Factory worker with hurt shoulder at work

Workers' Comp FAQ 

Stiberth, Scarlati & Boudreau, LLC  July 3, 2024

Do you want to file for workers' comp but find the process confusing? Don't worry. Our experienced attorneys are here to answer some frequently asked questions (FAQs) and help you seek the compensation you deserve. 

If you need immediate legal help, contact Stiberth, Scarlati & Boudreau, LLC in Chicago, Illinois. We work with injured workers throughout Cook County and the Collar counties. 

What Is Workers’ Compensation?

Workers' compensation, often called workers' comp, is a type of insurance providing wage replacement and medical benefits to employees injured during employment. Unlike regular health insurance, workers' comp is specifically designed to cover work-related injuries and illnesses that occur in a workplace environment.  

The scope of workers' comp can include physical injuries, repetitive stress injuries, and even mental health issues arising from the work environment.  

Workers' comp incentivizes businesses to take care of their employees. It covers medical bills and lost wages throughout your recovery process. It also supports families of workers who are injured or killed on the job.  

Workers’ comp eliminates the need for litigation, offering a no-fault system where employees can receive benefits without having to prove the employer's negligence. This system not only protects workers but also helps employers by limiting liability and reducing potential legal costs. 

Why Is Workers’ Comp Important?

Workers' compensation serves as a safety net that protects both the employee and the employer. It provides financial support to employees injured on the job. It helps employers avoid lengthy and costly lawsuits.  

Workers' compensation promotes a safer workplace overall. Employers are incentivized to implement more rigorous safety protocols and training programs, knowing that they are also responsible for covering the costs associated with workplace injuries. This proactive approach reduces the likelihood of accidents and creates a healthier work environment.  

Workers' comp also boosts employee morale and loyalty. When employees feel protected and valued, they are more likely to be productive and engaged in their roles. Apart from immediate financial assistance, workers' comp ensures that employees are taken care of in the long run, making it an important part of today's workplace. 

Who Is Eligible for Workers’ Comp?

Almost every employee, including full-time, part-time, and seasonal workers, is covered by workers' comp. Temporary workers and interns may also qualify for workers' comp benefits depending on the circumstances of their employment and the nature of their duties. However, certain types of workers, like independent contractors or some agricultural workers, are exceptions to this rule.  

To be eligible, your injury must happen while performing your job duties. However, gross negligence or intentional harm by the employee may disqualify them from receiving benefits. 

What Benefits Are Included in Workers’ Comp?

Some of the common workers’ comp benefits include:

  • Medical care: Covers all treatments related to your injury. 

  • Wage replacement: Compensates for lost wages during recovery. Typically, it is two-thirds of your average weekly wage. 

  • Disability benefits: These apply if your injury results in temporary or permanent disability. The severity of your disability will determine the amount and length of these benefits. 

  • Vocational rehabilitation: Offers training and education to help you return to the workforce, possibly in a different capacity, if your injury prevents you from continuing in your current role. 

  • Death benefits: These provide financial compensation to the family members or dependents of a worker who dies due to a work-related injury or illness. This typically includes funeral expenses and ongoing support for surviving dependents. 

  • Ongoing medical care: Covers long-term medical treatments, therapies, and medications for chronic injuries or illnesses resulting from work conditions. 

  • Mileage reimbursement: This compensates for travel expenses incurred while commuting to and from medical appointments related to your work injury. 

  • Settlement payments: Lump-sum settlements that may be offered to cover various aspects of your injury, considering long-term costs and impacts. This can sometimes resolve future claims and provide immediate financial resolution. 

How Do You File a Workers’ Comp Claim?

  1. Report your injury to your employer immediately. They will provide you with a claim form to complete.  

  1. Notify your employer. You have up to three years from the date of injury to file a claim. It's best to act quickly to avoid any complications.  

  1. Seek medical attention. Follow all medical advice and attend all appointments. This will help your recovery and strengthen your claim.  

  1. Submit the completed claim form to your employer. They will forward it to their workers' comp insurance provider.  

  1. Keep detailed records of your injury. This includes medical reports, communication with your employer, and any expenses incurred. This documentation is important in case of disputes during the claims process. 

  1. Follow up regularly with your employer and the insurance company to monitor the status of your claim. This can help you identify and resolve any issues promptly, ensuring a smoother claims process. 

What Should You Do if Your Claim is Denied?

If your claim is denied, you have the right to appeal the decision. The first step is to contact your employer’s insurance provider for an explanation. If the denial stands, you can file a claim with the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission (IWCC).  

Which Workers’ Comp Laws in Illinois Affect Your Claim?

Illinois follows a "no-fault" system. This means you don't need to prove your employer was at fault for your injury to receive benefits.  

In addition, Illinois mandates that employers carry workers' compensation insurance regardless of the number of employees. This ensures that all workers have access to workers' comp benefits should the need arise.  

Illinois also has strict anti-retaliation laws to protect workers who file for workers' compensation. These laws prohibit employers from punishing or firing employees solely because they have filed a workers' compensation claim. 

Illinois workers' comp laws require that disputes between employees and employers be handled through the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission (IWCC), which provides a structured process for resolving conflicts. This legal framework makes it easier for injured workers to receive compensation while maintaining a fair resolution process for both parties involved.  

Employers in Illinois are also obligated to post important workers' compensation information in a conspicuous place at their workplace, ensuring that all employees are aware of their rights and the steps to take if they are injured on the job. 

Address Your Questions With a Lawyer

At Stiberth, Scarlati & Boudreau, LLC, our experienced attorneys have over ten decades of combined experience filing claims against insurance companies.

We listen to your story and seek to understand your situation. We craft strategies suited to your unique goals and put you in a position to pursue the benefits you deserve. We work closely with clients, businesses, doctors, and other parties involved in your case, all with the singular purpose of advocating effectively for your interests. 

If you have questions or need assistance with your claim, call Stiberth, Scarlati & Boudreau, LLC.