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How much do you know about Illinois workers' compensation?

Workers' compensation insurance laws are governed by each state. In Illinois, all employers who have employees are required to carry workers' compensation insurance. If you are injured while on the job, this insurance coverage should take the place of any other health care insurance coverage you might have.

What type of injuries are covered?

Workers compensation insurance covers numerous work-related injuries:

  • Accidental injuries
  • Stress-related injuries to a body part due to repetitive use
  • Stroke or heart attack caused by work
  • Pre-existing conditions that have worsened due to work

Injuries that occur due to company recreational events, such as softball games or picnics, are not covered.

How soon does an injury have to be reported?

You should report a work injury to your employer as soon as possible. In standard cases, you have up to three years to report an injury. The longer you wait, the harder it is to prove the injury occurred at work, and the longer you wait for benefits.

There are exceptions to the three-year period for illnesses, such as asbestos or radioactive exposure, that may take years or even decades to appear, or for stress-related injuries that worsen over time. You should report these injuries as soon as you are aware of them.

How do I file a claim?

Your employer should file the claim for you. In Illinois, you do not have to see specific health care providers as you do in some other states; however, your employer may request that you be examined by a company doctor. You also do not have to seek approval before treatment.

Does workers' compensation cover other damages besides just medical expenses?

If your doctor excuses you from working for a certain period of time, workers' compensation should pay two-thirds of your normal salary. If you are released to do a lighter duty of work than your job allows, and the company cannot accommodate that, the disability pay should continue. In the case you are permanently disabled, you may receive the disability wages for life.

Insurance companies should cover 100 percent of your medical costs for as long as you need treatment for your injury, or until a settlement is agreed upon. Once your injury has improved to its maximum expectancy, a possible settlement may be negotiated between you and the insurance company. Negotiating a settlement is not advisable without the assistance of an experienced workers' compensation attorney.

Source: Employers.com, "Workers’ compensation claim reporting questions," accessed Jan. 16, 2018

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