FAQs Answered By Our Peoria Workers’ Compensation Lawyers
1. Do I have to pay an attorney to discuss my claim?
Not at The Law Offices of Goldfine & Bowles, P.C. Our Peoria workers’ compensation lawyers offer free consultations, and can come to the hospital or the home of someone unable to travel. At the end of your case, we all get paid. Our fee for workers’ compensation claims is set by law at 20 percent of the benefits obtained on your behalf.
2. Can my employer fire me for getting hurt or for hiring an attorney?
No it can’t. It is illegal for an employer to fire you for exercising your rights under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. This is especially true if you are fortunate enough to belong to a union which offers further job protection.
3. Who chooses my treating doctors for my injury?
The injured worker has the right to make two (2) separate choices of treating doctors. He or she may see additional doctors through referrals as well.
The employer does have the right to have you examined by its doctor, but it cannot force you to treat with its doctor. The employer’s examination is called an Independent Medical Examination (I.M.E.) and it must pay you, in advance, for your travel expenses, meals and lost work time.
4. Can my employer get my medical records?
When you have a work-related injury, your medical condition becomes relevant and must be shared with the other side if you expect it to pay your bills. However, not all of your records are relevant and certain records have very strict confidentiality requirements.
5. Does it matter who caused the accident?
Absolutely not. Under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, the employer is strictly liable or responsible for all injuries suffered by its employees while they are performing their job. It is far more important to report an accident has occurred than it is to determine whose fault it was. This is true even if you are a traveling employee and you cause a motor vehicle accident which injures you.
6. What if my spouse is killed at work?
You are entitled to weekly death benefits for the duration of your life. Minor children of a deceased worker may also be entitled to benefits. Funeral expenses are also provided for. Other financially dependent relatives such as parents or siblings may also be entitled to death benefits.
7. How long will it take to settle my workers’ compensation clam?
A workers’ compensation claim must be kept open while you are actively treating for your injury. Once you are at M.M.I. or maximum medical improvement, then your case is ready to move forward toward a settlement or trial award. We understand that most of our clients are anxious to resolve their claims as soon as it is safe to do so. A filed claim can remain open for several years if that is necessary to best protect the rights of the injured worker.
8. How long do I have to file a claim?
In general, you have three (3) years from the date of your injury to file a claim with the Illinois Industrial Commission. In certain cases, you may have longer than this if your treatment or off-work benefits have extended beyond the normal three-year limit. However, it is unwise to assume that you have more than three years to file a claim. It is also possible to file a claim against an employer whom you no longer work for, under the right circumstances. It is not necessary for you to still be working for your original employer to obtain a settlement or trial award from them.
9. Are my workers’ compensation benefits taxable?
No. Your temporary total disability benefits and your settlement or trial award for your permanent disability are tax-free.