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What’s workers compensation?

Posted by attorney Mitchell Sexner

Workers compensation is justice for the injured worker. It applies whether the employee has worked at a particular place of employment for a day or for their whole life. It applies whether the job is an ultra-hazardous position involving chemicals, construction or industrial machinery or whether the job is an office job that involves only typing. It applies whether the injured worker suffers only a sprain or whether a wrongful death occurs leaving a family behind. In any and all of these circumstances, the injured worker is entitled to be compensated and offered medical services for the harm that occurred while doing his or her job.

In response to overwhelming abuses by employers, our legislature passed the Workers’ Compensation Act which was intended to protect workers from such exploitation and mistreatment. Whereas before this Act it was not uncommon for injured workers to be cast aside and fired without receiving any monetary compensation or medical treatment, the Workers’ Compensation Act aimed to rectify these wrongs. The Illinois Supreme Court has described the purpose of the Act as “…provid(ing) 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 requir(ing) the cost of such injuries to be borne by the industry itself and not by its individual members."

The workers compensation laws exist as an excellent framework intended to provide compensation to the injured worker, but the rules and requirements are far from simple despite what your insurance company may suggest. Certain time limitations exist, known as “Statutes of Limitation", which require that an “Application for Adjustment of Claim" must be filed with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission (known previously as the Illinois Industrial Commission) within a certain time period. Failure to file the claim within this time period will forever bar the injured client from pursuing his or her full rights under the law.

With the proper legal guidance, an injured worker can receive the maximum amount of monetary compensation and all of the medical services or surgeries required. In the case of a wrongful death, an experienced workers compensation attorney can help provide for the future of the worker’s family as well.

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If you or a family member has suffered a accident or injury, we urge you to contact an experienced attorney. Such an attorney will carefully evaluate your case and explain the legal options available to you at no charge.

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