Workers’ compensation is an important type of insurance that acts as a safety net when workers suffer job-related injuries or illnesses that prevent them from working and earning gainful wages. Because the medical benefits and wage supplementation provided through workers’ comp is so vital to helping victims recover and make ends meet, it is of the utmost importance that injured workers take steps to ensure their claims are strong and effective the first time around. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen – especially if injured workers tried to handle their claims on their own, or when insurance companies prioritize profits over people.
As Chicago workers’ compensation lawyers who have helped thousands of injured workers and families in Chicago and the state of Illinois since 1996, we know full well how difficult the workers’ comp process can be. We also know that because of these complexities, denied claims are not uncommon. After all, insurance companies that pay out medical and wage replacement benefits are corporations that want to protect their bottom line, which may cause them to deny claims for seemingly simply errors, or simply because they don’t want to pay – even when injured workers are eligible.
If your workers’ compensation claim has been denied, you should understand that you have rights, and that experienced lawyers like those at Leonard Law Group can help. Although every case and denial is different – and while any plan to challenge those denials are tailored to the unique facts and circumstances at hand – we want to help you better understand your rights and what steps you can take after a denied claim:
- Determine why your claim was denied – If you filed a workers’ comp claim that was later denied, you should have been informed in writing as to why. Common reasons insurance companies cite for denials include gaps between the date of injury and when an employer was informed, injuries they claim were not work related, or injuries they claim are not covered by workers’ compensation. By understanding the denial, you can better focus on whether you may be able to appeal it, and what options you have available.
- Explore your options – You have options when it comes to your disagreement with workers’ comp claim denials. This includes your right to file an Application for Adjustment of Claim and request a hearing with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission (WCC). You may also request an emergency Immediate Hearing if you haven’t yet returned to work and have not received lost-time benefits. If no agreeable resolution can be reached through these means, you still have the opportunity to appeal the arbitrator’s decision by filing a Petition for Review within 30 days. Although there are no laws requiring you to have legal representation during the appeals process, it is strongly advised that you do.
- Know what’s required of you – Appealing a denied workers’ comp claim can be even more challenging and legally complex than an initial application. That’s why it becomes important for you to understand what’s needed of you when it comes to submitting appropriate forms and making certain requests. You will also need to be aware of deadlines for making requests – for example, you have only 30 days after the arbitrator’s decision to appeal and file your Petition for Review.
- Speak with a lawyer – One of the most effective ways to ensure you take the proper steps after having your workers’ comp benefits denied is to consult an attorney with experience handling workers’ compensation cases in Illinois. At Leonard Law Group, we know the appeals process and have the insight to help clients understand their rights and options. Because we provide personalized service and handle each claim individually, we can assess the merits of your case and explain what we can do to pursue the benefits you need.
If you or your loved one has had your benefits denied after suffering a work-related injury or illness anywhere in Chicago or the surrounding areas of Illinois, do not hesitate to reach out for the help you need. Leonard Law Group is readily available to review your case during a FREE consultation, and explain what we can do to help. Contact us to get started.