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McHenry County workers' compensation lawyerPeople go to work to earn an income to support themselves and their families. No one should ever become injured while on the job, but it happens every day in Illinois. When it does, injured workers have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim that can help them recover their medical expenses and a portion of their lost income.

However, these claims have strict deadlines, and when those are not met, a person’s chances of obtaining compensation may be in jeopardy. Our workers’ compensation lawyers are here to help you through the process and ensure that your claim is filed properly and on time.

Deadlines for Notifying Your Employer

After being hurt on the job, you must notify your employer within 45 days of the accident that caused your injury. If you do not notify your employer within this time, you may forfeit the right to claim any compensation. When reporting the injury to your employer, you can tell them orally, but providing written notice is always best, as it can prove that you did meet this deadline. Sometimes, employers will dispute an employee’s claim, and they may use your lack of notice as a reason to deny you benefits, so it is important to have evidence of the notification.

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Crystal Lake IL workers' compensation attorneyRegardless of your profession, you deserve a reasonably safe workplace. While some jobs such as construction work involve inherent risks including working from great heights, many steps can be taken to mitigate the risk of worker injury. If you or a loved one was hurt on the job because your work environment was unsafe, make sure you educate yourself about your legal rights. You may be eligible for financial recovery through workers’ compensation and, if the injury was caused by a third party’s negligence, compensation through a personal injury claim.

Injured Workers Can Only Sue Their Employers in Very Limited Circumstances

The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act requires employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance. The act protects injured workers’ right to receive compensation for medical bills and lost wages resulting from a work injury. Workers’ compensation is “no-fault,” which means that an injured worker is entitled to compensation regardless of whose fault the injury was. The Workers’ Compensation Act also protects employers from being sued by employees except in rare cases. Employees in Illinois can only sue their employer for an injury if:

  • The employer intentionally caused the injury by assaulting the employee or otherwise inflicting deliberate harm on him or her

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What You Should Know About Seeking Compensation After a Construction Site AccidentConstruction workers make up only about 6 percent of all U.S. laborers, but they are responsible for about 17 percent of all work-related fatalities, according to federal estimates. If you work in the construction industry, this statistic may not surprise you. Construction jobs may require workers to work in extreme conditions, often using very powerful equipment. Some of the most common construction site fatalities are caused by falling from heights, electrocution, and being struck by an object. If you or a loved one have suffered a severe injury in a construction site accident, a workers’ compensation claim or a personal injury lawsuit may be the best way for you to receive full compensation.

Federal and State Laws Require a Certain Degree of Safety

Although construction work is dangerous, there are many steps that employers can take to keep workers as safe as possible. The responsibility for maintaining a reasonably safe worksite typically falls to the general contractor. The general contractor is also expected to hire workers who are capable of safely performing work tasks and to provide any training needed. Contractors should also ensure that equipment is functional and regularly maintained so that it does not present an avoidable risk to workers or bystanders.

All Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations should be followed. If a contractor fails to adequately follow safety protocols, the contractor or company overseeing the construction work may be fined for its violations. In Illinois, an OSHA violation does not allow an employee to file a personal injury lawsuit instead of a workers’ compensation claim against his or her employer. If the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission determines that the employer willfully violated the OSHA regulation, it can increase the injured employee’s workers’ compensation benefits by 25 percent.  

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How Can I Protect My Right to Compensation After Being Injured on the Job?In an average year, some three million American workers suffer a work-related injury or illness. Many are fortunate that their injuries are relatively minor and can go back to work quickly. Others, however, suffer much more serious injuries, including spine and head injuries, which cause them to miss work for long periods of time. In the most severe cases, the injuries can be catastrophic, leading to permanent disability or even death. Regardless of the severity of the injury, all injured workers need to know how to ensure their rights are protected as they seek compensation for their injuries — especially if they are seeking benefits under the Illinois workers’ compensation system.

Report Your Injury Quickly

When you suffer an injury at work, you should report the injury to your employer right away or as soon as reasonably possible. You must report your injury within 45 days or you risk losing your eligibility for work comp benefits. If the incident in question involves radiation exposure, the reporting deadline is extended to 90 days. Do not risk losing your benefits. Report your injury to your employer immediately.

Keep a Copy of Your Records

Nobody likes extra paperwork, but the documentation of the nature, extent, and treatment of your injury will be critical in getting you the benefits you deserve. Get and keep a copy of your initial injury report as well as any records that are available from your treating doctors and facilities. These records are especially important if you are seeking disability benefits or if your employer is disputing your claim in any way. By having your own copies of your records, you ensure that you and your lawyer have access to everything you need to pursue compensation.

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Is It Difficult to File for Workers’ Compensation?There is no doubt that filing a workers’ compensation claim can be beneficial if you have been injured while working. Workers’ compensation benefits cover your healthcare expenses related to your injury and give you disability pay if you are forced to miss time from work or are limited in the work you can perform. However, you may also wonder how much work is required to file a claim. It is natural for a person to feel discouraged by the prospect of filling out application forms and arguing their claim in court. Most workers’ compensation claimants find that applying for benefits is well worth the effort they put into it.

Steps Leading Up to Filing

Whenever you suffer a work-related injury, you should prepare as if you will be filing a workers’ compensation claim in the future. This includes:

  • Seeking immediate medical attention to diagnose and treat your injuries
  • Notifying your employer within 45 days of your injury
  • Keeping track of the doctors you visit and healthcare expenses you incur

Receiving medical attention and keeping a record of your expenses are tasks that you would be doing regardless of whether you filed a workers’ compensation claim. Some workers may be worried about telling their employer about their workplace injury, but your employer is not allowed to retaliate against you for filing a claim.

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