Workplaces with toxic substances and hazardous chemicals around the premises create unique hazards for workers. Staying within close proximity of certain materials or breathing in dangerous particulates can lead to a number of serious health conditions. In recognition of the unique nature of workplace exposure hazards, Illinois has created somewhat unique statutes of limitations for workers’ compensation claims filed by workers who have fallen ill due to continued or large-scale exposure.
Under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act and the Workers’ Occupational Diseases Act, workers’ comp claims related to toxic exposure can be filed within 25 years of the last incident of exposure. This extensive filing limit is meant to accommodate workers who have been exposed to asbestos and radioactive substances that often do not start causing symptoms until well into the future. However, a somewhat recent legislative change from Senate Bill 1569 has allowed even that statute of limitations to be ignored in certain and severe cases, such as for workers who are suffering from cancer.
Filing a Claim After Compensation is Received
Illinois also has a unique consideration for workers’ compensation claims after compensation has already been paid to an injured or ill worker. A claim can only be filed within 2 years of having last received a compensation payment.
This unusual situation could come up if you were provided workers’ compensation benefits and payments from your employer after falling ill due to toxic workplace exposure. However, you require additional medical benefits later as your illness progresses, but the insurance company says that your benefits have ended or no longer apply. At that point, you could file a workers’ compensation claim to demand additional benefits, as long as two years have not passed since the last payment was provided.
How Long Will Benefits Last?
In most cases, workers’ compensation benefits provided for any reason – be it workplace exposure or a physical injury – will last for five years at max. Benefits can also end early if the claimant turns 67. At either point, the claimant will need to consider using permanent disability benefits instead.
The limitation to the duration of workers’ comp benefits is problematic for people who have fallen ill due to toxic workplace exposure. Unlike many types of physical injuries, illnesses from toxic exposures often linger for years or can be permanent. Only five years of workers’ compensation benefits might only feel like a small help when all things are considered.
Seek as Much Compensation as Possible
Leonard Law Group is always happy to hear from clients who require our help with a difficult workers’ compensation claim, like those involving toxic on-the-job exposure. We have decades of legal experience to put to good use for people just like you. From our law office in Chicago, we assist and represent clients throughout the state. Contact us now to arrange a free, confidential consultation with our attorneys.