When a person is injured or made ill at work, it can be a frustrating experience. Not only are they concerned about regaining their health, but they may be incurring hefty medical bills and other expenses that they are unable to pay for, because they cannot work. It is for this reason that Illinois provides workers' compensation benefits to qualifying individuals.
Workers' compensation benefits are meant to offset the costs of medical expenses and lost wages a worker incurs when they are injured or made ill on-the-job, and thus cannot work. However, it is important for workers to realize that they only have a certain amount of time to file a claim for benefits. This time period is known as the "statute of limitations." If a worker fails to file a claim within the statute of limitations, they may be barred from filing a claim altogether, even if they otherwise would have qualified for benefits.
In Illinois, with some exceptions workers have two years from the last time they were paid to file a workers' compensation claim or three years from the date they were injured to file a workers' compensation claim, whichever is longer. This is only a general rule. Certain types of claims, such as those for specific occupational diseases, may have a different statute of limitations. In addition, workers generally have a shorter amount of time to notify their employer that they have been injured or made ill on-the-job. For example, with some exceptions, workers in Illinois generally have up to 45 days to notify their employer that they have been injured or made ill in the course of their job duties.
It can take time to recover from a serious injury or illness. Workers who have suffered such maladies on-the-job deserve to be able to focus on regaining their health without having to worry about how their bills will be paid. Workers' compensation benefits can provide the compensation injured or ill workers need to get back on their feet, but it is important that all the necessary deadlines are meant. Therefore, those interested in pursuing workers' compensation benefits will want to make sure they understand the workers' compensation process in Illinois, so they can take appropriate actions within the acceptable amount of time.