Six Things You Should Know About Workers’ Compensation in Illinois
Anyone working in Illinois needs to know the facts about workers’ compensation.
- Most employees in the state are covered. This includes employees who are injured in Illinois and employees who were hired in Illinois but injured outside of the state. A broad definition of “employee” is applied to avoid having employees misclassified as independent contractors. Interns are also covered.
- Many types of injuries are covered. Generally, all work-related injuries or illnesses that were sustained during the course of employment are covered by workers’ compensation. This includes on-the-job injuries and some injuries sustained during business trips or on a work break.
- Several types of benefits are available. An injured worker can receive benefits that cover the cost of: medical expenses, including visits to doctors and therapists and for prescription medication; temporary total disability benefits of two-thirds of the worker’s average weekly wage if the employee is unable to work because of the injury; permanent total disability, which is based on a percentage of the pre-injury wage and is often paid as a lump sum; and vocational rehabilitation benefits, such as education and training.
- Employers are required to carry insurance. Workers’ compensation insurance must be carried by employers, unless they are eligible to self-insure. Employers are not permitted to charge workers for any part of the insurance cost, and they can be fined if they fail to carry proper insurance. The fines collected are used to compensate injured employees of non-insured employers.
- You should report any on-the-job injury and see a doctor. If you are injured on the job, you should notify your supervisor or manager as soon as you can, and definitely no later than 45 days after the accident. Your employer may require you to see a doctor chosen by the employer or its insurance company, at their expense, but you should get the medical attention you need from your own doctor.
- An attorney can help. If you are injured at work and your employer disputes your claim for workers’ compensation benefits, you may want to hire an attorney. An attorney can appear at a hearing and present evidence to help prove your eligibility for benefits.