The majority of the population depends on a healthy body just to get to and from work, and most of us rely on our health to perform our jobs correctly. When we suffer from a muscle strain, a sprain, or any other injury, our work performance takes a turn for the worst. When a person is injured simply from going about their daily duties on the job, Illinois law believes they should not be punished for it, and instead should be eligible to recover compensation. Out of this theory, the system of workers’ compensation was developed. Workers’ compensation arose from the idea that employees owe a duty to their employers to perform their jobs, and employers owe a duty to their employees to provide a safe work environment. When accidents happen, the workers’ compensation system is there to protect employees and their families.
Who is Covered?
Just about every employee who works in Illinois is covered by this system of insurance. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act provides that if a person is employed in the State of Illinois, other than by a small family-run business, or if their employment is “centralized” in Illinois, they are covered by Illinois’ system of workers’ compensation. Any injury that arises “out of and in the course of employment” is protected under the Act. This basically means that whether you slip over a piece of equipment or strain a muscle through a repetitive motion, your injury falls under the Act.
How Do I Get Coverage?
The key to receiving coverage is reporting the injury in a timely fashion. As soon as your are medically able to give notice to your employer, you need to report the accident that led to your injury. In fact, by not reporting to your boss, you run the risk of forfeiting any right to recovery at all. The Act allows all employees a 45 day window to make their initial report to their employer; however, the sooner the better. Even if you don’t know how serious your injury is, it is better to make an initial report and then revise it later. Keep in mind that any sort of retaliation by your employer is strictly prohibited by law, which means it is better that you speak up rather than wait until the injury gets worse.
Do I Need An Attorney?
There is no requirement in Illinois that you seek legal counsel before filing a claim for workers’ compensation. However, having an advocate will serve your interests for several reasons. First, the workers’ compensation system can be complex. You can be pressured into accepting partial payment or less than you deserve simply out of fear of missing too many paychecks. Second, you will most likely need to see a doctor who works with the insurance company. This may not always work in your favor. Thus, having an attorney who understands the medicine behind the treatment is in your best interest. Third, your injury may worsen. If you accept less than you deserve now, you may be sacrificing any chance of receiving compensation if the injury worsens in the future. Without understanding exactly how seriously you have been injured or how it will affect you in the future, you may be placing your physical and financial future in jeopardy.
Don’t fight the system alone. Contact Willens Law Offices for a free consultation today. We can help ensure that you recover adequate workers’ compensation benefits while you recover from your injuries.