Illinois has an entire set of laws on the books to help workers who are injured on the job. Here are ten reasons why you should file a claim.

1.    If your job causes an injury, Illinois law entitles you to benefits. Sometimes, they’re easy to get and other times you have to fight, but either way you should file a claim. Most workers need benefits in order to get their health back, get back to work, and maintain financial stability at the same time.
2.    You can’t sue your employer for a work injury, so this is your only option in most cases. Claims for benefits replace lawsuits. Insurance companies, hired by employers, are usually the ones paying out these benefits. They’re the ones you’ll be dealing with.
3.    Even if your claim ends up being denied, you can get a hearing to sort it out. Your attorney can request a hearing in front of an arbitrator who acts as a judge, hears both sides, and makes a decision on your case. The insurance company does not get the final say.
4.    If eligible, your medical bills will be covered 100%, with no co-pays or out of pocket expenses. This should be reason enough to file a claim.
5.    If you can’t work while you recover, Illinois law says that you are entitled to receive 2/3 of your weekly wages in the form of benefits checks. This is 2/3 of your “average weekly wage.”
6.    If you are forced to take a lesser paying job as a result of your injury, you can get 2/3 the difference, according to Illinois workers’ compensation law.
7.    It’s against the law for your employer to harass or discriminate against you because you filed a claim. And they certainly can’t fire you for it.
8.    If you’ve already started getting your benefits checks, then you still should file a formal claim. If you run into problems down the road and need a hearing, you should be able to get one faster if you already have a claim on file.
9.    If you don’t file a claim within the time limit, you lose your chance forever. Illinois law gives injured workers three years from the date of injury to file a claim. The deadline is two years from the date of last benefits if you’ve already received some benefits.
10.    You don’t have anything to lose. Even if you don’t know whether benefits are available in your situation, or even if your employer tells you that you don’t qualify, you can’t really know until you look into it on your own. You and your attorney have your best interests as a priority. Others are simply looking out for their bottom line.

Talk to an experienced Illinois workers’ compensation attorney if you have other questions or want to file a claim, or if you need help understanding your rights under the law. Most injury lawyers give free consultations. It’s confidential, too.

By Michael Helfand