What to Expect in a Workers’ Compensation Claim

What to Expect in a Workers’ Compensation Claim

About a hundred years ago, workers and management agreed on the Grand Bargain. Injured workers gave up their right to sue in court. Management funded a no-fault insurance system which sped financial relief to injured workers.

Today, workers’ compensation is radically different in many ways. The same compensation is still available. Injured workers need not prove negligence or fault to obtain compensation for their economic losses. But the system itself is much different. Many victims wait years for their benefits. When they receive them, the amount is often unfair.

A Chicago workers’ compensation attorney helps ensure that you get the benefits you deserve. Injured workers need economic benefits, like medical bill payment and wage replacement, so they can get back to work quickly. After all, that is what everyone wants in these situations.

Filing the Claim

If you sustained a trauma injury at work, adhering to the claims deadline is usually not a problem. Trauma injuries include things like falls, motor vehicle crash injuries, and electrocutions. 

Occupational diseases, such as breathing problems, are often a different matter. These conditions occur slowly over time. Furthermore, most people do not run to see a doctor as soon as their chests are a little tight. So, by the time these conditions are properly diagnosed, the claims deadline has probably long since passed.

A variation of the discovery rule normally protects these individuals. Typically, job injury victims need not file claims until they know the full extent of their injuries and they connect those injuries to their work environments.

The claims deadline varies according to the workers’ compensation policy terms. However, it is usually about 10 days from the date of injury. The notice usually must be in writing, a phone call will not suffice. A text message or email might not suffice either.

Initial Review

Within a few weeks, a Claims Examiner formally evaluates the case. This evaluation is largely based on the medical bills, and perhaps a witness statement or two.

Most Claims Examiners deny most requests for benefits, at least in part. Essentially, they hope claimants will give up and either abandon their claims or settle them for pennies on the dollar.

So, an initial denial does not mean that you will not be able to get the relief you need. . It simply means you have the right to go to the next level. The sooner that right appears, the closer you are to fair compensation for your serious injury.

Appeal Hearing

At an appeal hearing, a Chicago workers’ compensation attorney can introduce evidence, challenge evidence, and make legal arguments. As a result, you have a much better chance of winning. Unlike the initial paper review, an appeal hearing is an open forum.

Most workers’ compensation claims settle out of court. So, your lawyer needs to be more than a good litigator. Your lawyer must also be a good negotiator.

Reach Out to an Experienced Lawyer

Job injury benefits are available, but they are not easy to obtain. For a free consultation with an experienced Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer, contact the Law Office of Mitchell A. Kline.