Chicago Workers’ Compensation Explained
If you are an employee in Illinois, you need to know about workers’ compensation. An injury at work can wreak havoc on your health, career, and finances. According to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, all employers are required by law to have workers’ compensation insurance, regardless of number of employees. It is put in place to compensate injured employees and help them get back to work as soon as possible. So, what are the types of benefits and what injuries qualify? The worker’s compensation system can get complicated and there are a lot of things you should know as an employee. Keep reading to learn more about your rights.
What Is Covered by Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that employers are required to carry so that they can compensate employees if they are injured on the job. It’s designed the cover medical costs and lost wages. It is not a tort, so you are not actually suing your employer when you file a worker’s comp claim. Some examples of expenses covered include:
- medical care from the injury or illness
- replacement income
- costs for retraining
- compensation for any permanent injuries
- benefits to survivors of workers who are killed on the job
The type of injuries that are covered by workers’ compensation are injuries that can be linked in some way to an employment requirement or condition. This includes tasks that are part of your everyday job description or things that your employer asks you to do. This doesn’t mean the injury has to happen at your workplace. The injury can take place anywhere as long as you were doing something required for your occupation. For example, if you attend an official company dinner and are injured at the restaurant, you would be covered since it was a work-related event. Even if it was your fault or carelessness that led to injury, you would still be covered. Unlike most personal injury cases, you don’t have to prove fault in order to receive benefits.
Types of Benefits
There are several different benefit categories available to those injured on the job in Illinois. It depends mostly on the severity of your injury and the time needed to recover. We will focus on the most common forms: TPD, TTD and PPD.
Temporary Partial Disability (TPD)
This kind of benefit program is a way to compensate for some of what you would earn each week until you can return to work. The amount that you will receive is dependent on your income from the past 52 weeks prior to injury. If you work part-time or have a fluctuating income, your TPD will be calculated based on two-thirds of the difference between what you received prior to injury and what you are currently receiving. If you work a full-time, steady job, your TPD benefits are calculated as two-thirds of your average gross weekly earnings. As of July 15, 2017, the maximum benefit is $1,440.60 per week. This cap only kicks in if your annual salary is around $110,000 or more. In order to receive TPD, you must have a written note from your doctor that states that you are either unable to work at all or can work with some restrictions. You are eligible to receive TPD until your doctor states that you have reached your maximum medical improvement (MMI) level. At this point, your doctor is considering you healed or recovered as much as possible.
Temporary Total Disability (TTD)
In this case, your doctor says you are unable to work or the restrictions set are not feasible by your employer. If you are not able to return to your job for an extended period of time, then you are probably eligible to TTD. These benefits don’t start until your fourth day of being injured unless you will be unable to work for at least two weeks. TTD benefits are calculated as two-thirds of your weekly pay plus an extra 10% for your spouse and 10% for each child, if applicable.
Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) Benefits
You may be eligible to permanent partial disability benefits if your doctor finds that you have a permanent partial disability. The compensation can be in the form of: scheduled losses, unscheduled losses, disfigurement benefits, and wage differential benefits.
Illinois workers’ compensation can also include other benefits such as:
- Medical benefits
- Mileage reimbursement
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Maintenance benefit
- Survivors benefit
- Funeral expenses
Whiteside & Goldberg, Ltd.
As you can see, workers’ compensation only covers a portion of lost wages. There are other aspects of your injury and suffering that are not compensated through a workers’ comp claim. In some cases, you may be able to file a lawsuit for pain and suffering and other losses. Additionally, just because you submit a claim doesn’t mean your employer will accept it. If you’ve been injured on the job and your employer disputes your workers’ comp claim, you likely need legal help. Whiteside and Goldberg have over 50 years of experience in Chicago personal injury law. They know how to deal with tough cases in the greater Chicago area and have extensive knowledge of Illinois workers’ compensation law. In fact, one of their specialties is working with those injured on the job.
As an employee in Illinois, you are entitled to receive the best representation possible so that you can recover from your injuries without financial worry. Whiteside & Goldberg Law Group always offers a free consultation before you make the decision to proceed. You do not have to worry about paying anything upfront to work with an experienced attorney. You never make a payment until they win a settlement for you. For expert legal advice, call 312-334-6875 to speak to an attorney. Get the professional legal help that you need.
The content of this blog is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute or establish an attorney-client relationship, nor constitute legal advice. If you wish to discuss any further aspect of the material contained herein, please contact an attorney at Whiteside & Goldberg, Ltd.