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How Long Do I Have To Be Employed To Be Eligible For Workers’ Comp?

While there are many things that can affect eligibility for Illinois workers’ compensation benefits, the length of employment generally isn’t one of them. Coverage is guaranteed on whether you are a non-exempt employee, so if you are covered, you qualify for benefits whether you have worked for an employer for 10 years or 10 days. However, there are some instances where workers’ compensation coverage can exist in a gray area—and insurers may wrongfully deny payment if employees don’t know their rights.

Non-Work Situations in Which Workers’ Compensation May Apply

If you are injured on your employer’s premises while performing your regular job duties, filing a workers’ compensation claim is usually straightforward. Unfortunately, those injured before or after a shift or away from the work environment may be required to prove the validity of their claims—and may be denied medical and wage loss benefits if they are unable to do so.

Some cases where it may be more difficult to get workers’ compensation benefits include injuries that occur:

  • Off the clock. If you are attending an orientation or training session before your workday begins, or are injured on work premises before or after clocking out, you are likely still covered by workers’ compensation.
  • Traveling to or from work. In most cases, daily commutes are not covered by workers’ compensation. However, if the employee was performing a work-related task as part of the commute (such as making a pickup or delivery), workers’ compensation covers the journey.
  • Away from the main working environment. Injuries suffered outside the office, job site, or regular work location may be covered if they are in any way associated with the duties and performance of your job. This can include mandatory meetings as well as sponsored events like company picnics.
  • Under coverage of multiple benefit providers. Some employees may be covered by more than one work injury compensation program, especially if they work in an occupation that involves the overlap of federal and state injury laws.

The important thing to remember is that workers’ compensation coverage applies to any injury that is work-related—no matter when or where it occurs. If you have been injured on the job, contact the experienced workers' compensation attorneys at Tapella & Eberspacher today at (217) 394-5885 or fill out our online contact form to schedule your free consultation.

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