Proving eligibility for workers’ comp benefits

6310985_sAny number of incidents, including falls, auto accidents, machine entanglements and repetitive motion, can contribute to employees in Illinois, and throughout the U.S., suffering a serious injury or illness in the workplace. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, states when workers suffer an “injury, disablement or death arising out of and in the course of [their] employment”, they may be entitled to certain benefits, such as coverage of medically necessary treatments and procedures. Under the Act, injured workers may be entitled to coverage of reasonable medical treatment and disability pay, among other benefits, for eligible work-related injuries and occupational illnesses, regardless of whether they may have contributed to the injury, either through negligence, misuse of equipment or any other factors.

In order to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, workers in the state of Illinois must establish that they gave their employer proper notification of their injury or illness, they were legally employed at the time of the incident, and the injury or illness was work-related.

Notifying employer

Following a workplace accident, employees have 45 days to notify their employer that they sustained an injury. It is advised, however, that such incidents be reported as soon as possible. Injuries that are the result of radiological exposure must be made no more than 90 days after an employee is exposed to an excessive amount of radiation. The contraction of occupational diseases does not have a time limitation, but should be reported as soon as possible once the worker is aware of the illness. These notifications can be made in writing or orally, and they should include both the location of the incident and the date on which it occurred.

Proving employment

Anyone who is under an employment contract, whether written or expressed, in the state of Illinois may be eligible of coverage under the Act. Documentation, such as an employment contract, may be required to show that an injured worker is legally employed by the employer. Independent contractors do not qualify for compensatory benefits.

Proving injury is work-related

Eligibility for benefits depends largely on when and where the accident took place. Coverage is generally available for injuries that occur during an employee’s working hours on company property or while on work-related travel, which includes taxi and other drivers. In addition to proving that an injury was suffered during the course of their employment, workers must also prove that the injury was either caused or worsened by a danger in the workplace. This is done through medical reports and documentation, as well as the opinions of medical professionals.

Obtaining the necessary proof to prove eligibility can be difficult in some cases. It may be of benefit for anyone who has been injured on the job to seek legal counsel to understand their rights and the responsibilities of their employers.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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