Frequently Asked Questions
Under the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act, you are entitled to:
- Payment of any and all medical bills that are related to your work injury;
- Temporary Total Disability (66% of your average weekly wages for any and all time you miss from work), and;
- A Permanency Award, which is a lump sum payment that goes directly to you, the injured worker.
The permanency award is often the largest lump sum payment made and is an acknowledgement by the carrier that the specific body part injured is now compromised and future issues may exist.
Yes. Even the most intelligent injured worker is not going to fully understand how to successfully file, prosecute and resolve a Workers' Compensation claim. Issues may arise regarding your employer's failure to promptly pay your Temporary Total Disability, or your related medical bills. If that does occur, legal issues may arise which will only be understood by an experienced Workers' Compensation lawyer. Additionally in order to have those issues addressed, certain arcane procedures often have to be closely followed. Lay persons understandably won't know the procedures. Finally, in order to fully understand the value of your case, you should consult a Workers' Compensation attorney who will have the resources and technology to properly evaluate your claim.
Attorneys representing injured workers work on a contingent basis — meaning no fees are paid unless you win and funds are recovered on your behalf. If that does occur, in a typical Workers' Compensation case, the fee will be 20% of your gross recovery as provided by the Statute. Additionally, the attorney is entitled to recover certain expenses he has incurred on your behalf, for medical records and reports and other necessary expenditures.
In Illinois, Workers' Compensation settlements have to be approved by an arbitrator. The tentative settlement terms are presented to the arbitrator in a written Settlement Contract signed by all the parties. The arbitrator will review the terms and related medical records to make sure the settlement is fair. The arbitrator has 10 business days to approve proposed settlement. Once approved, the settlement funds are typically available within 14-28 days.
I wish I could give you a guarantee that you will not be fired. But unfortunately, I cannot. Sometimes, employers do react negatively when their employees file Workers' Compensation cases — and termination/discharge does occasionally occur. A 2016 study out of New England indicated that injured workers are at a higher risk to lose their jobs. Thankfully, at least in my experience, I see this in less than 10% of my cases. But it can and does occur. The Illinois Supreme Court has specifically interpreted the Workers' Compensation statute as providing a civil remedy to workers fired for exercising their rights under the statute. If an injured employee is fired for filing a Workers' Compensation claim, the affected employee may file a Retaliatory Discharge lawsuit, seeking to recover lost wages and other damages resulting from the termination.
All cases are different so I cannot give you a hard and fast timeline. With that being said, in my experience most insurance carriers are interested in resolving claims and will be at least willing to discuss settlement once you have completed treatment.
All cases are different and very much dependent upon the nature and extent of your injury; the body part involved; the wages you were making at the time of the injury and how you recovered. Once I have had an opportunity to meet with you and review your medical records I can normally give you a reasonably accurate assessment of the settlement value of your case.