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Every Wednesday we offer five legal tips on various areas of Illinois law.  We’ve noticed lately that people are commonly confused on a bunch of Illinois work comp situations.  Hopefully we can clear that up.

  1. You don’t have to show negligence to win your case.  If you get hurt while performing job duties for you employer during working hours, your case is likely covered under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act.  The tradeoff is that you don’t have the right to sue your employer if they are negligent in you getting hurt.  This works out well for most workers, especially because most cases don’t have any negligence at all.
  2. The insurance company doesn’t have to give you a settlement.  That said, if they don’t give you one, an attorney can file a motion for trial and get an Arbitrator to award damages to you.  Almost every case is worth something.  You just have to make sure that you don’t wait too long to bring a case or you will lose your rights to this settlement forever.
  3. You aren’t suing your employer or anyone else.  A work comp case is a claim for benefits like health insurance or anything else.  Lawyers don’t talk to your employer or involve them very much if at all.  Also, it’s illegal to fire someone for claiming a job injury case.
  4. If you fall at work and get hurt, you do have to show that something about the job contributed to the accident.  You can’t just trip over your own two feet and say that caused an injury.  Something must have played a role.  For example, if you slipped on a wet floor, were rushing to a meeting, lost your balance because you had work materials in your hand, etc., that would make your case valid.    Fainting or untied shoelaces or “I have no idea what happened” will usually mean your case is not going to be covered.
  5. Accidents on the way to work are usually not covered, but there are some exceptions.  The biggest one is if you are a traveling employee.  If you normally drive your car from your home to your office downtown, an accident along the way would not be a case.  But if you are driving to a meeting with a client, that injury would be compensable.

Bottom line is that you should always get educated on your options and make a decision from there.  If you need a referral or just want to talk, click our contact us link on the left.

Written by Michael Helfand