What You Should Know About Work Injuries
Getting hurt at work can stop you in your tracks. When the whole family depends on your income to make ends meet, you can’t afford to go weeks or months without a paycheck. Fortunately, the law allows injured workers to be compensated for their lost time from work and get their medical expenses paid.
If you are fighting to get your wages paid, or your employer is simply not cooperating, the team at Jerome, Salmi & Kopis may be able to quickly step in and help you get the temporary disability payments you need in order to pay your bills. Our highly skilled and experienced workers’ compensation attorneys have decades of experience helping injured Mt. Vernon and Centralia workers.
We can usually get employers and their insurance carriers to pay you additional compensation for permanent injuries, as well. Located just off I-64 in Fairview Heights, IL, our attorneys frequently travel throughout southern Illinois to help injured workers get the money and help they deserve.
So, give us a call at (618) 726-2222 today!
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UNDERSTANDING ILLINOIS WORKERS’ COMPENSATION LAW
Workers’ compensation is designed to protect the employer just as much as it protects injured workers. In fact, employers were among the strongest advocates for creating the work comp system. This is because if you get hurt on the job, you cannot sue your employer. Instead, you must file a workers’ compensation claim. This protects employers from large jury verdicts, but it also means you don’t have to prove the employer did something wrong. Instead, you just need to show you were injured on the job.
Do You Have a Compensable Work Injury?
For injured workers, the law says you don’t have to prove that your employer did something wrong or that they were negligent or careless. Instead, you just have to prove these things to be compensated:
- You are an employee of the company (as opposed to a private contractor)
- You were injured
- The injury happened in the course and scope of employment
- You can prove the nature and extent of the injury
Are you a contractor? Don’t worry. Many contractors are actually treated as employees under the workers’ compensation system. A lawyer from Jerome, Salmi & Kopis can help identify whether you have a valid claim or not, and the call is always free.
What to do after a Mt. Vernon Work Injury
A lot of people get hurt in the Mt. Vernon and Centralia area each year, but many of them don’t know what to do to protect their livelihoods. After all, they may fear retaliation. They may worry about the stigma of collecting work comp. But the truth is, there is no shame in making sure your medical bills are paid and you get the treatment you need in order to recover faster and get back to work. Workers who properly use the work comp system are more productive and tend to have longer careers, because they avoid the risks of re-injury that come with hiding an injury.
If you are hurt on the job in southern Illinois, here’s what you should do:
- Get emergency medical care if needed
- Immediately report the injury to your employer. You can do this by sending an email, faxing something to your management team, or completing a written report to your supervisor. Just be sure to keep proof of notice. You only have 45 days to report in Illinois.
- Call Jerome, Salmi & Kopis today, and speak with one of our seasoned and dedicated workers’ compensation attorneys about your injuries.
Why it’s important to hire a Mount Vernon Workers’ Comp Lawyer Immediately
In Illinois, injured workers have the right to choose their own medical provider. This makes it very important to speak with a Mt. Vernon work comp lawyer right away. Otherwise, you can inadvertently end up going to a doctor selected by your employer’s insurance company. Sadly, there are unscrupulous doctors out there who will intentionally minimize the seriousness of your injury. In fact, there have even been doctors who will bend the truth or even mislead the workers’ compensation commission in order to reduce your benefits. They do this, because insurance companies pay them a lot of money to do so.
While most physicians would never think of altering their professional opinions, we’ve seen it happen more than a few times. By speaking with an attorney early, we can make sure you do not accidentally end up with one of these types of healthcare providers.
Call Now for a Free Consultation
Attorneys David Jerome and Rick Salmi have been handling work injury cases for about 25 years each, many of those years spent fighting for injured Mt. Vernon and Centralia workers right here in southern Illinois. We never charge our clients for a consultation, and if necessary, we are happy to come to you to meet and discuss your case. It’s all part of our commitment to helping injured workers throughout the southern Illinois region. So, visit us online to learn more, and give us a call to set up your own free consultation now.
Statute of Limitations
A statute of limitations is an absolute deadline after which you can never file your claim. As a practical matter, it would usually make no sense to wait a long time to bring a work comp claim in Illinois, but this also depends on your state.
Illinois – In Illinois, you have 3 years from the date of the workplace injury or 2 years since your last paycheck from the job, whichever is longer.
Missouri – In Missouri, your time is substantially shorter. You only get 2 years from your injury or 1 year from your last paycheck, whichever is longer.
Of course, you must still meet the notice period requirements above, or the statute of limitations doesn’t even matter.
How Compensation is Calculated
Unlike traditional lawsuits in civil courts, a jury will never hear your case. You are not entitled to file a lawsuit against your employer, even if the employer was indeed careless or negligent (assuming they carried workers’ compensation insurance as required by law).
Instead, your sole option under the law is to file a claim before the Workers’ Compensation Commission for your state. While this may seem straightforward, the process can be quite complicated. In recent years, many valid claims have been denied for seemingly no reason, leaving employees out of work and out of luck. Our workers’ compensation attorneys each have considerable experience resolving these complex work injury cases for their clients. In addition, each year our workers’ compensation attorneys take numerous cases to trial, fighting for justice on behalf of the injured workers and their families.