The following information is specific to the state of Illinois. Your state may have different guidelines for reporting a workers' compensation injury.
Reporting a Workers' Compensation Injury — Illinois Workman's Comp Application and Claim Lawyers
If you have been injured in a workplace accident, it is important to accurately report a workman's comp claim in order to recover the benefits you deserve. Unfortunately, information from your employer can differ from the actual Illinois law, making reporting a workers' compensation injury confusing and frustrating.
Following is some information regarding:
- When to report a workers' compensation injury
- How to properly report your injury
- What to include in a workers' compensation claim
For more information, or to discuss your specific workplace injury with an experienced Illinois workman's comp application and claim lawyer, contact Glass & Korein, LLC, today. Let our attorneys assist you in reporting a workers' compensation injury in East St. Louis or Belleville, Illinois, Central Illinois or Southern Illinois.
When to Report a Workers' Compensation Injury
Illinois law requires that a worker report a workplace injury within 45 days after the accident occurs. If it is an injury from toxic exposure or a repetitive/cumulative use injury, then the worker must report it 45 days after he or she becomes aware of the workplace cause for the injury or condition.
Some companies have rules that state a worker must report an accident before the 45 days in order to receive compensation. This is only a policy, not the law. That said, it is always wise to report a workers' compensation injury sooner rather than later, and to report the accident even if no obvious severe injury occurred. Soft tissue injuries can take days or weeks to manifest or to distinguish from short strains, so it is important to document the claim as soon as possible to protect your rights.
If your employer or insurance company requests a recorded statement, you are not required to give one. Illinois employers can ask questions and make a worker file a written report, but they cannot force a worker to give a recorded statement.
Reporting a Workers' Compensation Injury
It is important that you keep detailed notes regarding the specifics of the workplace accident, any witnesses to the accident and to whom you reported the accident. These details may serve as important evidence on the accident form provided by your employer. If your employer has no specific form, then submit the facts in writing and keep a copy if questions about the accident are later raised by the claims personnel. When giving notice of injury to work, make sure to have a witness who is a co-worker rather than a manager present. While notice must be given to a supervisor, having a witness present will be helpful in case the employer attempts to deny that you gave timely notice.
After reporting the accident, you should make sure to inform the doctor of all symptoms of your injury and how the accident occurred. Inconsistencies between the accident report and medical records can lead to problems and possible denial of workers' compensation benefits the law provides for you.
What to Include in a Workers' Compensation Claim
A common reason injured workers are denied compensation is the lack of detail in their accident report. A worker must prove that he or she suffered a workplace accident, and that the accident directly contributed to the injury or illness. This is referred to as legal causation.
For example, if you suffered a slip-and-fall accident, you must prove the accident happened at work and that the cause was work-related. Was there an obstacle? Were you carrying boxes or supplies that limited visibility? Did a colleague distract you? Were you in a hurry for a work-related purpose? All these can be examples of cause. Once cause is shown, doctors can give testimony as to how the accident directly caused the injury, such as falling at work resulting in a back or neck injury.
Sometimes cause can be difficult to prove. In lifting and pulling strain injuries, for example, reporting a workers' compensation claim requires that you document the moment the injury occurred. Feeling sore after moving heavy boxes around all day may not constitute a specific workplace accident. In addition, if the accident aggravated a pre-existing injury or condition, it is especially important that you document how and when the accident occurred and to what extent it contributed to the aggravation.
Contact a Southern Illinois Workers' Compensation Lawyer
Were you denied benefits after reporting a workers' compensation injury? Do you want additional information regarding when to file, how to file and what to include in an accident claim? Please contact Glass & Korein, LLC, for a free and confidential consultation regarding any workers' compensation matter. We may be reached at 618-216-5218 or at the addresses listed below.
Weekend and evening appointments are available. We serve our clients on a contingency fee basis; you won't pay us unless we have done our job and collected money for you.