What Should I do when I get Hurt at Work in Illinois?
Document your InjuryAt its most basic level, to recover under the Workers Compensation Act, you only need to prove that you were hurt at work. This means that your employer's most basic defense is to argue that your injury happened elsewhere. How do you prevent them from arguing this successfully?
1) Report the injury to your supervisor as soon as possible.
2) Seek medical treatment immediately.
3) Make sure you tell ALL of your medical doctors that your symptoms started after an incident at work.
4) Write down the facts of the incident as soon as possible. How did the accident happen? Who was there? Who did you report the accident to?
5) Take pictures of the scene and of your injuries. You probably have a camera on your phone.
6) Hire a lawyer right away. Your employer may try to seem like they are going to help you out if you deal with them directly, but their interest is ALWAYS going to be spending as little money as possible on your claim.
Dealing with your Medical CareUnder the Workers Compensation Act, you have the right to be treated by a doctor of your choosing. The employer might send you to a company clinic, but you should always be treated by a doctor who has an obligation to you - not your employer.
1) Choose the best doctor you can find. Your employer has to pay for any medical treatment that is related to the work injury.
2) Make sure you tell your doctor when the symptoms began. Doctors are not magicians. They cannot tell when your pain started. They rely on what you tell them. If your injury occurred at work, make sure they document it.
3) Make sure your doctor gives you a note which states your ability to return to work (Full duty, light duty with restrictions, no work at all). Bring or fax this note to your employer. If your doctor says you cannot work, your employer cannot force you to. Only a hearing before the Illinois Workers Compensation Commission can resolve that question.
4) Hire a lawyer right away.