Worker’s Compensation Basics You Need to Know

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About 200,000 employees within the state of Illinois were injured on the job in 2015. Less than 25% of those injuries were claimed as compensable worker’s compensation claims. Lost time at a job means a loss of income for many people. Without sufficient income, it can be hard to pay regular bills, let alone new medical bills. Many employees may be too afraid to file a claim for worker’s compensation or simply do not know that their workplace has insurance to cover them. Knowing whether or not an employee is eligible is the first step on a road to recovery.

Employee vs. Independent Contractor

It is very important that a business understands if they are paying an employee or an independent contractor to do work. If a company hires an employee who becomes injured on the job, the company’s worker’s compensation insurance usually covers the employee’s disability. However, if the company does not have worker’s compensation insurance, they stand to absorb immense losses in fines and lawsuits. Likewise, it is important that a worker understands where they fall on the spectrum of employment. A worker is considered an employee when their employer decides where, how, and when the job must be performed, even though the worker has the flexibility to perform the job without constant supervision. Generally speaking, a worker is considered an independent contractor when their actions and job performance cannot be regulated by an employer. Employees are covered by the Worker’s Compensation Act, while independent contractors are not. It is important that a worker reads all contracts carefully before signing paperwork to start a job. Sometimes people think that they are employees when they are really independent contractors. As with workers who consider themselves independent contractors, the conditions of the job may allow them to be classified as employees, and therefore covered by worker’s compensation.

What Worker’s Compensation Covers

Worker’s compensation covers various aspects of the damages caused to an employee. It covers the income that an employee is unable to make while away from work. The compensation reimburses or pays for any medical expenses ranging from diagnosis to treatment of the disability. Rehabilitation to continue work or training for a new position within the company is also covered. Worker’s compensation does not cover an injury that required only first aid and did not interfere with the job performance.

Does My Workplace Have Worker’s Compensation Insurance?

It is a law that as soon as a company hires someone who is not an owner of the company, and therefore not self-employed, they must purchase worker’s compensation insurance as a separate insurance from their Business Owners Policy. While an employee does not pay for the worker’s compensation insurance premium, it is still beneficial for the employee to understand how it is calculated. The premium is determined by a combination of the employees’ salary, the risk of the workplace (taking into consideration any toxins and dangerous equipment for example), and the risk of the location of the workplace (currently taken into consideration due to terrorist attacks in high traffic areas).

How Do I File a Claim for Worker’s Compensation?

An employee can let their employer know of a work related injury either in written or verbal form, as both are taken as formal notifications. Once this happens, the employer must give the employee written information about how to file a claim within the company. The company will also provide a form for the employee to complete to formally file the claim. If the company does not give the employee a form to file a claim, the employee should report this to their state’s worker’s compensation commissioner. Getting an attorney as soon as one considers filing a claim is advantageous because an experienced attorney can guide the client through the process, submit all of the required legal paperwork, and then advocate the client’s interest in an experienced, responsible way.

Worker’s Compensation Cases at Our Law Firm

Even if you are unsure whether or not you are an employee or independent contractor, you should contact a worker’s compensation attorney to discuss your options to determine whether you can pursue a claim to cover time off from work and medical expenses. At the Law Offices of Edward P. Graham, Ltd., our workers’ compensation attorneys possess the experience and proven successes in prosecuting worker’s compensation claims. Our goal remains to achieve justice through effective advocacy.

With nearly 25 years of experience in representing personal injury clients, the Law Offices of Edward P. Graham, Ltd. can act promptly and effectively to protect your interests if you’ve been injured as a result of a defective product or the negligence, reckless, or intentional actions of others.

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