Southern Illinois Workers’ Compensation Law

The Illinois Workers Compensation Act – 820 ILCS 305/1 – http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2430 – provides that if you are injured at your work place, you are eligible to receive workers compensation benefits as soon as an injury occurs.  Contact an attorney to discuss your rights.

What is Workers’ Compensation for Southern Illinois residents?

Workers’ compensation is a system of benefits provided by law to most employees who experience work-related injuries or occupational diseases. Generally, benefits are paid regardless of fault.   The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act provides that accidents that arise out of and in the course of employment are eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits. This generally means that the Illinois Law covers injuries that result in whole or in part from the employee’s work.

If you have a Southern Illinois work-related injury, you may be entitled to compensation for the following:

  1. a)  Medical care that is reasonably required to cure or relieve the employee of the effects of the injury;
  2. b)  Temporary total disability (TTD) benefits while the employee is off work, recovering from the injury;
  3. c)  For injuries that occur on or after February 1, 2006, temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits while the employee is recovering from the injury but working on light duty for less compensation;
  4. d)  Vocational rehabilitation/maintenance benefits are provided to an injured employee who is participating in an approved vocational rehabilitation program;
  5. e)  Permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits for an employee who sustains some permanent disability or disfigurement, but can work;
  6. f)  Permanent total disability (PTD) benefits for an employee who is rendered permanently unable to work;
  7. g)  Death benefits for surviving family members.

Call a Marion, Illinois Workers’ Compensation Attorney

A lawyer who understands Illinois workers’ compensation laws and procedures can advise you of all of your options and provide clarification to help you receive the full amount of benefits you deserve for any number of workers’ compensation injuries including:

  • Back and Neck Injury
  • Hip and Leg Injury
  • Carpel Tunnel Syndrome
  • Work-related fatality
  • Head and Brain Injury

At the Lawler Brown Law Firm, we understand how difficult it can be after sustaining a work-related injury. Our attorneys can assist you in every step of the workers’ compensation process and help you to receive the compensation that you deserve.

Call us today to discuss your work-related injury during a free consultation at 618-993-2222.

FAQ 

  1. What is workers’ compensation? 

            Workers’ compensation is a structure of benefits provided to employees by law    who have been involved in work-related injuries or who acquire health issues caused by their job.  In most cases, benefits are paid to employees regardless of  who was at fault.

  1. What is the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission? 

            The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission is a State agency that 

The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission is the State agency that governs the court process as it relates to workers’ compensation claims.  The Illinois Compensation Commission helps to resolve workers’ compensation claims that are disputed between employees and employers.

The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission must be unbiased and the staff cannot be a supporter for the employee or employer.  The staff cannot give legal advice to the employee or employer, but they can explain the procedures of the law governing workers’ compensation claims.

  1. What injuries and diseases are covered under the law? 

            Under the Workers’ Compensation Act, any accident that happens at work or in the course of employment is qualified to collect workers’ compensation benefits.

  1. Which employees are covered by the Workers’ Compensation Act? 

In general, employees that are hired, injured, or whose employment is restricted to Illinois are covered by the Workers’ Compensation Act beginning the moment the employ starts their job.

  1. What benefits are provided? 

            The Workers’ Compensation Act has the following different benefit classifications:

  1. Reasonable medical treatment that is needed by the employee to remedy the effects of the injury;
  1. While an employee is off of work recovering from an injury, they can receive Temporary Total Disability (TTD) benefits;
  1. As of February 1, 2006, any injuries sustained by an employee on or after that date can receive Temporary Partial Disability (TPD) benefits. These benefits are used while an employee is recuperating from an injury but is able to work on light duty but for less compensation;
  1. For individuals who are an injured employee partaking in a vocation rehabilitation program that is approved can receive vocational rehabilitation/maintenance benefits;
  1. For employees who endure some permanent disability or disfigurement but are still able to work, Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) benefits are available;
  1. In the instance an employee is permanently unable to work, Permanent Total Disability (PTD) benefits are offered; and
  1. Death benefits are also available for surviving family members.
  1. Who pays for workers’ compensation benefits? 

By Illinois law, the employer is responsible for the cost of workers’ compensation benefits.  Generally, employers buy workers’ compensation insurance and then insurance company will pay the benefits on the employer’s behalf.  Employers obtain the State of Illinois’s approval to self-insure, meaning the employer has the responsibility to pay its own claim.

To find out which party is responsible for paying benefits, an employee can check the employer’s workplace notice, check the Commission’s website, or contact the Commission at inscompquestions.wcc@illinois.gov or toll-free at 866/352-3033.

  1. What does the law require of employers? 

In accordance with the Workers’ Compensation Act, employers are obligated to   do the following:

  1. Purchase workers’ compensation insurance or obtain permission to self-insure from the Commission;
  1. Post a notice in the workplace. Employers can obtain this notice at http://www.jwcc.il.gov/forms.htm; and
  1. Keep records of work-related injuries and report to the Commission those accidents involving more than three lost workdays.

Employers are prohibited from doing the following:

  1. Charging the employee for any part of the workers’ compensation insurance premium or benefits; and
  1. Harass, discharge, refuse to rehire, or in any way discriminate against an employee for exercising his or her rights under the Workers’ Compensation Act.
  1. What should an employee do if his or her employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance? 

            The employee should give the employer’s name and address, and the date of injury, to the Commission’s Insurance Compliance Division.  The Division can be reached at inscompquestions.wcc@illinois.gov or at 312-814-6611, toll-free 866/352-3033.

  1. Is an employer subject to any penalties if they do not purchase workers’ compensation insurance? 

Yes, an employer is subject to penalties by not purchasing workers’ compensation insurance if he or she is negligent, meaning they failed to take the proper care in providing workers’ compensation insurance coverage.  An employer’s failure to provide workers’ compensation insurance coverage is a Class A misdemeanor for each day without coverage.  The maximum is 12 months imprisonment and a $2,500.00 fine.

If an employer knowingly fails to provide workers’ compensation insurance coverage, they are punishable by a Class 4 felony for each day without coverage.  The maximum terms of imprisonment is 1-3 years and a $25,000.00 fine.

Besides criminal punishment, an uninsured employer can also receive a civil penalty of $500.00 for every day it lacked insurance.  The minimum fine is $10,000.00.

Employers without workers’ compensation insurance may also be subject to a citation issued by the Insurance Compliance Division.  The citation fine may range from $500.00 to $2,500.00.

If an employer is uninsured, it loses the protections provided by the Workers’  Compensation Act for the time frame of noncompliance, meaning, an employee     injured during the period of noncompliance can choose to file a civil lawsuit.

Last, in the Commission discovers an employer knowingly failed to provide insurance coverage, a stop-work order can be issued and the company may be shut down until insurance is obtained.

  1. Does the Workers’ Compensation Act address workers’ compensation fraud?

Yes, the Workers’ Compensation Act addresses workers’ compensation fraud which can affect employees, employers, and healthcare providers.  Under the Act, employers can not intentionally file a fraudulent workers’ compensation claim.  They also cannot make any fraudulent statements to get workers’ compensation benefits or make false statements to deny the benefits. Employers also cannot present bills or statements for payment of medical services that weren’t provided.

  1. What are the penalties for workers’ compensation fraud?

The penalties for workers’ compensation fraud increase with the value of the property obtained or attempted to be obtained.  The minimum charge is a Class A misdemeanor for property valued at $300.00 or less and the individual may receive 12 months imprisonment and a $2,500.00 fine.  The maximum charge is a Class 1 felony for property valued at more than $100,000.00 and the individual may receive a maximum of 4-15 years imprisonment and a $25,000.00 fine.  Restitution may also be required plus attorneys fees and costs.

  1. What should I do if I suspect workers’ compensation fraud?

If you wish to report a possibly fraudulent situation, contact the Workers’   Compensation Fraud Unit, Department of Insurance      (DOI.WorkCompaFraud@illinois.gov; toll-free 877/923-8648).

Anyone who intentionally makes a false report of fraud is subject to a Class A misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of 12 months imprisonment and a $2,500.00 fine.

  1. Are workers’ compensation benefits taxable income?

            No, workers’ compensation benefits are not taxable under state or federal law      and need not be reported as income on tax returns.

Steps to Take if you are Injured at Work

  1. Who should an employee notify if injured at work?

            If injured at work, an employee should inform the employer.

  1. Are there any specific requirements for a notice of an accident to an employer?

            According to the Act, The notice of the accident should include the place of the  accident and  approximate date and should be given orally or in writing.

  1. What are the time limits for notifying the employer of a workplace accident?

The employee should notify the employer as soon as possible but it should be no later than 45 days after the accident occurred. Delays in the notice being given to the employer may delay the payment of benefits.

If an injury results from radiological exposure, the employee must notify the employer 90 days after the employee knows or suspects that he or she has received an excessive dose of radiation.

For occupational diseases, the employee must notify the employer as soon as practicable after he or she becomes aware of the condition.

  1. What should the employer do after receiving notice of accident?

            The employer should promptly take the following steps:

  1. Provide necessary medical services;
  1. Inform the insurance carrier or workers’ compensation administrator, even if the employer disputes the employee’s claim;
  1. If the employee cannot work for more than three days because of the injury, the employer must do one of the following:
  1. Begin payments of TTD;
  2. Give the employee a written explanation of the additional information the employer needs before it will begin payments; or
  • Give the employee a written explanation of why benefits are begin denied.
  1. What records about workplace injuries must the employer maintain?

The employer should keep detailed records of any work-related deaths, injuries   or illnesses.  This does not include minor injuries requiring only first aid and not  involving further medical treatment, loss of consciousness, restriction of work or motion, or transfer to another job.

  1. Are employers required to submit any reports to the Commission?

            Yes, employers must report accidents to the Commission on the form, “Employer’s First Report of Injury” which is known as the Form 45.  The Form 45  is available on the Commission’s website, http://www.iwcc.il.gov/forms.htm.

Written reports of all job-related deaths must be made to the Commission within  two working days.  Written reports of job-related injuries or illnesses resulting in the loss of more than three scheduled workdays must be made within one month.  Employers are not required to submit a Form 45 for injuries that do not result in three or less days of lost work.

  1. How do employers submit accident reports?

            Accident reports should be submitted electronically.  For information on how to    submit accident reports electronically, please visit the Commission’s website at http://www.iwcc.il.gov/forms.htm.

  1. Are employers required to post any notices in the workplace?

            Yes, employers are required to post a notice developed by the Commission at each respective place of employment.  The Commission maintains a copy of this notice on its website at http://www.iwcc.il.gov/forms.htm.

  1. What are an employee’s options if the employer refuses to pay for workers’ compensation benefits?

If the employer refuses to pay for workers’ compensation benefits, the employee or employees attorney should first contact the employer directly to find out why benefits aren’t being paid.

If the employer still does not pay any benefits, the employee’s other option is to   file a claim at the Commission.  Please note than accident report does not trigger any action by the Commission.

The Commission becomes involved only if the employee files a claim and follows the procedures to request a hearing.

  1. Can an employee be fired for reporting an accident or filing a claim?

It is illegal for an employer to harass, discharge, refuse to rehire, or discriminate   in any way against an employee for exercising his or her rights under the law.  Such conduct by the employer may give rise to a right to file a separate suit for damages in the circuit court.

An employee with a pending workers’ compensation claim may still be disciplined or fired for other valid reasons.

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