One of the first questions people have when they have been injured at work is how to begin the process of filing a workers’ compensation claim.
The first thing you should do is report the incident to your supervisor. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act requires an injured worker to notify his or her employer within 45 days of the date of the incident.
Many people who have suffered through everyday soreness and aches after a day on the job initially believe their injury is not that severe, and try to “work through” the pain. However, as soon as you realize your condition is more than the usual aches and pains, you should notify your supervisor immediately of the incident. If you fail to report the incident to your supervisor within 45 days of the date of the incident, no matter how good your intentions were to see if you could simply “work through” the pain, your claim will be time-barred. This means that your claim will be dismissed because you failed to report your injury to your employer in a timely fashion.
If you have been injured, you may wonder what constitutes sufficient notice to the employer, and whether you can file a claim if you do not fill out an incident report within a certain time period after the incident.
Your notification to your supervisor can be oral or written, as long as it is made within the 45 day time limitation.
You do not need to fill out a formal incident report in order to preserve your right to file a workers’ compensation claim. Be sure to provide your supervisor with a clear oral report of the date of injury, the way you were injured, and the type of injury you have suffered. This will ensure that you have provided sufficient notice to your employer under the Act. However, you should take steps to make sure your report is noted by the employer, such as making sure more than one supervisor knows of your injury. Once you have reported the incident to your supervisor, a claim will be filed by your employer with their workers’ compensation insurance carrier. You will probably be contacted by your company’s Human Resources Department, or even an adjuster from your employer’s insurance company.
While you are encouraged to be cooperative with these people, you should first consult an attorney who specializes in workers’ compensation cases.
Injured workers often believe that, once they notify their supervisor of the work injury, they have done everything necessary to preserve their right to a workers’ compensation award. However, just because you have made your employer aware of the work injury does not mean you have preserved your right to an award.
In order to preserve that right, you must file an Application for Adjustment of Claim with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission.
The Commission also has rules regarding the time within which a claim must be filed. You must file your Application with the Commission within three years of the date of your injury, or within two years of the last day your employer provides you with any benefits, such as payment of your medical bills, or salary payments while you are off work and receiving medical treatment. Again, if you do not file your Application with the Commission within these time limits, your claim will be barred.
Making claims to the proper authorities can be a complicated process, and can result in your claim being dismissed if the deadlines are not met. If you have been injured in a work accident, you should report the situation to your employer right away, seek appropriate medical attention, and speak to an attorney experienced in workers’ compensation matters as soon as possible to help you file the proper claims within these time deadlines. The Tapella & Eberspacher team has the experience you need on your side. Call us at (217) 394-5885 to schedule your free consultation.