Available Workers’ Compensation Benefits
BENEFITS AVAILABLE UNDER THE ILLINOIS WORKERS’ COMPENSATION ACT:
In Illinois, we have a very favorable system to compensate an injured worker. This system is available to anyone who is hired in the state of Illinois; injured in the state of Illinois; or whose employer is located in the state of Illinois. The benefits under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act can be divided into three basic parts:
1. Temporary Total Disability Benefits
If an injured worker is taken off work by his physician, he or she is entitled to receive 66 percent or 2/3rds of his or her average weekly wage. If the injured worker is released to return to work with light-duty restrictions and the employer cannot provide work within those restrictions, the injured worker is still entitled to receive these benefits.
2. The Payment of all Reasonable and Necessary Medical Expenses
The injured worker is entitled to have 100 percent of all medical bills paid pursuant to the Workers’ Compensation Act. Unlike group health insurance, there is no deductible and, contrary to what the insurance companies would have you believe, authorization for treatment is not required under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act prior to receiving treatment. Additionally, while the Workers’ Compensation Act does require the injured worker to be evaluated by a company physician should the employer desire this, it does not require the injured worker to treat with the company physician. The injured worker is entitled under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act to treat with his or her own choice of physician. Finally, if necessary, these medical rights can be kept open for the lifetime of the injured worker.
3. Permanent Disability
Typically, most injuries incurred as a result of a work-related injury result in a finding of permanent disability. This disability can take many different forms.
A. Permanent disability can take the form of residual physical problems such as stiffness, pain and discomfort or the restricted ability to lift or move.
B. Permanent disability can take the form of permanent scarring as a result of the injury.
C. Occasionally, the injured worker will have permanent restrictions placed upon him or her which cause the injured worker to be unable to return to his or her pre-injury wage. In these cases, the insurance company has a burden to either re-educate, re-train, or find alternative employment for the injured worker. If it is unable to return the injured worker to his or her previous wage, the injured worker is entitled to receive 2/3rds of his or her wage loss paid by the insurance company.
D. Some injuries result in the permanent inability of the injured worker to return to any gainful employment. In these cases, the injured worker is entitled to receive 2/3rds of his or her wages for life.