All employers in Illinois have to carry workers’ compensation coverage. If someone gets hurt on the job or their doctor diagnoses them with a work-acquired medical condition, they can file a claim for benefits after notifying their employer.
The average worker in Illinois knows that they can claim benefits for medical issues related to their work, but that might be the extent of what they truly understand about workers’ compensation in Illinois.
Knowing your rights when you need medical care will make it easier for you to get the support you need, especially if your employer is not particularly cooperative.
You receive full coverage
Any medically necessary treatment recommended by the doctor overseeing your care is eligible for full coverage, meaning you won’t pay out of pocket. However, benefits may end or only cover certain expenses once you achieve maximum medical improvement for your condition.
You can likely choose your doctor
In most cases, injured workers or those with a work-related medical condition can choose their own doctor. In fact, they can choose two doctors in case they need a second opinion or their first choice can’t treat them.
However, if your employer has a Preferred Provider Program, which allows the company to limit the options for physicians, there may be limits on your choices. The company will need to provide the injured worker with information about the physicians who participate in their plan. Workers may still be able to choose their own physician if they file the right paperwork with their employer.
You can ask for accommodations before you can go back to work
When you have an open workers’ compensation claim, you can potentially ask your employer for certain accommodations. A change of job responsibilities or assistive technology could allow you to continue working despite your injury.
Your employer typically cannot force you to return to work against medical advice or ignore recommendations from the doctor providing your care. If you require frequent breaks or have limits placed on how much you can lift, your employer should work with you so that you can stay on the job or they should accommodate your needs for a temporary leave of absence.
Workers’ compensation benefits are there to protect you from the practical and financial consequences of getting hurt at work. Learning about your rights and what you need to do to file a claim can help you get the workers’ compensation benefits you need to recover from your injury and get back to work for good.