It is easy to understand why some jobs, such as those in the construction or manufacturing industries, could lead to on-the-job injuries. However, even those who work in an office could suffer a workplace injury such as carpal tunnel syndrome if they type at a computer all day long or a back injury if they strain to lift something heavy. When workers in Illinois are injured in whole or in part from their work, they may want to seek workers’ compensation benefits.
But, there will be times when an employer refuses to pay workers’ compensation benefits to an injured employee. When this happens, the employee should first contact his or her employer to find out why the employer refused to pay him or her workers’ compensation benefits. Sometimes the issue boils down to a misunderstanding, and the denied workers’ compensation claim can be rectified internally.
If the employer still refuses to pay workers’ compensation benefits, then the employee can file a claim with the Workers’ Compensation Commission. The Commission will then assign an arbitrator and case number to the employee’s claim. If the claim ends up being arbitrated, the arbitrator will conduct a trial and will then issue a decision regarding the amount of benefits the employee may receive.
It is important that employees who wish to bring their case to an arbitrator not wait too long to do so. This is because an employee only has three years after the injury to file a claim with the Commission, or two years since the last time they received temporary total disability benefits or the last time a medical bill was paid, whichever is later. Once these time limits have passed, workers can no longer file a claim for benefits.
So, workers in Illinois who are injured on-the-job will want to make sure they understand their rights, particularly if their employer refuses to pay them workers’ compensation benefits. While they may have a right to have their claim arbitrated, there is a limited amount of time in which they can pursue this remedy. Workers in such situations can be represented by an attorney if they so choose.