Know These 5 Things to Get a Fair Workers’ Compensation Settlement
Employees getting injured in the workplace or away from their place of work due to the negligence of the employer are entitled to receiving a settlement through the Workers’ Compensation Act. This refers to monetary compensation that is offered by the employer as a replacement for wages or medical benefits to the injured employee.
However, it is not mandatory that the employer completely accepts and settles the employee’s claim. Similarly, the employee may also disagree with the settlement offered by the employer’s insurance company.
Before pursuing a workers’ compensation settlement, it is important to know the different types of settlements, benefits, and the compensation laws of Illinois to be able to evaluate the claim accordingly and get a fair amount of settlement.
Here are a few factors to be considered by the employers and employees that determine a workers’ compensation settlement.
1) Understand the Workers’ Compensation Statute of Limitations for Illinois
The workers’ compensation Statute of Limitations for Illinois is initiated with the following considerations:
- The employee must inform the employer about the injury within 45 days from the date of sustaining the injury to receive workers’ compensation.
- The claim must be filed with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission (IWCC) within three years from the date of injury or two years from the last payment of compensation.
If the injury is ongoing or recurring and cannot be defined by a particular event, the date of injury is considered as the date on which the person may have realized that the injury is due to workplace negligence.
2) Employer’s Role to Meet the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Requirements
When the employee informs the employer about the injury within 45 days from the date of suffering the injury, the employer must detail the scenario to the workers’ compensation insurance company administrator. If the injured employee is not able to work for more than three days due to the injury, the employer is expected to:
- Pay the employee for his/her services irrespective of the status of the claim with the insurance company.
- Provide an elaborate report detailing any additional documents required for the claim process.
- Provide a detailed explanation about the reason for the denial of any benefits in the claim.
- File the ‘Employer’s First Report of Injury’ with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission (IWCC).
3) Types of Settlements
There are two types of compensation settlements.
- Lump-Sum Settlement: A one-time lump-sum payment is provided by the employer or the insurance company to the injured employee in exchange for an agreed settlement amount to give up certain rights like medical reimbursement for future treatment.
- Structured Settlement: Smaller installments of funds are released at periodic intervals for a predefined time that has been agreed upon by both the parties involved.
4) What to Consider before Accepting a Settlement?
It is important to understand that a settlement is a guaranteed benefit. On denying the settlement offered, the claim will proceed to the workers’ compensation appeal board or the state court. There is a possibility that the court may rule in favor of the employer, leaving the employee with minimal or no benefits.
Furthermore, a settlement is made in exchange for giving up rights like coverage of medical costs for future treatment. If the injury involves frequent doctor visits and expensive medical interference, it is best to rethink about accepting a settlement.
It is best to seek expert advice from workers’ comp lawyers in Illinois who will assess the different settlement possibilities and help choose the most beneficial option.
5) Benefits Included in Workers’ Compensation
The different types of benefits as a part of workers’ compensation are:
- Permanent Partial Disability: When a workplace injury has resulted in a permanent impairment but has not rendered the person completely disabled, the victim is entitled to monetary compensation for the permanent impairment. If the injury has limited the ability of the person to work or if the person cannot get back to his/her pre-injured state, a permanent partial disability compensation can be claimed.
- Permanent Total Disability: If the person is not able to work due to total disability for a period of time, the employer will need to provide permanent total disability benefits. If the employer fails to provide these benefits for a while, he may compensate by offering a lump-sum amount for that particular time to avoid lawsuits.
- Past-Due Temporary Disability: If the employer does not pay temporary disability compensation to the injured employee for a specific period, the total reimbursement amount must include this balance. This is a past-due temporary disability.
- Medical Treatment or Bills: The workers’ compensation claim includes the payment for medical care or treatment for the injury. If the injury is minor, the employee may claim the medical bills as a part of the compensation. This amount is paid as a lump-sum amount from the employer.
- Compensation for Death: If a person dies due to suffering an injury at the workplace, his/her dependents are entitled to receive remuneration under workers’ compensation. The law allows the compensation to be given to the deceased employee’s:
- Children under 18
- Children of any age who are physically/mentally challenged
An eligible dependent is entitled to receive up to two-thirds of the deceased person’s average weekly wage. Payments end after a total amount of $500,000 is paid or after 25 years. This amount obtained from the workers’ compensation can also be utilized for funeral expenses that amount to a maximum of $8,000.
The best way for injured employees to ensure a fair settlement is by negotiating with the employer’s insurance company and finalizing an amount through a lump-sum or structured settlement. The employer must cooperate with the injured employee by providing the required documents and facilitating paperwork with the insurance company. This collaborative approach will help smoothen and speed-up the entire process, thereby helping both the parties involved.