Illinois Workers' Compensation Law

What Is Illinois Worker's Compensation Law?

Attorney Howard  Ankin
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Attorney Howard Ankin

Ankin Law
Chicago, Illinois 60654
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Howard Ankin is a Personal Injury lawyer who prides himself in representing his clients as their friend and attorney, providing quality referrals for legal matters outside of his practice areas. His investment in the Ankin Law is evidenced every day as families throughout the Chicago area and Illinois return to the firm for legal guidance at all stages of their lives.
Workers' compensation is a state-mandated insurance program that provides benefits to employees who are injured in the course of employment. Each state has its own laws and regulations regarding workers' compensation. Like most states, in Illinois, an employee with a work-related illness or injury is entitled to workers' compensation benefits regardless of who is at fault for the illness or injury. Unlike an employee's salary and wages, workers' compensation benefits are not taxable income to the employee.

The Illinois Workers' Compensation Act generally covers all injuries that are caused - in whole or in part - by the employee's work, including pre-existing conditions that are exacerbated by the employee's job and work-related injuries that are sustained outside of the workplace. Certain injuries are not covered by the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act, however, including:

  • Self-inflicted injuries (including those caused by a person who starts a fight)
  • Injuries suffered while a worker was committing a serious crime
  • Injuries suffered while an employee was not on the job, and
  • Injuries suffered when an employee's conduct violated company policy.

In Illinois, employers are required to carry workers' compensation insurance for their employees, which is required to provide the following benefits, depending on type and severity of the injury, to workers who are injured on the job:

  • Medical and rehabilitative expenses;
  • Temporary total disability benefits equal to two-thirds of the employee's average gross weekly wage if the employee is unable to work while recovering;
  • Temporary partial permanent disability benefits equal to two-thirds of the difference between the average amount the worker would be able to earn in his or her pre-injury job and the net amount he or she earns in a light-duty job while recovering;
  • Permanent total disability benefits if there is a loss of use of a part of the body; and
  • Job retraining.

In addition to providing workers' compensation benefits, Illinois employers are also obligated to:

  • Post a notice in each workplace explaining workers' compensation rights and providing the name, policy number, and contact information of the employer's insurance carrier.
  • Maintain records of work-related injuries and report injuries involving more than 3 lost work days to the IWCC.
  • Refrain from harassing, discharging, refusing to rehire or in any way discriminating against an employee who exercises his or her rights under the law.
  • Refrain from charging employees for any part of the workers' compensation insurance premiums or benefits.

If an employee suffers a work-related injury or illness, he or she should promptly notify the employer via a supervisor or member of the management team. Generally, notice must be given within 45 days of the accident. In order to properly document the workplace accident, it is recommended that an injured employee notify the employer in writing of the date and place of the accident, along with a brief description of the accident and resulting injury, and the employee's contact information.

If the employer's insurer fails to provide workers' compensation benefits following an accident, the injured employee may wish to file a claim for workers' compensation benefits with the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission. There are no fees to file a claim, but the employee - not the employer - is required to prove that he or she is entitled to workers' compensation benefits by demonstrating that on the date of the accident, the injured worker was an employee of the employer, that the worker sustained injuries or illness as during the course of employment, the medical condition was caused or aggravated by accident, and that the employer received proper notice of the accident. If there is a dispute between the injured employee and the employer, an arbitrator with the IWCC will conduct a trial and issue a decision within 60 days.

The legal procedures and issues involved with pursuing an Illinois workers' compensation claim can be complicated, and other legal implications may be involved, as well. Accordingly, it is recommended that injured workers consult with an experienced Illinois workers' compensation lawyer following a work-related accident, injury, or illness.

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