Many Illinois workers know that if they are injured while on the job their employer is required to provide workers’ compensation benefits to cover medical expenses and lost wages. However, Illinois workers may not realize the importance of filing their claim promptly and thoroughly, and that a major component of submitting a claim successfully is preserving and documenting evidence of injuries.
Illinois workers have 45 days from the date of injury or onset of illness to report their workplace incident; however, most Illinois workers’ compensation attorneys will recommend that workers report their injury or illness as soon as possible. Generally, companies will ask injured workers to fill out an accident report. Comply with the requirement, but be sure to completely fill out the form prior to signing it, and make a copy for your own records. Include the date and time of the incident, descriptions of both the accident and the injury, and contact information.
In addition to the accident report, it is important to create and maintain a paper trail of every other claim, report or medical record. Doing so helps preserve the evidence a worker will need to prove his or her claim. If a worker was previously injured and the new workplace injury has aggravated the old injury, this worker may still be eligible for workers’ compensation insurance. For these workers, it is wise to keep copies of medical records that specifically address the aggravated existing injury.
Once a worker has brought a claim to their employer with all the necessary evidence in place, the employer then needs to begin temporary total disability within three days if the worker’s injury prevents him or her from working. If the claim is not approved, employers need to ask an employee for additional information or issue a statement to the worker about why their claim was denied. Preserving evidence will make it more difficult for employers and their insurance companies to deny coverage to workers since well-preserved evidence of a workplace injury gives insurance companies less leeway to deny coverage.
Since a workplace injury can affect a worker’s ability to work long-term, it is important that workers well-document workplace injuries and maintain these records until they return to work. If you or a loved one has been injured in the workplace, it is wise to contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney who can assist you in obtaining necessary documentation and pursuing the compensation you deserve.