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Your Workers' Compensation Rights: What Most Employees Don't Know

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Illinois Requires Workers’ Compensation

Under Illinois state law, carrying workers' compensation coverage is required for the majority of employees. However, individual employees and sole proprietors may choose to exempt themselves for one reason or another. Considering this, it is crucial that each person entering the workforce in Illinois be aware of their rights as employees.

What You Should Know

Regardless if you work in the public or private sector, you have a right to file a workers' compensation claim for any injury that you sustain on the job or any occupational illnesses. While these can vary depending on your job functions, most employees in Illinois work for industries that may be considered "high-risk" or often come with a greater chance of getting injured on the job. These are the jobs that generally come with the most workers' compensation claims:

  • Manufacturing
  • Construction
  • Transportation
  • Education and Healthcare

These industries alone make up nearly 50% of the civilian labor force in the state of Illinois.

Your Right to Compensation

Since workers' compensation is the law, this means you have a right to receive compensation for the medical bills and lost wages resulting from a workplace accident. Additionally, under the Illinois Workers' Compensation Diseases Act, a worker is protected should they have a disease deemed to have been arisen from or aggravated by their employment. This law also covers retroactive diseases for miners.

Under these laws, the workers' compensation benefits received may include:

  • Medical costs
  • Death benefits paid to the family of the deceased
  • Temporary disability
  • Permanent disability

It’s also important to note that lost wages can also be recovered following a workplace accident.

Disability Benefits

Unfortunately, some workplace injuries and illnesses can have more significant short or long-term effects that force an employee to be unable to work in their regular capacity. If this applies in your situation, you could qualify to receive temporary or permanent partial or total disability benefits. It can vary as such:

  • Temporary benefits may amount to two-thirds of your weekly pay up to a certain maximum amount that can change biannually. However, if you can work part-time, the benefits received would be two-thirds of the difference between your full and part-time pay.
  • Permanent partial disability is based on losing the use of a specific part of your body that would hinder your ability to perform your old job. There can be four types of benefits received in this instance, which are viewable here.
  • Permanent total disability benefits are obtained once a doctor has deemed your illness or injury too severe to continue working. In this instance, you will receive the benefits for life at the same rate as the temporary disability benefits.

If Your Employer Doesn’t Carry Workers’ Comp

Employees have a right to feel protected by their employer, so if yours fails to provide workers' compensation, you can call or email the state Insurance Compliance Division. They will look into the issue and contact the employer to provide proof of insurance (without mentioning who reported).

Illinois takes this issue very seriously and fines non-compliant employers. This can be a daily fine of up to $500, with a minimum total fine of $10,000. Corporate officers may also face legal penalties for non-compliance with obtaining insurance or paying these fines.

More Workers’ Compensation Questions? We Have Answers.

The team at Turner Law Group is committed to helping employees understand their rights to compensation and advocate on their behalf. If you have concerns about your workers’ compensation payment or your employer's compliance, call (800) 653-0198 or fill out this form to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.