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Illinois Workers' Compensation Laws

Whether you work in a Chicago high-rise, along the shores of Lake Michigan, or in the stands at Wrigley Field, every Illinois employee is at risk of being injured. Luckily, the state's workers' compensation law requires employers to purchase insurance that covers work-related injuries and occupational diseases regardless of fault; but it can also prohibit an employee from filing a lawsuit against the employer. If you've suffered a work-place injury or illness, you'll need to learn about your rights and obligations for pursuing workers' compensation in Illinois.

The table below outlines key aspects of the workers' compensation laws in Illinois, including some types of benefits and important timelines.

Illinois Workers' Compensation Laws at a Glance

Understanding the legal minutae of state laws often requires the expertise and training of a lawyer, although it's important to understand how laws affect us. The following provides a straightforward summary of Illinois workers' compensation laws, with links to the applicable statutes.

Important Deadlines
Some Types of Benefits
  • Medical care: care reasonably required to cure or relieve employee of effects of the injury (Ch. 820, Sec. 305/8(a))
  • Temporary total disability: compensate worker totally disabled from work for a temporary period of time (Ch. 820, Sec. 305/8(b))
  • Temporary partial disability: benefits while employee is recovering from injury but working light duty for less compensation (Ch. 820, Sec. 305/8(a))
  • Permanent partial disability: compensate for permanent damage even if employee returns to work (Ch. 820, Sec. 305(c))
  • Permanent total disability: compensate employee rendered permanently unable to work (Ch. 820, Sec. 305/8(f) & (g))
  • Death benefits: for surviving family members if employee dies from work-related injury or disease (Ch. 820, Sec. 305/8(b) & (g))
Employer Obligations
  • Employers with one or more employees are required to obtain & post notice of workers' compensation insurance (with limited exceptions) (Ch. 820, Sec.305/1);
  • Employer must report injury to Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission once employee misses more than three workdays (Ch. 820, Sec. 305/6(b))

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

What to Do After an Injury

If you've suffered a work-related injury or illness, you should seek medical treatment and inform your employer as soon as possible. Notice should be given to the employer within 45 days; it can be oral or in writing, and should include the approximate date and location of the accident. Once you've missed more than three days because of your injury, your employer must submit an accident report to the Commission and do one of the following:

  • Begin payments of temporary total disability; or
  • Give you written explanation of additional information the employer needs; or
  • Give you written explanation of why benefits are being denied

What Should I Do if My Claim Is Denied?

If your claim is denied or there is a dispute regarding benefits, you should file a claim with the Commission and request a hearing within three years of becoming disabled, or within two years after the date of the last payment of compensation, whichever is later. You bear the burden of showing the Commission that you sustained the accidental injury in the course of your employment.

Research the Law

  • Illinois Law - Information about Illinois statutes, including those pertaining to criminal, family, employment, and injury law.
  • Official State Codes - Links to the official online statutes (laws) in all 50 states and DC.

Injured and Overwhelmed? An Attorney can Help

Workers' compensation can be a huge factor in recovering from an injury or illness, but it also involves strict deadlines and copious documentation. An attorney familiar with the workers' compensation laws in Illinois can help you navigate the system. Find a Illinois personal injury attorney near you to get started.

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