GENERAL PURPOSE AND
DESIGN OF THE ILLINOIS WORKERS COMPENSATION ACT
the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act is a "no fault", wage replacement
system designed to pay the injured worker both medical benefits
and lost wages during his or her period of incapacity from work.
In many cases, an injured worker is also eligible to receive permanent
partial disability benefits after completion of his or her medical
treatment. Further, in some instances, if a person's injury prevents
him/her returning to his/her previous occupation, him/her may
be entitled to vocational retraining.
Illinois Workers' Compensation Act, the injured employee gives
up the right to sue his/her employer in court. In return, the
employee receives compensation without having to prove fault but
the employer's liability is limited to benefits specified in the
statute. Not surprisingly, these amounts are almost always significantly
less than what might be available if employees could sue in court
as there is no recovery for pain and suffering in workers' compensation
claims. There are only a few situations where an injured employee
is not covered by the Workers' Compensation Act and may sue an
employer in the civil court system.
glance, a "no fault" system sounds like a fair deal to workers
who are hurt and have been taken care of without having to go
through a costly process of assigning blame. Unfortunately, disputes
between the injured worker, his or her employer and the workers
compensation insurer often arise, which undoubtedly make an already
difficult situation more troublesome. Further, the existing a
system is complicated and hard to understand. It has evolved into
what too often becomes a bureaucratic nightmare that commonly
intimidates and hinders people with valid claims. And worst of
all, insurance companies often fight an employee's legitimate
claim every step of the way.
E. Harris Law Firm
assist you if you have been hurt on the job and ensure that you
receive all benefits to which you are entitled to under the Illinois
Workers' Compensation Act. If you were injured on the job, please
call us today at (618) 542-8232 (DuQuoin).
THE LEGAL BENEFITS
AN INJURED WORKER INVOLVED IN AN INDUSTRIAL OR WORK RELATED ACCIDENT
IS ENTITLED TO RECEIVE
Treatment - An injured employee is entitled to medical treatment,
at no cost, to cure and relieve the effects of his/her work injury.
The injured employee is not required to treat with a company doctor,
but can seek out a doctor of his or her choice. We can assist
the injured worker in finding doctors specializing in treatment,
surgery, and rehabilitation. We also refer our clients to specialists
and second opinions when necessary.
Total Disability Benefits - If a doctor finds that an injured
employee is unable to work while being treated for his/her injuries,
he or she may be entitled to temporary total disability benefits.
The employer's Workers' Compensation insurance carrier is required
to pay the injured employee up to two thirds of their salary (with
established maximums depending upon the date of injury) while
they are at home recuperating from their industrial injury. The
Kurt E. Harris Law Firm has experience in making sure our clients
get the benefits they are owed.
Partial Disability Benefits - Once an injured employee is
released from a doctor's care, he/she may be entitled to permanent
partial disability benefits. How much an injured employee will
receive is determined by the part of the body that is injured,
the extent of the injury, the average weekly wage the employee
was earning for the 52 weeks preceding the accident and any work
restrictions as determined by a medical professional. Once our
clients have been released to return to work, we work with them
and their doctor in determining the proper amount of permanent
partial disability benefits to which they are entitled.
Rehabilitation - If the doctor finds that an injured employee
is not able to return to his or her pre-injury occupation, the
injured employee may be entitled to vocational rehabilitation
at no cost to the employee. Vocational rehabilitation is a program
designed to assist an individual in returning to gainful employment
or by providing a retraining program designed to help an individual
acquire the skills necessary to return to suitable employment.
Total Disability Benefits - If an employee is injured to the
extent that he or she is unable to return to any type of gainful
employment despite an attempt at vocational rehabilitation, then
the employee is entitled to weekly benefits (two thirds of the
average weekly wage but capped by a scheduled weekly maximum)
Benefits - If you were a total or partial dependent (one who
relied upon another for financial support) of an employee who
died as a result of a work injury, you may have the right to recover
certain benefits, including burial expenses and weekly benefits.
Party Personal Injury Claim - If your injury at work was as
a result of the negligence or fault of someone other than yourself,
a co-worker or your immediate employer, you may have an additional
cause of action, or a Third Party Personal Injury claim. Examples
include an automobile accident in the course of your employment,
a construction site accident when the General Contractor or a
Subcontractor was at fault or a personal injury from a defective
or dangerous product or piece of machinery. In a Third Party Personal
Injury case, a civil cause of action can be filed against the
negligent party, and may entitle you to civil damages, including
pain and suffering, past, present and future lost wages, medical
bills, and payment for loss of companionship or society of your
Security Disability - If your injury results in Total Disability
for 12 consecutive months or more, (or is expected to), you may
have the right to receive Social Security Disability Benefits,
in addition to the benefits you are receiving from the Workers'
Unfortunately, it is
not always easy to obtain benefits. There are several circumstances
where it is particularly important that you contact an attorney
- An employer
has denied that you were injured while on the job;
- You have
been refused medical treatment;
- You have
received a denial from the insurance company;
was promised but has not materialized,
- You are
- Your employer
does not carry compensation insurance;
- A third
party has caused your accident.
POTENTIAL LEGAL PROBLEMS
YOU MAY HAVE WITH YOUR CASE
- The Workers'
Compensation Insurer has started to pay you weekly compensation
benefits and medical benefits, and you suddenly receive a notification
advising you that your benefits will be terminated. You are still
under active treatment with your doctor and have not been cleared
to return to work. What legal rights do you have?
- The Workers'
Compensation Insurer has scheduled a medical examination with
one of their doctors ("Independent Medical Exam"). Do you have
to attend this examination? The Insurance Company doctor has cleared
you to return to work, but your doctor disagrees with this medical
opinion. Are you required to follow the advice or opinion of the
Insurance Company doctor? What will happen to your entitlement
to receive benefits if you refuse to follow the advice of the
Insurance Company doctor?
- Your doctor
has cleared you to return to work with medical limitations or
restrictions ( for example, "no heavy lifting, or no repetitive
bending, stooping or kneeling"); or your doctor has released you
to return to work on a part-time light-duty basis. Are you legally
required to return to work? Is your employer legally required
to provide you with a light-duty or part-time job that is consistent
with the limitations specified by your doctor? What are your legal
rights if your employer cannot accommodate your physical limitations?
Can the Workers' Compensation Insurer terminate or reduce your
benefits if your employer claims to have no light-duty work available?
If your employer has no light-duty work available, can you find
light-duty work elsewhere and still receive a weekly compensation
benefit from the Workers' Compensation Insurer?
- Your doctor
or the Insurance Company doctor has released you to return to
light-duty work, and your employer claims to have no light-duty
work available. Because of your injury, you are unable to find
light-duty work with another employer. Despite having no ability
to obtain light-duty work, the Workers' Compensation Insurer has
terminated or reduced your weekly compensation benefits. Can the
Workers' Compensation Insurer legally terminate or reduce your
benefits? Can the Workers' Compensation Insurer force you to apply
for Unemployment Benefits? If you do receive Unemployment Benefits,
what effect does this have upon your rights to receive Workers'
- Your doctor
has requested that you undergo a certain course of medical treatment
or surgery, and the Workers' Compensation insurer refuses to pay
for the treatment. What legal rights do you have? The Workers'
Compensation Insurer claims that your medical condition and/or
need for treatment is not related to your accident at work and
refuses to pay for the treatment recommended by your doctor. What
legal rights do you have?
TIME IS IMPORTANT
the Statute of Limitations applies to personal injury cases, victims
have a limited time frame in which to file their case. This also
applies to Illinois workers compensation claims. If you have an
Illinois worker comp claim, it is subject to the Statute of Limitations
and you may need to consult an Illinois worker compensation lawyer.
It is important that you consult an attorney if you believe you
have a claim, so that you protect your right to file suit.
compensation, the attorney's fee is a contingent fee. A contingent
fee agreement is an alternative to an hourly attorney's fee agreement.
Under a contingent fee agreement, there is no attorney's fee charged,
if the injured person does not secure a recovery. In Illinois,
the amount that can be charged by your lawyer for your worker's
compensation claim is set by the State of Illinois at 20% of the
injured employee's recovery. Consult our office for further details.
The Kurt E. Harris
Law Firm will evaluate your Workers' Compensation case thoroughly,
and preserve your rights under the law. Contact us today for a
free consultation of your case at one of the following office
numbers: 1-618-542-8232 (DuQuoin).