A work injury can be physically, emotionally, and financially draining. It can disrupt your work-life balance and potentially put your career on hold. However, in the state of Illinois, where workers’ compensation is mandatory for most employers, you are entitled to benefits that can aid in your recovery process. But how do you prove the extent of your injury? Retaining thorough records is the most important thing you can do to strengthen your claim.
Workers’ Compensation In Illinois
If you have been injured on the job in Illinois, you may be entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Workers comp insurance can pay for medical expenses and lost wages resulting from work-related injuries or illnesses. The total compensation an injured worker receives depends on the severity of the injury or illness.
In order to receive benefits, an injured worker must file a claim with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission within 45 days of the date of injury. Once a claim is filed, it will be assigned to an arbitrator who will review the case and determine whether benefits should be paid.
Medical Records Are Key In Workers’ Comp Cases
The arbitrator’s decision to grant workers’ compensation benefits may be denied or delayed without thorough documentation of your injuries and their impact. Accurate and complete records help ensure you receive the full extent of workers’ compensation benefits you are owed. Additionally, if your claim is denied and you dispute the judgment, having access to a comprehensive medical history will be key.
Be sure to keep track of all doctor’s appointments, diagnostic tests, surgeries, and any other treatments you have received as a result of the injury. It is also essential to make a note of any pain or other symptoms you are experiencing daily. Be as specific as possible in describing these symptoms, as this will give your treating physicians a better understanding of what is going on and how best to treat you.
Finally, keep copies of all bills, receipts, and any other documentation related to your medical care. This will not only provide evidence of the financial impact your injuries have had on you and your family but may also be necessary if you need to file for reimbursement from your workers’ compensation insurance carrier.
Other Documentation That Will Strengthen Your Claim
Because wage reimbursement is an aspect of workers’ comp in Illinois, it’s a good idea to keep track of any wage statements or pay stubs that demonstrate that you have lost wages as a result of your injuries. When you are able, you should also document the exact date and time of your accident and write down a detailed description of how the accident occurred while it is still fresh in your mind. If there were other workers present for your injury, make a note of those eyewitnesses.
In short, leaving no stone unturned when collecting documentation surrounding your workplace injury is important. The best case scenario is that the arbitrator will accept your claim, but if it isn’t, the more documentation that you can provide during your dispute, the better. In the immediate aftermath of your injury, it is important to contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney who can help you navigate the filing and documentation process and ensure that you receive the full extent of benefits to which you are entitled.