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What to do if you are in an accident at work

Working in industries such as manufacturing, construction or landscaping come with many risks that put your health at risk. If you are injured, you may face high medical bills and be unable to work for an extended period of time. You may wonder how you will be able to afford your mortgage or even your weekly grocery bills.

Luckily, workers injured on the job, or injured due to work-related conditions, can apply for workers’ compensation benefits through their employer. The benefits may cover medical bills, lost wages or permanent partial disabilities sustained from the injury. Unfortunately, employees in the state of Illinois are not eligible to receive benefits for pain and suffering. What should you do if you are injured at work?

Protect yourself by filing for workers’ compensation

Filing for workers’ compensation is not the same as suing your employer. Employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance to aid their employees, so submitting a workers’ compensation claim is similar to submitting an insurance claim. Your employer cannot fire you, or otherwise retaliate against you, for submitting a claim. If an employer negatively responds to your claim, reach out to an attorney who can protect your legal rights.

If you sustain a work-related injury, you should:

  1. Document the incident. Write down exactly what happened, when the incident occurred and take down the names of any witnesses. You may need to use your notes to remember and explain small details of the incident for months to come.
  2. Receive medical attention. Have a doctor examine your injuries, and you should document any health problems. Keep a weekly journal of your injuries and how they are healing. You may need to use your notes to confirm the extent of your injuries and to determine how much compensation you should receive.
  3. Submit a claim to your employer. Notify your employer of your injury as soon as possible. In Illinois, workers typically have 3 years from the date of injury to file a claim for workers’ compensation. However, you should file your claim immediately in order to start receiving benefits as soon as possible. Once you submit a claim, it is your employer’s responsibility to move the claim forward.

If your employer fails to submit your claim to the workers’ compensation commissioner’s office, or your employer challenges the validity of your claim, contact an attorney who can evaluate your case and help you gain the compensation that you deserve.

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