Accidents can happen anywhere, but if they occur in the workplace it’s important to understand your rights and responsibilities. In almost all states, most employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, either through a third-party or a self-insurance program. This insurance provides benefits to employees if they’re hurt on the job, such as medical care and in some cases money to cover the costs of living while out of work. The injury doesn't have to be a wound, either — it can be an occupational disease.
If you've suffered a workplace injury or illness, there are precise steps that you should take in order to make sure you're compensated adequately:
1. Seek medical attention. Getting treated by your doctor or health care provider validates your injury. You may have to also see your employer's healthcare provider, but getting seen by both is always a good idea.
2. Let your supervisor know about the injury right away. In Illinois, you have 45 days from the date of the injury to inform your employer of what happened. Not doing so in this timeframe can significantly reduce the amount of compensation you're eligible to receive. While this notification can be done verbally, it's in your best interest to provide a written copy as well. Your report should include that date and location.
3. If you miss more than three days of work as a result of your injury, your employer must file an accident report to the Illinois' Workers' Compensation Commission. At that point, they should provide you with one of the following:
- temporary total disability payments,
- a document requesting additional information about your accident, or
- a document stating your benefits are denied and why.