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Employees in Illinois Cannot Waive Right to Workers’ CompensationIllinois law requires all employers in the state to carry workers’ compensation insurance – even if they have only one employee or part-time employees. The only businesses that can choose to waive the workers’ compensation requirement are those whose only employees are a sole proprietor, business partners or corporate officers. The state can fine an employer and its corporate officers $500 per day if they knowingly fail to have workers’ compensation insurance. Despite the state’s strict requirements, some employers lead their employees to believe that they cannot or should not file a workers’ compensation claim. As a worker, you should watch for tactics that your employer may use to discourage you from exercising your right to benefits after a workplace injury:

  1. Illegal Contracts: An employment contract is not allowed to include a section stating that you agree to not file a workers’ compensation claim in the event of an injury. Mediation with your employer is not a replacement for a workers’ compensation claim. If you notice such a provision in your employment contract, you should contact an attorney to confirm that it is illegal and bring it to the attention of your employer. Even if you have already signed the contract, your employer cannot enforce an agreement to forgo workers’ compensation.
  2. Waivers: Employees cannot waive their right to workers’ compensation, whether it is voluntary or at the employer’s suggestion. Illinois employees are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits in exchange for not filing personal injury lawsuits against their employers. If someone gives you a workers’ compensation waiver form, you should recognize that it is not a legally enforceable document.
  3. Intimidation: Employers are prohibited from retaliating or discriminating against employees who file workers’ compensation claims. Victims of retaliation can file lawsuits against their employers and recover damages. However, some employers use actual or implied threats of retaliation in order to intimidate employees. You should not let a fear of retaliation prevent you from filing a workers’ compensation claim.

Contact a Crystal Lake Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

Some employers take advantage of their employees’ lack of knowledge about workers’ compensation laws by using deceptive practices to discourage employees from filing claims. The employers know they cannot enforce a contract that prevents you from filing a claim, but they hope that you will give up without testing whether the contract is legal. A McHenry County workers’ compensation attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, will stand up to employers and insurance companies that are trying to deny your injury benefits. To schedule a free consultation, call 815-338-3838.

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Ways Your Employer May Try to Fire You After a Workers' Compensation ClaimYour employer cannot fire you in retaliation for you filing a workers’ compensation claim. Doing so would allow you to file a wrongful termination lawsuit and could also result in criminal penalties against your employer. However, your employer can legally terminate your employment after you have filed a workers’ compensation claim if there is another reason for your termination. If you believe that your employer is punishing you for your injury claim, you must document your employer’s actions as evidence of their retaliation.

Reasons for Firing

Most employers are smart enough to not tell you that they are firing you because of your workers’ compensation claim. However, your employer could be looking for an excuse to fire you that they can say was unrelated to your claim. Valid reasons to terminate your employment could include:

  • Misconduct on your part;
  • Layoffs due to a declining budget;
  • Not having a job that can accommodate your physical restrictions after you have reached maximum medical improvement; or
  • You refusing to accept a new position with your employer that accommodates your needs.

Firing you would not let your employer’s insurer off the hook for your workers’ compensation claim. You could still receive a settlement and benefits for your injury. Instead, your employer may be trying to replace you with a healthy employee who has no work restrictions.

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Temporary Workers Have Right to Workers' CompensationTemporary workers do not receive all of the benefits that regular employees enjoy but are still entitled to workers’ compensation benefits when they are injured on the job. Unfortunately, some employers will tell temporary workers that they are ineligible for workers’ compensation because of the nature of their employment. Temporary workers who believe workers’ compensation is not an option may be stuck with large medical debts or decline helpful medical treatments in order to save money. The company that employs and pays a temporary worker is responsible for providing workers’ compensation insurance.

Injury Risk

Temporary workers regularly suffer workplace injuries, despite working at a place for only a limited time. There are several reasons that temporary workers can be at greater risk of injury than other workers:

  • Temporary jobs often involve heavy and sometimes dangerous labor;
  • The employer may be using temporary workers because regular employees will not take on the risky work;
  • Temporary workers are unfamiliar with the work environment and may not receive on-site training;
  • Temporary workers may be less experienced at the job than regular workers; and
  • Temporary workers have less confidence in citing safety concerns because of the tenuous nature of their employment.

Responsible Employer

A temporary worker has the right to file for workers’ compensation and receive medical benefits and payment for lost time. The staffing agency that placed the worker is likely the party responsible for the workers’ compensation insurance. The company where a temporary employee goes to work is a third-party client of the staffing agency. In many cases, the staffing agency pays the temporary workers instead of the client, making them employees of the staffing agency.

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