Every once in a while, we post a re-cap of the benefits you’re entitled to if you’re injured on the job in Illinois. The laws changed recently, so here is an updated overview:
Medical: Your medical bills should be covered 100% for an injury that arose out of and in the course of your employment. So anything that happens while working or doing something related to working should be covered. Illinois law changed recently and now allows employers to set up preferred provider networks (PPOs). This limits your choice of doctors more than before. Disputes often arise over medical care. It has to be relevant and necessary, and the insurance company might argue that you are asking for something (therapy, surgery) that is not necessary. If you can’t negotiate a solution, you can request a hearing.
Lost wages: If you are unable to work because of your injury, you are entitled to 2/3 of your average weekly wage; this is called TTD (temporary total disability). If you are able to do some work, but it pays less, you get 2/3 of the difference in wages; this is called wage differential. A worker can only receive wage differential benefits for five years or until they turn 67, whichever is later.
Permanent disability: If your injury is permanent, which you won’t know right away (or at least it won’t be agreed upon right away), you should get a settlement. Usually this is a lump sum paid to you by the insurance company. In exchange, they usually have you waive future medical benefits. This means that if your injury acts up years later, you can’t go back to them to pay for treatment. It’s all negotiable, and in some cases medical benefits are left open. There also are benefits available for scarring caused by an injury or illness.
There are other ancillary benefits, such as vocational rehabilitation, which helps you train and find another job if your injury prevents you from returning to your previous job or career. Note that in a work injury case, pain and suffering is not available, as it is in other types of injury cases. In cases where death results, benefits are available for the surviving spouse or minor children.
If someone from the insurance company tells you that you are not eligible for benefits or that your medical treatment is not necessary, don’t assume they are right. Their job is to save the insurance company money, not give it to you. In an ideal situation, your attorney should be the one talking with the insurance company. Insurance companies are known for taking advantage of unrepresented claimants.
We are workers’ compensation attorneys who 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.