If you have been hurt or injured at work, then you likely have questions concerning what you should do and what type of representation you should obtain in order to ensure that you get the maximum amount of compensation you deserve.
Workers’ compensation a type of insurance employers in Illinois are required to purchase or provide in order to compensate their employees for injuries or illnesses sustained on the job. In Illinois, almost all workers are covered by workers’ compensation laws, with the exception of certain types of employees such as workers who only receive compensation based on commission and household employees. Workplace injuries may arise in a variety of ways from one specific event, such as a fall or explosion, or may be the result of job-related stresses over an extended period of time, as is in cases with hearing loss or carpal tunnel syndrome. Workplace illnesses, such as asbestosis or black lung, are typically caused by exposure to harmful substances over a period of weeks, months, years, or more. However, regardless of how you were injured it is important you obtain an attorney who is experienced and qualified in worker’s compensation in order to obtain the benefits you deserve. The Tetzlaff, Cervantez & Associates Law Firm has the knowledge, experience, and skill required in order to fight for the maximum benefits compensation you deserve for your work-related injury. Aggressive representation, meticulous preparation, and exceptional communication with our clients, are the foundations of our practice at the Tetzlaff, Cervantez & Associates Law Firm.
Common Types of Workers’ Compensation services
The types of situations vary widely depending on the individual case. Here is a run down of some common types of our Workers’ Compensation services:
- Vocational Rehab
- Temporary Total/Partial Disability
- Medical Care
- Permanent Total/Partial Disability
- Death Benefits for Surviving Family Members
Commonly Asked Questions
What should I do if I get hurt at work?
If you are injured at work, or your doctor diagnoses you with a work-related injury, you should immediately notify your employer and report the injury. Under Illinois law, you are required to report your injury or illness within 45 days, otherwise you may lose your right to file a workers’ compensation claim altogether. Your employer then must immediately report your claim to its workers’ compensation insurance company. In Illinois, worker’s compensation matters and disputes are handled by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, a state agency established to enforce workplace injury laws. The process of filing and disputing an Illinois workers’ compensation can seem like a maze and it is not easy to navigate the administrative process alone. Therefore, you should contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney if you believe your employer has fraudulently denied benefits owed to you.
What do I have to prove to be successful in my workers’ compensation claim?
In order to prove a workers’ compensation claim in Illinois, an attorney must prove all of the following:
- Your employer was subject to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation or Occupational Diseases Act when the accident occurred.
- An employment relationship existed between you and your employer on the date of your injury.
- You were injured or exposed to an occupational disease while performing duties in the course of employment.
- Your injury or illness was caused by the accident or exposure.
- You notified your employer within the statutorily required time period.
Who will pay for my medical treatment?
Your employer is responsible for paying for medical treatment for work-related injuries. If you are injured at work in the course of your employment, you are entitled to receive all necessary medical care reasonably required for you to recover from your injury or to relieve you from the effects of your injury. If you have been injured at work, you should receive ongoing medical care until released from care by a doctor.
Can I select my own Doctor?
Yes. In Illinois, injured workers do have the right to choose their treating doctor. However, there is a limit on the number of different doctors you can see for treatment without a referral from another doctor. You should make sure to discuss your medical treatment with your attorney so you understand the requirements concerning doctors regarding a workers’ compensation claim.
Will I be paid for the time I am required to miss work?
Yes. If a doctor advises you that you should not return to as the result of a work-related injury, or if the doctor gives you certain job restrictions which the employer cannot accommodate, you may be able to recover compensation for your lost wages. This benefit is commonly referred to as temporary total disability, or TTD. The amount you receive in temporary total disability benefits (TTD) will be two-thirds of your average weekly wage, subject to a maximum amount set by the State of Illinois.
What is Maximum Medical Improvement?
Maximum medical improvement or MMI occurs when you have been released from care by a doctor, or your medical treatment has reached the level where no further improvement is expected. In most instances, once you have reached maximum medical improvement your medical care will be terminated by the employer.
When am I entitled to settlement for my injuries?
If you have a permanent disability as a result of a work injury, you should be entitled to an amount of money for your permanent partial disability, or PPD. In most instances, this money will be paid to you in a lump sum. However, in certain situations, the compensation may be paid to you over a period of time. The amount of money you will receive depends on various factors such as the part of the body injured, the percentage of disability to the part of your body that was injured; and the permanent partial disability rate. The current Illinois PPD rate is sixty percent of your average weekly wage, subject to the maximum set by the State of Illinois.
What if cannot return to work because of my injury?
If you suffer a serious injury which prevents you from returning to work, but you are still capable of working another job, you may be entitled to vocational rehabilitation to assist you with finding a new job. Vocational rehabilitation includes job re-training or education at an accredited program in order to help you find another job. Your employer must pay for vocational rehabilitation. While in vocational rehabilitation, you should also be entitled to receive maintenance benefits. If you cannot return to your old job but find a new job that pays less than your pre-injury job, you may be entitled to a wage differential. A wage differential entitles you to receive a weekly amount equal to two-thirds of the difference between the amount you earn in a new job and the amount you would be earning if you still had your pre-injury job, subject to a maximum limit set by the State of Illinois. However, if your work injury renders you completely disabled and permanently unable to do any kind of work. You may be entitled to permanent total disability benefits. You may also then be entitled to a weekly benefit equal to two-thirds of your pre-injury average weekly wage, subject to a maximum limit set by the State of Illinois.
Can my employer fire me for filing a workers’ compensation claim?
No. Illinois law prohibits an employer from firing a worker as a result of the employee filing a workers’ compensation claim. If you are terminated or otherwise retaliated against after being injured on the job you may have the right to file a separate lawsuit in court against your employer. Your employer cannot retaliate in any way for making a workers’ compensation claim and any employer who does so can be liable for punitive damages as a result.