In the last two weeks I’ve said, “We’ve never seen anything like this before,” about 20 times. Unemployment filings in Illinois are unfortunately at record highs, and many companies are unofficially out of business. We’ve seen it the most with restaurants, but there are plenty of other businesses that have had to close their doors.
This is a work comp blog for Illinois. So the question I’ve been getting a lot is, “What happens to my workers comp case now that my company has shut its doors?”
The answer for just about everyone is nothing. Nothing happens, at least not anything bad. If a restaurant or store goes under, that doesn’t change the fact that they paid for insurance that was in place when you got hurt. That insurance still has to pay 100% of your medical bills, all of your time off work and for any settlement that you get when you are done treating and as good as you are going to get physically.
If you were working at your job with restrictions such as no lifting over 20 pounds and then suddenly you are out of a job, you should start getting TTD benefits until you are released by your doctor with no restrictions.
The key point to remember here is that your employer shut down, but not their insurance company. If an insurance company files for bankruptcy – and realistically, insurance companies are going to have huge profits from all of this most likely – that would affect your case. But your boss having to shut the doors does not harm your work comp case.
Beyond all of this, if you were a high wage earner and now have permanent restrictions, if you have no job to go back to you are entitled to vocational rehabilitation and potentially a wage different settlement or award of permanent disability. It’s certainly going to be hard to find a job if you don’t have one. The Illinois work comp system doesn’t punish you for this. In fact it protects you.
The only exception to all of this is if your company is self insured and goes under. That hasn’t happened yet, but if United Airlines or Amazon or some other multi billion dollar corporation were to go under, your work comp benefits would be delayed. Most people do not have to worry about this, but in essence it would not just mean that the employer went out of business, but the insurance company did too because they handle their work comp claims in house instead of paying for insurance. Hopefully we never get to that point.
Bottom line is that we have enough to stress about right now and I don’t want you to stress about your work comp benefits because your job is now gone. If we can help in any way or you just have some questions, please call us for free at any time to speak with a lawyer.