Nobody wants to lose their job. Nobody wants to get hurt on the job either. Almost every person I talk to, even if they don’t love their job, wants to work and live their life.
A big concern of some of my callers who get hurt while working in Illinois is if they take time off work per the doctors orders, will there job be waiting for them when they get back?
As Covid has shown, nothing is certain. That said, under the law, it is illegal to let someone go if they get while working in Illinois. There have been cases where wrongly fired workers got in the seven figures for being illegally terminated. That’s not to say it doesn’t happen.
The reason most people don’t lose their job, aside from the potential illegal nature of it, is TTD benefits. TTD or temporary total disability is compensation you receive while you are injured and off work with restrictions. In many cases, you will be completely off work and then released back to work with some restrictions such as no lifting over 20 pounds.
Under Illinois law, if an employer can’t or won’t accommodate your restrictions, you continue to get TTD benefits until you have a full duty release with no restrictions. That can cost the employer and the insurance company thousands of dollars so they are motivated to get you back to work. In fact I’d argue that in most cases your job becomes more secure once you file a work comp case because they get nervous that your attorney will assert your rights on your behalf.
If they don’t bring you back, your settlement value also greatly increases which is more motivation for them to take you back when they can. Cases that would be worth $50,000.00 could suddenly be worth $300,000.00. That’s a huge incentive for them to find a job for you.
Every Illinois case is of course different, but generally speaking there are a lot of protections for injured workers. The safest thing you can do, aside from focusing on your health, is to document anything said to you. If your boss says, “If you file for work comp you are never coming back here” then write down what they said, where you were, who else heard it, when it was, etc. I’d likely advise my clients to confirm what they said to them in an email to see if they are dumb enough to email back and confirm it.
Again though, the goal isn’t to sue. The goal is to get healthy and get back to work. We can support that and help make it happen. And the good news is that generally speaking your employer does have to take you back and most often they do.