Should you ever find yourself injured while on the job, you may have a workers’ compensation claim. Let’s say that you are constantly lifting heavy packages onto a conveyer belt. You’ve been doing this for years, but today you feel something pop in your lower back as you transfer a particularly heavy package to the belt. A wave of pain follows and it quickly becomes clear that you need medical attention.
As you are loaded into the ambulance you worry. How will you pay for this? What if you can’t return to your job? A million questions through your mind. This is where your workers’ compensation benefits can help you.
Workers’ compensation 101: What you should know
In the state of Illinois, employers must purchase workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. The steps to filing a claim are as follows:
- Seek out medical help. This is the first and most important step in your workers’ comp journey. Go to the emergency room or urgent care. If your employer has a doctor on site he or she may be able to treat you. Make sure you find out exactly what your injury entails and how you will be treated.
- Inform your employer that you were injured on the job. You must do this within 45 days of being injured or you may forfeit the right to workers’ compensation.
- Document everything. Save every piece of paper that you receive at the hospital. Record your test results, the names of the doctors you see, your receipts and any estimates for upcoming treatment.
- Check-in frequently with your employer. Keep him informed of your progress and stay on top of any paperwork he needs you to fill out.
If your claim is rejected consider seeking out legal guidance. You may be able to appeal your denial and get your medical bills and lost wages covered.