In general employees in Illinois perform their basic job duties without incident. However, even the most careful employees can find themselves injured in workplace accidents. Employers here are obligated to take certain steps in the workers’ compensation process after they receive notice that a worker has been injured on the job. First, the employer must provide first aid or other medical services, if necessary. Second, the employer must inform their workers’ compensation administrator or their insurance carrier that the incident occurred. Employers must do this even if they want to dispute the worker’s claim.
If the worker is unable to return to his or her job for more than three days due to the incident, the employer must start paying the worker temporary total disability benefits. If the employer is not going to pay benefits at this time, it must provide the worker with an explanation in writing of what information the employer needs before it will start paying workers’ comp, or alternatively, why the employer is denying the worker’s claim for benefits entirely.
If an employer refuses to pay an injured worker workers’ comp, then the worker or the worker’s lawyer should contact the employer directly to ascertain the reason for the denial of benefits. Sometimes, the situation simply boils down to poor communication or misunderstandings. But, if this does not work, then the worker can file a claim with the Commission.
Workers who are injured on the job deserve fair compensation if their injury keeps them out of work for an extended period of time. Workers’ compensation benefits are meant to be a financial safety net during a difficult time. Workers who believe their employer did not fulfill its duties with regards to workers’ compensation benefits or workers who believe they were wrongfully denied benefits will want to seek guidance to determine what steps to take next.