Workers’ compensation is your guaranteed right under the law. However, if you’re not aware of your rights, there’s a chance that you or one of your co-workers may not receive all the benefits that you’re entitled to. The following information gives you some of the basic facts about the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act:
* Illinois law specifically protects the rights of employees to file a work comp claim, without fear of discrimination. These protections are backed up by Illinois courts.
* You must report any work related injury or illness within 45 days – the sooner the better.
* If you suffer a work related injury or illness, you are entitled, at your employer’s expense, to receive all medical and hospital services.
* You have the right to select any physician you want, or to go to any doctor or hospital that you are referred to by that doctor. All medical bills related to treatment of an on-the-job injury will be paid by the employer or their insurance company.
* You are eligible to receive payments under workers’ compensation after you have been off work for more than three (3) days. However, if you are out for more than fourteen (14) calendar days, you will be paid from the very first day out.
* Pay under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act is at a rate of two-thirds (2/3) of your pay when you get hurt on the job.
* Your employer can require that you go to a doctor chosen by the employer. You still have the right to go to your own doctor. If your doctor does not agree with the medical decision of the employer’s doctor, you should call the Union in order to get referred to a lawyer who specializes in workers’ compensation law. Be sure to write on your own doctor’s statement that the employer is challenging your workers’ compensation claim. This will help protect your rights during any legal actions that you might take to get any money you deserve. Always keep a copy of any document that you give to your employer.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Many diseases and injuries, such as back pain, repetitive motion disease (i.e. carpal tunnel) and loss of hearing can be work related even though they usually are not caused by one incident. Handle these cases as you would any accident. For further information or lawyer referrals, call the Union office.