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Workers’ Compensation

Introduction.

The law firm of WWF&G has represented numerous injured workers for almost 40 years. The law firm was founded by the late James T. Williamson, who primarily represented injured railroad workers with serious injuries. Our firm is located in Alton, IL, a blue-collar area that is labor intensive with industries that include Olin Corporation, Conoco-Phillips Oil Refineries and Granite City Steel.

What Is The Purpose Of The Workers’ Compensation Act?

The Illinois Supreme Court answered this question in 1956, stating “the primary purpose of the Workers’ Compensation Act is to provide employees a prompt, sure and definite compensation, together with a quick and efficient remedy, for injuries or death suffered by such employees in the course of their employment…and to require the cost of such injuries to be borne by the industry itself and not by its individual members”. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act has evolved through almost 90 years of legislation and judicial interpretation. It covers almost all employees injured on the job.

How Much Time Do I Have To Give Notice To My Employer?

GIVE NOTICE OF YOUR INJURY TO YOUR EMPLOYER IMMEDIATELY.

There are certain time requirements that an employee must meet before filing a claim with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. Under the Act, an injured employee must give notice to the employer as soon as practicable, but not later than 45 days after sustaining an accidental injury arising from the employment. The notice must give the approximate date and place of the accident, and may be given orally or in writing.

While there are exceptions to this rule, you should give notice to your employer immediately of your injury. It is also advisable to obtain prompt medical care to document your injury and that it happened at work.

How Much Time Do I Have To File A Claim With The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission?

In addition to the requirement of notice, a claim for compensation must be filed with the Illinos Workers Compensation Commission within 2 years from the last date of compensation or 3 years from the date of the injury, whichever is later.

How Do I File A Claim With The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission?

A case is customarily commenced by filing a document entitled Application for Adjustment of Claim. There is no filing fee, and the forms are furnished free of charge by the Commission. The best way to commence a claim is to consult with an attorney and have your claim handled properly as there are many pitfalls when it comes to this area of law.

What Type Of Damages Are Available?

The Act provides for 3 primary elements of damages, which includes lost wages, medical bills and a disability award.

Lost wages include Temporary Total Disability (TTD) and Permanent Total Disability (PTD). Temporary Total Disability refers to a temporary condition occurring immediately after the accident, at which time the injured employee is totally incapacitated for work by reason of the illness attending the injury. It might be described as the period of the healing process. Without going into great detail, workers wages are calculated at 2/3 of their average weekly wage. There are minimums and maximums on this amount, and several intricacies. An excellent resource for wage issues and all issues concerning the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act is the website provided by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, namely http://www.state.il.us/agency/IIC/.

Regarding medical treatment, the employer is liable to pay for all emergency treatment plus related hospital and physician services. THERE IS A LIMIT on the number of physicians an employee may choose as stated below.

Regarding permanent injury, some workers are able to return to regular work but within limitations or restrictions. This is referred to as Permanent Partial Disability (PPD), and an additional benefit is provided in this case. All areas of the body are worth different percentages of loss. The calculation also considers your wage rate in the final calculation of Permanent Partial Disability.

Can I Choose My Own Physicians?

All emergency care related to the work injury is covered by the Act. An employee is limited to his or her independent choice of 2 physicians under the Act. Either of these physicians may refer the employee for other medical treatment as well.

If I Am Injured By A Third Party While I Am Working, Do I Have An Additional Cause Of Action?

Yes. If the negligence of a third party causes your injury, you will have a claim against the third party in addition to your workers’ compensation claim. However, the employer is entitled to receive a reimbursement up to the amounts that it paid to you, less a proportionate share of costs and expenses. Please note that most personal injury claims have a shorter Statute of Limitations, which is generally 2 years in the state of Illinois. They are even shorter for claims against governmental agencies and municipal entities.

An example of a third party claim is a school bus driver that is injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by another driver. The driver will have a workers’ compensation claim and also a third party claim against the other driver.

Should I Consult With An Attorney Regarding My Claim?

Yes. It is advisable to consult with an attorney regarding your claim immediately. If you are concerned with attorney’s fees, the Workers’ Compensation Act governs the fee schedule and allows for a 20% contingency fee in these types of cases. The typical attorney’s fee is 20%, and this is a reasonable fee which will buy you peace of mind and good protection from employers and insurance companies who will not hesitate to take advantage of injured workers.

What Are Some Of The Workers’ Compensation Cases Your Firm Has Handled?

    1. Laborer injured when forklift drove over his leg (workers’ compensation and product liability).
    2. Laborer who climbed telephone poles for years, repetitive trauma, bilateral knee replacements.
    3. Hairstylist, repetitive trauma, bilateral carpal tunnel.
    4. Laborer, eye injury, loss of use of eye.
    5. Laborer, Ford assembly line, bilateral carpal tunnel and cubital tunnel surgeries.
    6. YMCA worker, vehicle drove through building and pinned employee underneath vehicle, significant and permanent injuries (workers’ compensation and third party claim).
    7. Truck Driver injured back using a ratchet (case argued and won before Supreme Court of Illinois).

 

OUR FIRM. The law firm of Williamson, Webster, Falb & Glisson was built on fighting for injured workers and continues to pursue these principles today. WWF&G aggressively prosecutes workers’ compensation claims on your behalf. Please review our verdicts and settlements page for some of our results.

FREE CONSULTATION. Please contact us for a free consultation so we may discuss and review your case in greater detail at 618-462-1077.