The pain of a work-related injury can be physically debilitating. And, the worry about lost wages and the high cost of medical care can disrupt your plans, complicate your life and cause significant mental stress. Often, people injured on the job can be even more stressed worrying about what to do, and not do, next.
“Should I tell my employer?”
“Do I tell my immediate boss or go to Human Resources?”
“Will my employer be mad at me if I tell them I’ve been injured?”
“How do I know if an attorney is qualified to handle my case?”
These are all normal and legitimate concerns.
So, what can you do?
Take a few important steps to ensure you are awarded the benefits and compensation you are entitled to.
- If your injury requires immediate medical attention call a doctor or call 911 if need be. Worry about your health first and everything else second.
- Write down the date, time, location and other details you can remember about the accident. Did any co-workers witness the incident? If yes, write down their names. Were there any factors that caused your accident? Write those down as well. Nothing fancy required here, write it on a napkin if you have to, but write the details down immediately.
- Report the accident to your employer, or the incident of illness related to your work, as quickly as possible. Delay in reporting the incident may affect your case.
- If your injury was not an emergency requiring immediate attention, you still need to see a doctor and explain how the accident or illness occurred.
- Be truthful about the accident. Exaggeration of the circumstances will diminish your credibility.
- After initially reporting your case to your employer, don’t discuss it with them anymore until you talk to a qualified attorney.
- Remember worker’s compensation cases have deadlines for when they must be filed. The sooner you talk to an attorney the sooner you’ll be able to determine if you have a case and your attorney can guide you on the deadlines involved.
Protection and Benefits
The state of Illinois protects its workers through the Workers Compensation Act.
If you have been discouraged from making a compensation claim from your employer, co-workers, friend or family it’s important to contact a qualified workers compensation attorney as soon as possible. Most qualified workers compensation attorneys won’t charge you to discuss your case so you’ve got nothing to lose. Illinois work comp cases are filed with the Illinois Workers Compensation Commission and tried by an arbitrator. Your case may also go before a panel of commissioners for review. These proceedings can be complicated and overwhelming but a qualified attorney will help you through everything.
At Walton Telken we’ve recovered millions of dollars for lost wages, lost personal, sick and vacation time, as well as medical bills and temporary and permanent total disability. Additionally, depending on the type of work you do and where you do it, your case may be covered by additional federal and state laws. For example, men and women who work on our rivers and waterways may be covered by the Jones Act. Or, your injury may also be the result of a defective product. In these cases you will need an attorney with experience handling not only workers compensation but also the Jones Act and product liability cases or you could jeopardize your chances of recovering all the damages you deserve.
You are entitled to fair compensation for your injuries if you were injured at work and/or your physical ability to perform work-related tasks has been impaired. Whether you call us, the lawyers at Walton Telken, or another firm please make sure you retain an attorney with documented experience, proven results and someone who will not charge you unless they collect on your behalf.
How do I know if my attorney is qualified to handle a work comp case? Read our next blog post.