What to Do After a Work Injury
Work injuries are prevalent. In fact, in 2015, there were almost 3 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported by private industry employers. This number doesn’t account for the thousands of injuries that probably went unreported by either employee or employer. If you are injured on the job, it’s important to take the following steps to ensure you get compensated if you need to take time off to recover from your injury.
Step 1: Report Your Injury Right Away
As soon as you are injured at work, you should make sure to report it to your supervisor. The notification will start the benefits process and will satisfy the 45-day notice requirement needed in Illinois. If you don’t notify your employer of the injury within 45 days, your benefits will likely be denied. The best way to inform your employer is in writing, whether by letter or in an e-mail. Make sure to keep a copy of the missive for your own records.
Step 2: Be Honest
There are a lot of steps to an Illinois workers’ compensation case. You will likely need to tell your story several times, so be honest about where and when you were injured to prevent people from poking holes in your story. This rule is particularly important when you are speaking with your attorney. Every aspect of the case might be potentially relevant, so make sure your lawyer is well-informed.
Step 3: See a Doctor
Even if your injury is relatively minor, such as a mild concussion, you should see your doctor as soon as possible. All of your medical expenses are covered by workers’ compensation insurance as long as your treatments are reasonable and related to your work injury. Seeing a doctor is not only beneficial to your health, but it will strengthen your case if your employer’s insurance company attempts to deny your workers’ compensation claim. Your health should be your number 1 priority, so make sure to seek help rather than playing the “tough guy.”
Step 4: Keep a Journal
Keeping a written account of your injury and its repercussions is a good way to document how the damage is affecting your day-to-day life. It can also help you recollect information. Write down how and when you were injured, whether or not there were any witnesses, and who was notified (if you have several supervisors). You can also keep track of your interactions with your employer and his or her insurance carrier regarding your benefits. Any changes to your health, good or bad, should be written down. This journal will provide a reliable record in case your claim is challenged.
Step 5: Hire a Skilled Attorney
If you’re interested in hiring an attorney to represent your case, make sure he or she has handled many workers’ compensation cases successfully in the past. Lawyers who focus on workers’ compensation in particular interact often with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission and its decision makers, which might mean they’ve developed personal relationships with those individuals that could give the case a head start.
Step 6: Communicate with Your Lawyer
Once you’ve decided to hire an attorney, make sure to give him or her as many details about your story as possible. Afterwards, keep your attorney up to date on any changes in your case, including your health status. The best way to do this is to write everything down. Without the full story, your case could suffer.
If you’re ready to begin a workers’ compensation case, don’t hesitate to call us. Our skilled Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys are dedicated to representing the victims of work injuries. If your injury will prevent you from working for an extended period of time, make sure you’re covered. Leonard Law Group operates on a contingency fee basis, meaning you don’t pay any upfront costs for legal representation; rather, once your case is favorably resolved, a percentage of your winnings will be used to reimburse us for our legal advocacy. Let us see what we can do for you.
Contact us at (312) 487-2513 or fill out our online form to schedule your free case consultation today.