If you suffer an injury at work, you have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim, as long as your injury is work-related. Workers’ compensation is a kind of insurance that would cover your medical bills and provide you with a wage replacement for your time off work due to an injury.
If you happen to get a permanent disability from that work-related injury, you may also be eligible for permanent disability benefits covered by workers’ compensation.
But what steps should you take if you want to file a workers’ compensation claim?
1. Report the Incident
The first thing you need to do to file a workers’ comp claim is to report the incident, that is, notify your employer.
Depending on the state you work in, the deadline for reporting it can be several days to several months. In the state of Illinois, you have 45 days to notify your employer about your work-related injury.
You should report the incident in writing because it’s not enough to tell your employer you’ve been injured. You need to fill out a proper form, that is, an accident report to start the process.
Your employer will provide you with that form for recording the accident. Make sure you ask for a copy of the report.
2. Seek a Lawyer
Now, it’s time to lawyer up. Without the legal help, you may not be able to get workers’ comp on your own. Lawyers simply know the law and can help you build a strong case, as well as get a high settlement offer.
Hiring a reliable workers’ compensation attorney can help you take all the right steps to get the compensation you deserve. They will assess your case, explain how the entire process of filing a claim works, and provide you with the necessary legal guidance.
Vasilatos Injury Law is here for you; if you’re ever in need of the most experienced workers’ compensation attorneys in Chicago.
3. Seek Medical Treatment
If you’ve sustained a major injury, it’s clear that you’ll seek medical attention as soon as possible. But apart from the obvious health concerns, getting immediate medical treatment will help you with your workers’ compensation claim.
The sooner you seek medical attention, the easier it will be to get compensated for the injury. If you wait and your injury already starts to heal, you may not get as high a settlement offer as you would if you saw the doctor immediately.
Your employer will likely refer you to their preferred doctor, but you can choose your own medical provider if that would give you more confidence. This varies by state, but the Illinois law allows you to see several doctors of your choice when looking to get workers’ compensation.
4. Lawyer to Provide Updates
Your lawyer will be there for you every step of the way to provide the necessary guidance and help you get compensated for your injury. You don’t have to worry about anything other than getting better, because your lawyer will take care of everything claim-related.
Here are the most important things they will be responsible for.
Your employer needs to know what’s going on with your work-related injury, that is, how you are recovering, and when you can return to work. You need to provide them with proof that the injury is indeed preventing you from going back to work.
Your employer’s insurance company also needs to stay up-to-date with everything related to the injury you sustained at work. Just like your employer, they too need to know if your injury is really that serious to stop you from working and make you eligible for an insurance claim, that is, workers’ comp.
Again, this isn’t something you need to worry about. Your lawyer will provide them with all your medical documentation to show proof of your injury, including all the follow-ups and tests.
5. File an Appeal If Necessary
Unfortunately, not everyone who files a workers’ compensation claim gets approved. There can be several reasons why your claim may get denied.
For instance, your employer may think that your injury wasn’t work-related, which is the number one factor for filing a claim in the first place. They also may believe that you didn’t even need any medical treatment and that you were fully able to continue working.
Whatever the reason for your denied claim, you should know that not all hope is lost. You can go to arbitration in hopes that a judge will deem your case compensable and award workers compensation benefits to you.
If you lose your case at arbitration in the state of Illinois, you still ““have a maximum of 30 days to appeal the arbitrator’s decision. You need to submit it in writing with the Workers’ Compensation Commission.
Once again, this is where your lawyer will be of most help. They’ll inform you about everything you can do to file an appeal, including what paperwork to submit and to whom, as well as what the deadline is for doing so.
Workers’ Compensation Case Studies
Workers’ compensation can be enormous help to people who’ve suffered a work-related injury due to their employer’s negligence. Here are just a few cases that prove how workers’ compensation can change someone’s life:
- After sustaining severe arm and chest injuries from a heavy-duty machine in a factory, the employee suffered chronic pain for years, followed by psychological injuries. He went to trial and won total permanent disability benefits for life, before settling the case for over $500,000.
- Another worker in an industrial factory suffered severe burns due to an explosion of a welding machine, which another employee was operating at the time. The physical injuries also caused psychological injuries. The worker settled the case for $750,000.
- One 67-year-old warehouse worker managed to receive a settlement of $150,000 after he sustained a serious shoulder injury at work that led to him having surgery and not being able to work for ten months.
If you’ve sustained a work-related injury in Chicago and would like to file a workers’ compensation claim, don’t hesitate to reach out. Vasilatos Injury Law has a team of expert attorneys who can provide you with the best legal guidance and help you get the compensation you deserve.
Contact us today to get a free consultation.