If you have not signed a settlement contract and gotten it approved by the Illinois workers’ compensation commission, then your claim has not been officially closed. You might still have an open claim, even years later. This means that you might be entitled to further benefits, including medical if you still need it, and a settlement. A settlement is an amount you get for the permanent nature of your injury.

If the insurance company has told you that your claim or file is closed, double check if that doesn’t seem right to you. They obviously don’t want to pay you anything further, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t entitled to more, especially if you aren’t 100% back to good health. Your file might be “closed” but that doesn’t mean your claim is formally closed under the law.

If you haven’t filed a claim, you have three years from the date of your injury to do so. If you have received some benefits for your injury in the past, then you have two years from the last time you received benefits to file a claim. A formal claim is called an Application for Adjustment of Claim and it is filed with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission.

If you are unsure of your rights when it comes to a work injury, settlements, closing a claim, or anything else, talk to an attorney instead of relying on information from the insurance company or your employer. Illinois law is set up to help you get through a work injury, get better and get back to work. This system benefits employers, too, because it protects them from lawsuits after work injuries. The point is that you should pursue benefits if you need them. Your health and financial stability are at stake.

In Illinois, employees who are injured on the job are entitled to 100% coverage of their medical care, checks for a portion of their lost pay while they recover, and often a settlement amount at the end of their claim (depending on the type and severity of the injury). 

By Michael Helfand