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The basics of workers' compensation

In Illinois, employers are required to purchase workers' compensation insurance to cover their employees in case of a job-related accident or illness. If you have been injured on the job or have contracted an illness due to working conditions, you may be wondering if you will receive workers' compensation benefits.

Verifying that your employer has workers' compensation coverage

Your employer is required by law to post a workers' compensation notice in an easy-to-find place in every worksite, such as the employee breakroom or possibly near the time punch. If you are unsure that your employer is covered, you can search online through the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission website to see if they are listed.

Litigation versus workers compensation

If you are injured or become ill on the job and your employer refuses to provide workers' compensation benefits, then it may be appropriate to pursue litigation. In most cases, you will not be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against an employer. However, it is within your rights to do so if the employer has intentionally caused the injury or if the employer is required to have workers' compensation coverage, but does not.

Filing a workers' compensation claim

If you are injured at work, the first thing you should do is notify your employer. You will have to provide the details of the incident, including time and place. The Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission recommends that you provide this notice in writing to a member of management.

The sooner you provide notice to your employer, the sooner you will receive compensation. However, you must submit the notification within 45 days of the accident to maintain your right to receive benefits.

In the case of radiation poisoning, you have 90 days to notify your employer.

If you suffer from a slow-developing disease or trauma that accumulates over time, you are required to notify your employer as soon as you become aware of it.

If you have suffered an injury due to an accident in the workplace or an illness resulting from dangerous working conditions, it is important that you understand your rights. For advice on filing a claim, contact an attorney with workers' compensation experience.

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