Jerome, Salmi & Kopis, LLC – Law Firm in Fairview Heights, IL

How Does Workers’ Compensation Work?

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People go to work every day to earn a living to support themselves and their family. No one ever expects to become injured while on the job but unfortunately, it happens all too often. Workplace injuries are very serious and can cause a person great pain, and prevent them from going to work to earn their living. For this reason, workers’ compensation is available in both Illinois and Missouri. If you have been hurt and want to apply for benefits, you are likely wondering how does workers’ compensation work. Below, is an outline to answer any questions you may have.

Contact Jerome, Salmi & Kopis, LLC today for your workers’ compensation case. 

Workers’ Comp is No Fault

Most employers in both Illinois and Missouri are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Employers in Missouri must only carry workers’ compensation if they have five or more employees. Most employers in Illinois must carry workers’ comp insurance, but sole proprietors, business partners, corporate officers, and members of LLC can exempt themselves, if they wish.

In both states, workers’ compensation is no-fault insurance. This means it does not matter if you contributed to the accident that caused your injury. You can still claim workers’ compensation if you were injured on the job while performing employment duties. However, because workers’ comp is a no-fault system, it also means that in most cases you cannot sue your boss, even if their negligence caused the accident that resulted in your injuries.

 

What Type of Injuries are Covered?

Workers’ compensation in Missouri and Illinois will cover a number of different types of workplace injuries and occupational illnesses. Some of the most common include:

  • Back injuries, including herniated and bulging discs
  • Strained and sprained muscles and ligaments
  • Aggravations of pre-existing injuries and conditions
  • Fractured bones
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Cubital tunnel syndrome
  • Brain injuries
  • Head injuries, including concussions
  • Crushing injuries
  • Electrocutions
  • Burns
  • Tendinitis
  • Meniscus injuries
  • Eye injuries
  • Musculoskeletal disorders
  • Cancer
  • COVID-19 and other infectious diseases

 

When to Report Your Injury

To protect your workers’ compensation claim, it is essential that you report your workplace injury in the appropriate amount of time. If you do not, you could put your entire claim at risk and not receive any benefits at all.

In Illinois, you must report your injury within 45 days of the accident. In Missouri, you have only 30 days to report the injury.

Regardless of how much time you are allotted under the law, it is important to report the accident and resulting injuries as soon as possible. When reporting your accident, do so in writing and include where and when the injury occurred, as well as a detailed description of what occurred.

 

Seek Medical Attention

It is critical that you seek medical attention as soon as possible after any accident. Not only should your health be your top priority after an injury, but it will also help protect any future workers’ comp claim you file. If your injury is urgent, visit an emergency room or medical clinic as soon as possible.

If you live in Illinois, you can see any doctor you choose at any time during the course of treatment. In Missouri, you cannot choose your own doctor. Your employer will give you a list of approved physicians from the insurance company and you must see one of those doctors throughout the course of treatment.

 

Benefits Available Through Workers’ Comp

You can claim many different types of benefits through workers’ compensation. These include:

  • Medical expenses: In both Illinois and Missouri, you can claim all of your reasonable medical expenses for any treatment you received for your injuries. Your medical expenses include doctors’ fees, hospitalization costs, prescription medication expenses, physical therapy, and medical devices if you need help with mobility.
  • Temporary wage replacement: You can claim up to a certain amount of your weekly wages if your injuries are so severe you cannot work for a certain amount of time. Typically, you can claim up to two-thirds of your average weekly wage.
  • Future losses: Workers’ comp in both Illinois and Missouri recognize that sometimes, injuries are so severe, workers will deal with the ramifications for a long time to come. After you have reached maximum medical improvement, meaning your injuries will not become better but they also will not become worse, you will be assessed to determine if you suffered any permanent damage from your injury. If so, you can claim benefits for the impairment.

 

Time Limits on Workers’ Comp Claims

Workers’ compensation claims are full of deadlines. You must report your injury to your employer within a certain amount of time, but you also only have a limited amount of time to file your claim. In Illinois, you have three years from the date of the accident, or within two years from the last compensation payment you have received, whichever is later. In Missouri, you must file a workers’ compensation claim within two years of the accident.

It is important to know that if you do not file your claim before the statute of limitations expires, you may forfeit your right to claim any damages at all. However, there are times when the statute of limitations may be tolled, or delayed. For example, in Missouri, if your employer does not report your injury to the division promptly, the statute of limitations can be extended for up to one year.

 

Appealing a Workers’ Comp Claim Denial

Your employer or their insurance company may deny your claim for a number of reasons. When that is the case, you can appeal the denial in both Illinois and Missouri. Appealing a workers’ compensation denial is not easy. The process is long and you may have to attend a hearing. A workers’ compensation lawyer in Missouri and Illinois can prepare you for the process and give you the best chance of success.

 

Call Our Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Illinois and Missouri Today

If you have been hurt while on the job, our workers’ compensation lawyer in Missouri and Illinois is here to help. At the Law Office of Jerome Salmi Kopis, LLC, our seasoned attorney has helped many clients successfully claim the compensation they deserve, even after they were initially denied. Call us today at (618) 726-2222 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation and to learn more about how we can help.

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WORKERS’ COMPENSATION UPDATE

If you have contracted COVID-19 as part of your work environment, please contact us and we can discuss if your condition falls under the Workers’ Compensation Act. If we can prove that you contracted your virus as part of your work environment, you would be entitled to compensation that would include payment of all medical expenses; lost time benefits while you recovery; and a settlement for any ongoing problems after you recover. 

 

Please note that in Illinois, first responders and essential employees are presumed to have contracted COVID-19 at work.  Missouri recognizes that same presumption but limits it to first responders.  Regardless, if believe that you contracted COVID-19 at work, please contact us immediately so that we can inform you of your rights under the Workers’ Compensation Act.

 

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