An injured worker in Chicago called me with a very generic question. She asked what laws do I need to know. I told her it was too vague because what I’d recommend for her would be based on her case facts. She doesn’t need to worry about TTD benefits for example if she’s not missing any time from work.
When the call ended I thought it would be a good idea to highlight laws and tips related to your IL work comp benefits that I think everyone should know. So in no particular order, here are some things you need to know if you were hurt on the job in Illinois:
1. Your employer or the insurance company has a right to medical records related to your injury, but not your life long medical history.
2. If they ask for you to give a recorded statement, you should refuse. It can’t help you and if they say you will only get benefits if you give one they are lying.
3. After you are hurt at work and can’t work, you are entitled to 2/3 of your average weekly wage tax free. You get paid based on calendar days missed, not actual work days missed. So if you are taken off work starting on Monday the first until Monday the 22nd, you are owed 21 days of benefits even if you were only scheduled to work 15 days during that time.
4. Under Illinois law, not only is the insurance company not allowed to talk to your doctor without your permission and any information they get in doing so can be barred from trial.
5. 100% of your medical bills are to be paid for anything related and reasonable. No co-pays, no out of pocket expenses.
6. There is no pain and suffering payments under Illinois work comp law.
7. These cases are not lawsuits. They are claims for benefits.
8. It’s illegal to fire someone for pursuing a work comp case.
9. It’s legal for the insurance company to follow you around, do surveillance, etc.
10. They can send you to a doctor of their choosing for a one time exam, but have to pay your travel expenses to and from the exam.
11. The money you receive from your work injury is tax free.
12. It doesn’t take years to get to trial despite what some lawyers say.
13. Attorney fees can not exceed 20% of the settlement (unless they make you an offer before you hire the lawyer) and in some cases it ends up being less when the settlement is in the six figures.
14. You have by law at least three years from the accident date to file a case, but for many strategic reasons you should it ASAP.
15. You have to tell your employer you were hurt at work within 45 days of it happening, but again should do it ASAP.
16. If you were hurt in Illinois you can file the case here no matter where the company is based out of.
17. Eligibility for work comp benefits begins the second you start working.
18. Your employer can’t force you to waive your rights to work comp benefits even through a severance agreement.
19. Once you settle your case you can not re-open it.
That’s 19 tips which seems like a good number for 2019. But if you have any questions about anything, call us any time at 312-346-5578 or fill out our contact form and we’ll call you.