On its face, the process of receiving workers’ compensation benefits appears to be fairly straightforward. Similar to other insurance mechanisms, the covered party submits a claim and, if the workplace accident matches the coverage, the claim is approved and benefits are awarded. However, because of the potentially high cost of these claims to employers and their insurers, Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys note that claimants may experience significant resistance during the process.
The process of getting a claim approved after a workplace accident can be difficult, stressful and uncertain, so it is important for claimants to use every legal advantage at their disposal, which includes consulting with a Chicago workers’ compensation attorney. After all, claimants can be assured that their competitors, well-funded employers, insurers and their teams of attorneys, will be doing the same.
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In addition to consulting with a Chicago workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible, claimants can also improve their chances for approval by seeking prompt medical care, make sure they report their injury as soon as possible, and gather evidence to show the injury is work-related.
Promptly seek medical care
The Illinois workers’ compensation handbook recommends that the first step for an injured worker is to seek whatever medical care may be necessary to treat the workplace injury. Delaying treatment because of financial reasons or hesitation over whether medical treatment is needed can actually cause further injury damage and complications.
Additionally, seeking medical care promptly represents evidence that the workplace injury is genuine. The injured employee will be able to use medical tests, doctor’s notes and other evidence in the event that the claim is challenged.
Notify the employer and file a claim
After addressing the workplace injury with medical professionals, there are two administrative tasks for which the claimant is responsible. The first is to notify the employer of the injury. A Chicago workers’ compensation attorney would say that, excluding special cases, this must be done within 45 days of the worker’s awareness of the injury. The second task is to file the claim, which typically must be done within three years of the worker’s awareness of the injury.
Prove the causal relationship
Finally, since workers’ compensation is only available for injuries that arise out of the course of employment, the key to a successful claim is to clearly establish the causal relationship between the workplace and the injury. Because proving causality can be difficult and complex, a Chicago workers’ compensation attorney may use the testimony of expert witnesses to help make the causal relationship clear.