Occasionally, a huge settlement in a workers’ compensation case makes the news. What you see in the media might make you think that workers’ compensation laws apply only to catastrophic injuries resulting from industrial accidents. Actually, many workers’ compensation cases are much more mundane and less dramatic. Here are four things you might not know about workers’ compensation laws in Illinois, unless, of course, you are a personal injury lawyer who deals with workers’ compensation cases.
Illinois Was One of the First States to Pass Workers’ Compensation Legislation
In the popular imagination, the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 was the most famous fire in Chicago history. Even people who have never been to Chicago know the story of how Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys wrote a piece of music about the fire for Smile, the album meant to encapsulate American music and culture, but then he destroyed the master tapes because the music sounded disturbingly too much like a real conflagration. It was two other fires in Illinois that led to the state’s first worker’s compensation law in 1912. One happened in a coal mine in 1909, and the other was the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of 1911. Illinois was only the second state to adopt workers’ compensation legislation, after Wisconsin.
Most Workers’ Compensation Settlements Are for Temporary Injuries
You do not have to be permanently disabled from a work injury to receive workers’ compensation. In Illinois, the most common injuries for which workers receive workers’ compensation settlements are swelling and pain at the site of a traumatic injury, bone fractures, and sprains. All of these are treatable injuries, and in most of these cases, the workers were able to return to work within three months.
Worker’s Compensation Is Not Just for Traumatic Injuries
Most recipients of workers’ compensation settlements are people injured in accidents at work, but accidental injuries are not the only afflictions covered by workers’ compensation. You can also receive workers’ compensation for occupational diseases, such as the lung diseases often suffered by coal miners or by people who work with asbestos. If you are injured in an assault at work, even though assault does not fit the strictest definition of an accident, you can still receive workers’ compensation.
Workers’ Compensation Has a Short Statute of Limitations
To be eligible to receive workers’ compensation payments, you must report the injury to your employer no more than 45 days after the accident or assault that resulted in the injury. If the workers’ compensation claim is for an occupational disease, you must report it within 45 days of receiving the diagnosis.
Contact Walton Telken, LLC About Workers’ Compensation Cases
A personal injury attorney can help if your employer refuses to pay workers’ compensation to you for your work-related injury or illness. You could receive compensation for your medical expenses and your lost income. Contact Walton Telken, LLC in the Edwardsville, Illinois area to discuss your case.