The Illinois Workers Compensation Act provides a no-fault system to compensate Workers for injuries they suffer in the course of employment. The Act covers basically all employees in Illinois with several exceptions: employees of small farms; employees of businesses with payrolls less than one thousand dollars; federal employees; and police officers and firefighters employed by the City of Chicago. Coverage may extend to individuals employed by out of state companies, who were injured in Illinois; individuals who were originally hired in Illinois and traveling employees whose employment required then to work outside the state of Illinois.
Hearings, if necessary, are presided over by an arbitrator and are adversarial. The employer is almost always represented by counsel at these hearings. The arbitrator renders a decision on the disputed issues several weeks after the conclusion of the hearing.. There is no mechanism for trial by jury under the Act.
Most employers are covered by Workers Compensation Insurance. Insurance companies employ hundreds of people who are experienced in the investigation and adjustment claims. Employers who are self-insured for work-related accidents employ trained professional to administer such claims for injury.
Every injury suffered in the course of employment should be reported to a foremen or supervisor as soon as practical. This applies to even the most minor injuries. Minor injuries may be more serious than they initially appear. Although the Workers Compensation Act allows an employee 45 days to report an injury, the longer the employee waits to report the injury,the greater the likelihood of a challenge to the claim. The report of injury may be oral or written. Even when the employee is unsure of the cause of the injury (s)he should still report the injury promptly. Repetitive trauma injuries (such as carpal tunnel syndrome) which develop gradually over time are a prime example.
Physicians, hospitals and other health-care providers obtain a history of the patient's condition of ill-being when the patient presents for treatment. The employee should promptly notify the medical providers of any link the employee suspects between his condition of ill being and his employment. The more detail provided to the medical provider establishing a link between the employment and the condition of ill being, the less likely a challenge to the claim.
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