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Workers’ Compensation Attorney Chicago

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Michael Agruss

Written and Reviewed by Michael Agruss

  • Managing Partner and Personal Injury Lawyer at Mike Agruss Law.
  • Over 20 years of experience in Personal Injury.
  • Over 8000+ consumer rights cases settled.
  • Graduated from the University of Illinois Chicago School of Law: Juris Doctor, 2004.

Workers’ compensation is a type of employment insurance benefit that will help compensate a worker if they fall sick or get injured while on the job.  The benefits are intended to help the employee with any medical expenses and lost wages that might have accumulated as a direct result of their injury.  Illinois workers’ compensation laws mandate that all state employers must carry workers’ compensation insurance in case one of their employees suffers from a work-related illness or injury.  If you or a loved one has suffered from a work-related injury, you could be entitled to Illinois workers’ compensation benefits. Contact a Chicago workers’ compensation attorney from the Mike Agruss Law for a free consultation to start your claim for benefits.   

How Do I Know If I’m Eligible for Workers’ Compensation Benefits?

You may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits if you have suffered from an occupational illness or a work-related accident.  The Illinois workers’ compensation laws strive to protect workers and maintain the rights of injured employees. The law requires that all businesses in the state maintain workers’ compensation insurance.  A workplace illness or injury is defined as one that occurs in the course of one’s job or arises from their work duties.  Suppose you or a loved one has suffered a work-related injury. In that case, you should start thinking right away about filing a workers’ compensation claim to receive compensation for your medical expenses and lost wages. 

An employer must have insurance coverage for all their employees, whether they have one employee or a hundred.  Additionally, the Illinois law defines “employee” very broadly, and full-time salaried employees, part-time workers, or temporary workers are eligible for Illinois workers’ compensation benefits.  Sole proprietors, corporate officers, members of a limited liability company, and business partners are not mandated to be covered under the law.  However, they may elect to be covered under workers’ comp insurance.

For Chicago, Il workers who have sustained a work injury, it is important to understand the Illinois workers’ compensation system.  There is no waiting period for workers’ comp insurance coverage to begin.  An employee is covered under the insurance from the very first day they are on the job.  Additionally, an employee is covered under workers’ comp even if they were at fault or partially contributed to their injury. 

If you have suffered an injury in your course of employment, you will most likely qualify to receive workers’ compensation benefits. However, you will need to provide evidence supporting your illness or injury to qualify.  Upon reviewing the law and the evidence for your claim, you may feel that you need to consult with a lawyer to help ensure that you receive all the benefits you are entitled to.  The Mike Agruss Law is committed to helping injured employees through their work injury claims.  We offer free consultations and can help you navigate through the complex workers’ compensation insurance system. Contact our Chicago workers’ compensation lawyers to learn more. 

Types of Workplace Injuries that are Eligible for Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Any illness or injury that occurred during your job duties may be eligible for workers’ comp benefits.  Some people may have minor illnesses or injury, whereas other times people have serious injuries that may cause permanent disability.  Additionally, Illinois workers’ compensation laws have a “no-fault” requirement for benefits.  This means it does not matter whether or not the employee was at fault or if they contributed to their injury- they are still eligible for benefits no matter who was at fault.  Some common compensable workplace injuries include:

  • Broken Bones, Fractures, and Sprains
  • Burns
  • Electrocutions 
  • Lacerations
  • Neck and back injuries
  • Concussions and Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
  • Spinal Cord Injuries, including damage to the vertebrae, ligaments or disks of the spinal cord
  • Repetitive Stress Injuries

If you have suffered from an illness or injury while on your job, the first thing you should do is to get professional medical treatment.  

Common Causes of Workplace Injuries 

Unfortunately, workplace injuries are commonplace occurrences.  In fact, recent statistics show that about 2.7 million people in the United States suffer from on-the-job injuries or illnesses every year.  Some occupations, such as machinists or railroad workers, are more likely to suffer workplace injuries than other professions.  However, accidents can occur in any type of job.  Some common causes of workplace injuries include:

  • Slip and Falls
  • Overexertion
  • Fires or Explosions
  • Crashes and Collisions 
  • Machine and equipment malfunctions
  • Failure to maintain safety protocols
  • Exposure to harmful chemicals or radiation
  • Injuries resulting from motor vehicle accidents 

If you or a loved one has been injured on the job, then you should file a workers’ compensation claim to receive benefits. Workers’ compensation benefits can help with medical bills and lost wages after a workplace accident.  If you have been injured, you are already suffering. It can feel overwhelming to navigate the Illinois workers’ compensation system on your own.  Thankfully, you do not have to.  The committed Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys at The Mike Agruss Law will help you throughout every part of your case and work to get you the financial compensation you deserve.   

How to File for Chicago Workers’ Compensation Benefits

The Illinois workers’ compensation system is very complex.  The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission is the agency that oversees all workers’ compensation cases in the state of Illinois. If there is any dispute between the Claimant (the injured worker) and the Defendant (the insurance company), then the Commission will oversee the dispute. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act details the state workers’ compensation laws for all state employers and employees. 

There are several steps and deadlines you must adhere to in order to receive the benefits you are entitled to. Workers’ compensation insurance companies are trying to pay out the least amount of money they can.  It is always advised to meet with a Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer before starting your claim.  We suggest adhering to the following steps in your claim process.

Seek Medical Attention and Diagnosis

If you have been injured at work, the first thing to do is seek professional medical attention.  It is important to get treatment and put your health first.  Make sure you tell your doctor that you are suffering due to an accident or incident at your workplace.  They will document this information in their office notes. Getting medical care right away is also important, as the doctor will provide your diagnosis as proof for your workers’ compensation claim.  Remember, you will need supporting evidence regarding your occupational illnesses or injuries for the insurance company.  

It is important to seek medical care as soon as you know about your injury.  Most work injuries occur instantaneously.  Some, however, will develop over time. An example of this would include repetitive stress injuries, which are very common work injuries.  Do not worry if you have a condition that developed over time; just make sure you see a qualified medical professional as you become aware of your illness or injury.   Follow all medical advice. 

Do not skip seeing a doctor because you are not insured or underinsured.  Do not let the fear of medical bills prevent you from getting the care you need. Workers’ compensation benefits exist for this reason.  

Notify Your Employer of Your Work Injury Within 45 Days

After receiving medical care and establishing your diagnosis, the next step you must take is to notify your employer.  There are specific time limits, called Statutes of Limitations, under which you have to file your claim.  You have 45 days after the day of the accident to notify your employer of your workplace injury or illness.  It is always recommended to have this notification formalized in writing as proof of the day you notified them.  You have three years from the date of injury to file a claim with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission.  In the event you were exposed to harmful radiation or asbestos, you will have 25 years from the date of exposure to file.

After you have contacted your employer with formal notification of your workplace injury or illness, they have 14 days to accept or deny the claim if you had to miss at least three days of work.  Your employer should contact their insurance company to file a workers’ compensation claim for you with the State Commission within 30 days.  You should also consult with a workers’ compensation lawyer about your case.  You can also file the Application for Adjustment of Claim. 

Check Your Workers’ Compensation Claims

You can check the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission website for the status of your claim.  Although your employer’s insurance should file a claim, it is always prudent to see if it has been received and processed.  While you are waiting for your claim result, be sure to adhere to your employer’s rules and regulations regarding work-related injuries.  File an incident report after your accident and respond to their requests for information or documentation.  Continue going to your medical appointments and adhering to your physician’s medical advice.

After you file your claim, the state Workers’ Compensation Commission will set a date for a hearing.  The hearing will be before an arbitrator, who is a neutral 3rd party assigned to oversee your case. You will receive the Notice of Hearing in the mail and the name of the arbitrator assigned to your case.  If you have any questions regarding the workers’ compensation hearings, please contact Agruss Law to learn more.  

Settling Your Claim

The vast majority of workers’ comp claims end in settlement. You can reach a settlement agreement in your case if you and your employer’s insurance effectively engage in conversations and negotiate with each other fairly.  A settlement can take a lot of work, but it can be a good resolution for both parties.  Most insurance companies will give a lowball offer at first, so do not rush into accepting the first offer you receive.  Make sure you receive something that is fair and acceptable for your situation. Once a satisfactory settlement is reached, it will be put into a written settlement agreement and be legally binding.  The settlement agreement will detail the amount to be paid and any other compensation.  This agreement will also end your employer’s responsibility. 

What To Do If Your Workers’ Compensation Claim is Denied

Do not worry if your worker’s compensation claim is denied.  You should be provided with the reasons for the denial of your claim, so you know what the denial is based on.  You can always file an appeal.  After you file a Notice of Appeal, you will receive a hearing date before the Commission.  During the hearing, you can request a date for trial.  Alternatively, you can delay the trial to continue settlement discussions. In this situation, your case will continue to be reviewed every two months

Sometimes, claims are denied due to clerical errors or omissions.  However, sometimes claims are denied because your employer’s insurance company does not believe in the legitimacy or severity of your injuries.  Keep in mind that the burden is on the Claimant’s (the injured worker) to prove that they were injured on the job.  You must present evidence of the injury and that it happened during the course of employment, i.e., it is not a pre-existing injury or an injury that occurred outside work. You should immediately contact a lawyer if your claim was denied because the insurance company didn’t believe you.   At this point, you will benefit greatly from having an attorney familiar with workers’ compensation laws by your side during the appeal process.  

If you are injured or sick, you are already hurt.  You are accumulating medical bills and missing out on work in addition to your normal activities.  At Agruss Law, we understand that it is frustrating to have your claim being denied and your story being questioned.  We have decades of experience in Illinois law and the workers’ comp appeal process.  We fight to protect the injured worker, and we will fight for you to get the compensation you deserve.  Contact us and schedule a free consultation with our Chicago workers’ compensation lawyers today.  

What Types of Worker’s Compensation Benefits Can You Receive?

There are several types of benefits available through workers’ compensation.  Benefits that you are entitled to with your claim generally include reimbursement for any medical care expenses associated with the injury, replacement of lost income due to temporary disability (partial or total disability), payment for any permanent disability, and death benefits and burial costs to families who lost a loved one while they were on the job.  The Illinois workers’ compensation benefits do not cover pain and suffering, however. Your eligibility for benefits should begin immediately after you filed your claim and should continue for the entire duration of the injury, even if the injury is diagnosed as permanent.

Medical Expenses  

Injured workers can qualify for reimbursement of medical bills and expenses. This includes all insurance co-pays and out-of-pocket expenses you had to pay for doctors appointments, prescriptions, drugs, medical supplies, and therapy.  Remember to keep a log of your medical visits and any medical bills and receipts for reimbursement.  

Temporary Partial Disability Benefits

Temporary partial disability benefits are intended to provide compensation to employees who are able to perform some work functions but have not been able to return to their full job duties.  As such, the worker earns less than they did prior to their work injury or illness. The TPD benefits aim to help make up this difference.  Generally, TPD benefits will pay 2/3 the amount of the difference between the worker’s average weekly wage prior to the injury minus their current weekly wage. 

Temporary Total Disability Benefits

Temporary total disability benefits provide financial compensation when an employee is suffering and is not physically able to return to any work duties due to injury.  These payments consist of 2/3 of their average weekly wage.  These benefits will stop once your doctor clears you to return to work. 

Permanent Partial Disability Benefits

Permanent partial disability benefits compensate workers who have been injured in such a way that they will not be able to perform their jobs at full capacity, but they are able to perform some work.  

Permanent Total Disability Benefits

Permanent disability benefits are payments for people who have been completely disabled by their workplace illness or injury and have been deemed unable to perform any type of work. 

Occupational Death Benefits

Death benefits provide compensation for a spouse or a beneficiary of someone who passed away due to work-related injuries or accidents.  Work-related deaths unfortunately sometimes occur, with most of those deaths being preventable.  In particular, the construction and transportation industry sees the most preventable work-related deaths.  

Death benefits are available for a deceased worker’s spouse or children under the age of 18.  In order to receive benefits, a survivor must file a claim with the State Employee Retirement System.  The survivor’s benefits will usually amount to ⅔  of the decedent’s weekly wage and are capped for 25 years or $500,000, whichever comes first.  Additionally, Illinois law allocates $8,000 for funeral and burial costs to survivors of people who died as a result of workplace accidents or illnesses.

What Happens If Your Employer Did Not Have Workers’ Compensation Insurance Coverage?

Under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, it is the law for employers in the state to have workers’ compensation insurance coverage for all their employees.  However, sometimes an employer is not compliant with the law.  What happens if you were injured in your workplace and your employers did not have proper workers’ compensation insurance?  Are you just out of luck?  The answer is a little complicated.  

Your employer will certainly have to suffer the consequences of being non-compliant with the law.  Unfortunately, you will not be able to collect compensation from workers’ comp if your employer did not have proper insurance coverage.  However, you may have an opportunity to collect payment through the state of Illinois or by filing a personal injury lawsuit against your employer. 

An Illinois Employer Who Does Not Have Workers’ Compensation Insurance Will Be Punished

Illinois law protects workers who have been injured.  Any employer who does not comply with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act will be subject to punishment. This includes being fined up to $500 per day for every day that they were without the proper coverage, with a minimum fine of $10,000. Corporate officers who negligently failed to obtain insurance could be charged with a Class A misdemeanor.  Corporate officers who knowingly failed to obtain insurance could be charged with a Class 4 felony.  

Luckily, Illinois takes violators seriously and punishes them accordingly.  Additionally, the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission may serve a “work-stop order” on the employer, effectively preventing them from engaging in business operations until they are able to provide proof of insurance.  Thus, it is very important to report any employer who is non-compliant with the law, as the Commission can shut them down to prevent any other employee from suffering because of errors by their employer.  You can report any employer or business in violation of the law to the Illinois Department of Insurance.

File A Civil Lawsuit Against Your Employer For Compensation

Under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, any person who files for workers’ compensation benefits will be barred from filing a lawsuit against their employer.  However, any employer who knowingly fails to carry workers’ compensation insurance for their employees loses its protections under Illinois law.  It is the employer’s legal duty to carry workers’ compensation insurance.  If they breach that duty, they can be held liable.  

Therefore, an injured employee will be able to sue their employer if they failed to have insurance coverage at the time of their accident.  Suppose you have suffered from an occupational illness or injury and found out that your employer did not have the mandated workers’ comp insurance. In that case, you should immediately reach out to our team at Agruss Law today to learn more about personal injury lawsuits.

Injured Workers’ Benefit Fund

The Illinois Injured Workers’ Benefit Fund was specially created to help defray the costs of a person’s job-related injury if their employer failed to maintain workers’ compensation insurance.  If an uninsured employer failed to follow the state workers’ compensation laws, then they will face serious penalties, including substantial fines.  

The payments from these fines will go into the Injured Workers’ Benefit Fund, which in turn gets paid out to employees who did not get workers’ compensation benefits.  Suppose you were injured in a workplace accident and have found out your employer was not in compliance with the law. In that case, you should immediately contact the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission.  Additionally, you should consult with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer to discuss your legal options.  

Check If Your Employer Has Workers’ Compensation Insurance Coverage

It is Illinois state law for employers to post a workers’ compensation notice at the workplace for everyone to see.  If you do not see one at your worksite, you have the right to ask your boss or HR for the information regarding their insurance company and coverage. Additionally, you can go to this website and search for your employer’s insurance coverage. If you cannot verify your employer’s insurance coverage, then you should immediately report them to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission.  

Chicago Workers’ Compensation Lawyers

Do you need to hire a Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer?  Of course, no one is required to hire an attorney, but there are many reasons why it might be a good idea.  Every workers’ compensation case is different, and the amount of workers’ compensation benefits you will receive depends upon several factors.  Some claims are more complex than others, and you might need additional help from a lawyer if you run into any complications, delays, or denials.  Here are some situations to consider when you are deciding if you need to hire an injury lawyer:

  • You have serious work-related injuries, including those that require surgery or extensive rehabilitative treatment
  • You have suffered a workplace injury or occupational illness that disables you and prevents you from returning to work 
  • Your employer or their insurance company is denying your claim
  • Your employer or their insurance company is not responding to your claim 
  • Your employer failed to have workers’ compensation insurance coverage
  • You are currently receiving workers’ compensation benefits, but they are not enough to fully compensate you for your medical expenses and lost wages, and you need to obtain compensation to fully cover all of your bills
  • You have a third-party claim against another individual who was responsible or contributed to your work injury

If you are an injured employee who has experienced any of these situations, you may need the help of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. The lawyers at the Mike Agruss Law specialize in the Chicago, IL workers’ compensation system and will be able to help you throughout the entire insurance claim process.  We are experts at negotiating with insurance companies and standing up for those who are injured. We will not quit until you recover compensation for your physical injuries.  

Do You Have A Third-Party Personal Injury Claim?

Do you have a third party that was involved in your work injury?  A third party could be a fellow co-worker, a customer, or any other person who was responsible for your injury.  If another person negligently contributed to your injury, you may be able to recover financial compensation for your expenses, pain, and suffering by filing a personal injury lawsuit.  Contact the dedicated personal injury attorneys at the Mike Agruss Law to learn more about starting the process.  You can text or call us at 312-300-5996.  

How Much Do Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Cost in Chicago, Il? 

If you are suffering from an injury, your financial circumstances are probably in disarray as well.  You have been missing work, lost wages, and might also be accumulating medical debt.  The work injury lawyers at Agruss Law understand the needs and concerns of our clients.  As such, we work on a contingency basis, so you do not have to pay us anything.  We only get paid if we win your case.  We also offer free consultations.  Contact our Cook County personal injury law firm today to get started on your path to physical and financial recovery.  

Contact the Mike Agruss Law Today

If you or a loved one has suffered from a work injury or illness, you may be entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits.  In order to do this, you must file a claim with the state. Workers’ compensation claims can be confusing and complex, so it helps to have an experienced lawyer working with you to ensure success.  

The Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys at the Mike Agruss Law are ready to help navigate you through the Illinois legal system, negotiate with insurance adjusters on your behalf, and make sure that you recover financial compensation.  We have successfully helped thousands of Illinois workers receive compensation for their injuries.  We understand the pain of dealing with a debilitating injury, and we are there to make the workers’ compensation claims process easier. We will fight for you to get the medical treatment you need, the compensation you are entitled to, and help you get back on your feet financially.   Do not hesitate to contact us for a free consultation if you have been hurt in a work-related accident.

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