Each workers’ compensation case is unique, but they cycle through stages that are common among them.
In the beginning, there is a work related injury. This can be a single accident, or a repetitive event that develops over time. Either way, the injury is one that is connected with performing job duties.
Now the process gets going. Before any rights are lost, notice and time limitations need to be considered. Your employer should be notified immediately, but in no event later than 45 days from the injury date, or when you should know that you’ve been injured on the job.
You also should get medical treatment right away, and start on the road to recovery. Having good medical records can also make all the difference in being able to prove aspects of your case later if needed. Your employer is responsible for paying for all of your reasonable medical treatments for this work injury, so cost shouldn’t be a barrier to getting treatment.
Likewise, seeing a lawyer for advice at this early stage can be very helpful, and won’t cost you out of your pocket. Though hiring a lawyer is not absolutely necessary, it can make a big difference in protecting your rights and benefits, and getting you all of that you deserve. And workers’ compensation lawyers get paid only if they recover benefits for their clients. So your attorney won’t get paid unless you do.
The next phase of your case involves ongoing medical treatment and evaluation. During this time, you may not be able to perform your usual job duties. If your employer isn’t able to find you other duties that follow your doctor’s restrictions, you are entitled to temporary total disability benefits for your missed wages.
You will also likely be asked by the insurance company to go for an independent medical exam to a physician they choose. The insurer will want to verify the diagnosis and cause of your injury.
Hopefully all is going well, and you are receiving the medical or wage benefits you are owed. But if not, then it’s time for your lawyer to file a petition for arbitration. An arbitrator can resolve the differences between what you should be paid and what you are being paid.
At some point in your medical treatment, your doctors will decide that you have recovered as much as you can recover from your injury. The doctor will then release you from medical care, because you no longer need treatment. Now that you know what the course of your recovery is, your lawyers can negotiate a settlement that is appropriate. Taking into account your medical profile and all that was necessary for your recovery, your lawyer will work for you to get you the compensation that you are entitled to.
Lastly, if either party to an arbitration believes that the result was not appropriate, appeals can be pursued.
We are workers' compensation attorneys that help people with Illinois work injuries anywhere in IL via our statewide network of attorneys. Contact us and we will answer your questions or find the right lawyer for your situation.