When someone gets injured on the job, they should not hesitate to: (1) seek medical attention and (2) file a workers’ compensation claim.
Filing a workers’ compensation claim can be as simple as an employee’s notifying an employer that they were hurt on the job. A worker does not have to document an injury in writing. The key requirement is to let a supervisor know of the workplace injury.
An employer is required by law to report work injuries to the workers’ compensation authorities. An injured employee must report their injury within 45 days after the injury, or the claim could be time-barred, and the employer or the employer’s insurance company may not compensate the worker.
Temporary Total Disability
If an employee is entirely unable to work because of work injuries, they can receive temporary total disability benefits. In Illinois, this compensation equals 2/3 of the worker’s gross wages. The injured employee can receive this compensation until a treating physician releases them to work. After this release, the treating physician may provide an employee and their employer with an impairment rating, which indicates the extent to which the worker may return to work and perform their duties.
Temporary Partial Disability
After suffering a work injury, if an employee is able to engage in light duty work but is being paid less than their regular wage, they may be entitled to compensation of 2/3 of the difference in wages. This compensation will last until a treating physician releases the employee to return to work.
This is a percentage determined by a treating physician of how much a work injury decreased an employee’s ability to work.
Permanent Partial or Permanent Total Disability
For example, before the work injury, an employee was at 100 percent work capacity, but afterwards, a treating physician rated them at 50 percent work capacity. If an employer accepts the impairment rating, the employee will be compensated in the amount equaling 50 percent of 2/3 of their gross wages for 60 months. This amount is mitigated, however, by an employee’s actual ability to perform the functions of any job they are given and able to perform.
If a treating physician determines that an injured worker is permanently and totally disabled, meaning a 100 percent impairment rating, they can receive 2/3 of their gross wages for the rest of their actuarial life. Be aware that a claim for permanent and total disability might be disputed by an employer, which sometimes can result in a fairly lengthy legal battle.
There are two laws that intertwine with workers’ compensation law: the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Subject to some exceptions, the ADA requires an employer to provide an injured worker with a job that they can perform after a disabling injury.
An employee working for a qualifying employer is also entitled to take up to twelve weeks of FMLA leave to recover from a work injury if they had worked for 1250 hours in the year previous to injury. Note that in the vast majority of states, this is unpaid leave, but an individual may be entitled to return to their job after the leave.