. This type of claim typically covers lost wages as well as medical expenses related to the injury or illness until they are able to return to work.
Injured workers can receive 66.6% of their average weekly pay, and they will not receive lost wages for the first three days unless they need at least 14 days of work off. The state also sets a maximum amount of compensation (that change bi-annually); the current maximum (as of February 2023) is $1,848.20. You can receive TTD benefits until you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI), which refers to the point that your doctor believes your condition has improved as much as possible with treatment.
If needed, you can see what the maximum temporary total disability wage is here.
Temporary Partial Disability Benefits
If you are unable to perform your normal duties but can work part-time or return to light duty, you may be eligible to receive temporary partial disability benefits. These benefits are calculated by determining what two-thirds of the difference between you currently earn and what you would earn doing your pre-injury job.
Let’s say that you earned $1,000 in your previous role but not only work part-time and earn $400. To calculate your TPD benefits, you would subtract your current wages ($400) from your previous earnings ($1,000). In this example, that is $600, and you would receive two-thirds of that in PTD benefits (about $400/week).
Permanent Total Disability Claim
A permanent total disability claim is used when an employee has suffered a disabling injury or illness that prevents them from ever returning to work again. Once you reach MMI, your doctor can determine whether your occupational injury or illness caused any permanent physical damage or disability.
If your injury or illness has caused you to be unable to do any type of work or you have lost the use of your eyes or extremities, you can receive permanent total disability benefits for life. From January 15th to July 14th, Illinois permanent total disability ranges from $693.08-$1,848.20. These benefits are also eligible for a cost-of-living adjustment using the Rate Adjustment Fund.
Permanent Partial Disability Claim
Permanent partial disability benefits aim to compensate you if your illness or injury caused you to:
- lose the use of some parts of your body, and
- lose the ability to complete some of the work you were previously able to do.
In Illinois, there are four types of permanent partial disability benefits:
- Disfigurement benefits, which aim to compensate you if you have a serious and permanent disfiguring work-related injury (that is commonly visible). This award is calculated by awarding you 60% of your pre-injury wages for up to 162 weeks.
- Scheduled loss-of-use awards, which aim to help if you lost the use of your eyes, ears, or other extremities. This award is 60% of your pre-injury wages multiplied by the state’s set number of weeks.
- Unscheduled awards, which are similar to scheduled awards but differ in that your impairment is not listed on the schedule. These awards are calculated by taking 60% of your pre-injury wages for a percentage of 500 weeks based on your doctor’s disability rating of your injury.
- Wage differential benefits, which aim to compensate you for the loss of wages caused by your injury. If you can return to work but do not earn as much as you did before your injury, you can receive wage differential benefits until you turn 67 years old or after five years (whichever happens later).
Vocational Rehabilitation Claim
A vocational rehabilitation claim is filed when an injured worker needs assistance returning to work after suffering from an injury or illness caused by their job. This type of claim helps cover costs associated with retraining and other services that will help them find employment in another field if necessary. The goal is to help them become gainfully employed as soon as possible after reaching MMI so that they can begin receiving wages again instead of relying on workers’ compensation benefits indefinitely.
Experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorneys
Employees in this situation need to understand what type of claim best fits their needs so that they can get the most out of their benefits package. Working with experienced attorneys can help ensure that your rights are protected throughout this process and that you receive all available benefits under Illinois law.
At McHargue & Jones, LLC, our attorneys can advise you on what type of workers’ compensation claim you should file and how to navigate the filing process. With decades of experience and a proven track record of success, you can trust our firm with your case. We have helped countless clients get the compensation they need to help them financially during their recovery.
Learn more about how our firm can help you with your initial workers’ comp filing by calling (312) 487-2461 or reaching out online today.