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While many Illinois workers are familiar with the concept of workers' compensation, the details about how the system operates are less well-known. Unfortunately, what an injured worker in Illinois does not know may cause that worker to experience delays or even denials in receiving benefits under the Illinois workers' compensation statutes. Here are three such facts that workers may wish to consider:

  • Not all workplace injuries and illnesses are covered under the Workers' Compensation Act. While many injuries and illnesses that develop on the job do result in the worker receiving benefits, in order for the worker to obtain benefits the injury and/or illness must occur during the “course of the worker's employment.” This means that, for example, a slip-and-fall injury at a restaurant you stopped at on the way home from work may not be compensable under the Act because your injuries were not sustained while you were on the job performing your job duties.
  • The benefits you obtain under the Act may be the only compensation you get. Workers' compensation benefits are often referred to as an “exclusive remedy” because these benefits often represent the only sort of compensation or benefits that the injured worker can receive against his or her employer. In other words, if the worker's employer's negligence caused the worker's injury, he or she may not recover workers' compensation benefits and then sue his or her employer for additional compensation. (Note, though, that a negligent third party may be sued even if the worker received compensation benefits under the Act if the benefits the worker received under the Act are not sufficient to fully compensate the worker.)
  • You don't have to live in Illinois to be eligible for benefits under the Act. Even workers who live out of state but come to Illinois for a project or job may be eligible for workers' compensation benefits if they are injured while on the job within the state.

In any one of these factual scenarios, it can be extremely beneficial to consult with an Illinois workers' compensation law firm to determine whether you and your employer are subject to the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act and, if so, what benefits may be available to you.

Contact an Experienced McHenry County Workers' Compensation Lawyer

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Crystal Lake workers' compensation attorneys, Workers' Compensation Benefits Following An Employee's DeathWorkplace accidents that result in injury or death can change an employee's life, and if he has dependents relying on his income, it can also mean drastic changes to their way of life as well. What the employee may begin to wonder is how his dependents will be looked after if he should pass away. Fortunately, as one of the employee's rights under the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act, there are certain benefits that can be passed on to the dependents after an employee dies.

If a person has already begun a claim for benefits, the administrator of the person's estate, or the dependents may substitute themselves in the person's place in order to receive any benefits the person would have received before death. All benefits that were recoverable by the decedent are recoverable by eligible dependents. Even if the injured employee passes away from a cause unrelated to the injuries suffered at work, the benefits that were due before the death would still be passed on. The law further instructs on how the benefits should be distributed between a spouse and other dependents.

If the employee dies as a result of the workplace injury before filing a claim for benefits, the dependents may also be able to recover death benefits which may cover any medical expenses, as well as funeral expenses. Death benefits are paid out monthly for a period of 25 years or for a total of $500,000, whichever is greater. The amount in monthly payments is based on a percentage of the average of the deceased employee's gross average weekly wage for the 52 weeks before his death, subject to minimum and maximum figures. Payments payable to a surviving spouse may be settled for a lump sum of two years' worth of the monthly death benefit amount if the spouse remarries and there are no children from the first marriage. However, the dependents should keep in mind that if the death was as a result of negligence by another party, the family can pursue a wrongful death claim outside the workers' compensation system.

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workers' compensation claimMany people get nervous about filing for workers' compensation because they are afraid that their employer will terminate them in retaliation. Fortunately, employees have an option in those circumstances. The Illinois Workers' Compensation Act forbids any employer from interfering with an employee's ability to file for workers' compensation or to discriminate against them as a result of filing a claim. Illinois courts have interpreted that portion of the law to give fired employees a right to bring a lawsuit for retaliatory discharge, if they can show that the firing was motivated by the filing of the workers' compensation claim.

Retaliatory Discharge

Retaliatory discharge claims are a legal tool that wrongfully-terminated employees can use to receive things like back pay and a reinstatement to their old positions. In order to prevail on a retaliatory discharge claim for workers' compensation, the employee must prove three things. First, they must show that they were an employee before the injury. Although the worker was clearly employed prior to the injury, they were not necessarily an employee, which is a special legal term. The test for whether a worker was an employee revolves around the amount of control and supervision that the employer exercised over the worker. The more control, the more likely someone is to be counted as an employee.

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workers compensation bill, Crystal Lake workers comp attorneysWorkers' compensation in Illinois may be undergoing drastic changes that make collecting it more difficult, following the election of Governor Rauner. One of the most important features of any workers' compensation system is known as the “causation standard.” In order to collect workers' compensation, an injured employee must show that the injury arose out of their employment. The causation standard is the standard the courts apply for determining whether an injury actually arose out of the employment or whether it was caused by some other factor completely separate from the person's job.

A new senate bill, SB 846, would affect the workers' compensation in a variety of ways, but one of the most important is that it would raise the causation standard. The bill would institute something known as “primary causation.” That standard would make it more difficult for people to collect workers' compensation because it would require injured workers' to prove that the primary cause of their injury was their employment.

Causation in Workers' Compensation

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construction injury, Crystal Lake workers' compensation attorney, mining injury, work travel injury, workers' compensation claimsInjuries during working hours can be devastating, especially when a person works a dangerous job like construction or mining. Rather than deal with the numerous lawsuits that would arise from these sorts of injuries between employer and employees, Illinois passed the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act.

This Act sets up a system of workers' compensation insurance that employers pay into. Then, if an employee is harmed on the job, he or she can file a claim against their employer's insurance to cover their injury. However, this raises a new question: exactly what does it mean to be injured on the job. After all, numerous employees travel for work, so an injury that happens while traveling may be covered.

Qualifying for Workers' Compensation

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