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4 workers' compensation facts for injured workers

Workers' compensation helps you get back on your feet and assists in obtaining the medical care you need at no cost to you. Here are four facts about workers' compensation claims that you need to know.

1. Your employer must pay necessary medical expenses.

Your injuries are work-related, and that means your employer has to cover any expenses for medical care related to those injuries. According to the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act, your employer must make payments on your behalf for any surgeries or medical care deemed necessary after you suffer an injury.

2. You have a right to choose your doctor.

You can choose your own doctor for any initial visit following an injury. After that, your employer may have a list of medical providers you choose from or approve the doctor you currently see. If your employer has a list of providers, this is agreed upon early in your employment. It must stay posted in a location that is easy to access. The one catch to choosing your own medical provider is that if the provider seems to provide substandard care, the Workers' Compensation Commission may ask you to choose a different provider. If you refuse, you may have to pay the bill.

3. Medical care is more than just a first emergency medical visit.

Your employer must pay for medical services such as first aid and emergency treatment, surgeries and hospital visits that result from your injuries. Your employer must pay all necessary medical expenses. If an expense isn't necessary, your employer may not pay the bill, so keep this in mind when selecting treatment options that have elective treatments as part of the plan.

4. Your employer has a right to your medical records.

Typically, the law prevents others from accessing your medical documents, but workers' compensation laws allow your employer, your dependents, your attorney and other medical providers access to any and all reports about your treatment. Every hospital, surgeon or physician who provides treatment may provide copies on request, according to Illinois law.

These are just a few things you need to know about how workers' compensation works in Illinois. If you have concerns about your care or ability to seek a claim, your attorney can help you work through the process to get the benefits you need and deserve.

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