Under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, an injured worker is entitled to lost time benefits, called temporary total disability benefits, if the work injury causes the treating doctor to take the employee completely off of work. These benefits begin after a waiting period of three working days and are paid as long as the disability exists. If the disability continues for 14 days or more, the employer then becomes responsible for paying for the first three days of disability. During such time, the injured worker is paid 66 2/3% of their wages. Most significantly, since these payments are considered payments of disability, they are nontaxable at both the State and Federal levels.
Similarly, if the treating doctor provides the injured worker with light duty restrictions and the employer is unable to accommodate the light duty restrictions, the employer remains responsible for paying lost time benefits. These payments are made as though the doctor had taken the employee completely off work. These benefits continue even if the employee is terminated from his/her employment for unrelated reasons. If the employer fails to timely pay lost time benefits, the Act provides a penalty provision wherein the employer could be responsible for paying penalties of $30 per day up to $10,000.
If you have sustained a work injury and are not receiving timely lost time benefits, you may need legal assistance. Sometimes the delay in payments may be a documentation issue as the adjuster has not been receiving timely off work or light duty slips from the doctor. However, sometimes the adjusters are overwhelmed with claims and simply have not gotten to paying your lost time benefits. In such instances, it often requires legal assistance to convince the adjuster to pay the weekly benefits in a timelier manner.
If you have recently been in a motor vehicle crash in southern Illinois or near the metro-east, then you are probably already dealing with medical bills, insurance representatives, and possibly even third-party collection companies.