Many employees injured in Illinois are unaware of their right to workers’ compensation benefits. While some employers begin providing benefits to workers injured on the job, they often do not inform them of their rights under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act and have no legal obligation to do so. If you get hurt while in the course of your employment in Illinois, you are generally entitled to three benefits. The first benefit is that your employer’s workers compensation insurance carrier must pay for the cost of medical care that is both reasonable and necessary to treat the injuries sustained on the job. Illinois law requires that most every employer in the state obtain workers’ compensation insurance and an employer who knowingly fails to do so is guilty of a Class 4 felony. An employer who fails to maintain workers’ compensation insurance coverage can be subject to criminal charges and a significant fine levied by the Illinois Attorney General’s Office. The second benefit to which injured employees are entitled is known as temporary total disability, or TTD. An employee is entitled to TTD if their treating physician indicates they are unable to return to work while receiving medical treatment for the injury sustained on the job. Temporary total disability is paid at 66% of the employee’s average weekly wage. If the employee’s physician states that he or she can return to work with restrictions, or can perform “light duty,” the employer must provide a job to the injured worker within the stated restrictions. If the employer does not have a job for the employee within these restrictions, the employee is entitled to collect TTD benefits. Once an injured worker reaches maximum medical improvement, or “MMI,” the employee is entitled to a permanency award under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. Generally speaking, this is the third and final benefit. An award of permanency is very much based on a formula and depends on what part of the body the employee has injured. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act assigns various weekly values to different body parts (i.e. arm, leg, hand, foot, etc.). The number of weeks to which the employee is entitled is negotiable and depends on the nature, extent and permanency of the injury. The weekly value is then multiplied by 60% of the employee’s average weekly wage to determine the amount of the permanency benefit. This is the most common way an employee is compensated for permanency and is known as a scheduled injury. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act provides for other ways in which an employee can be compensated for the permanent nature of their injury. These situations would include those in which an employee is considered permanently and totally disabled and unable to return to any employment as well as those situations where an employee, at the conclusion of medical treatment, has permanent restrictions that prevent the employee from returning to their prior employment. If you have been injured while working in the State of Illinois and want to insure that you receive all the benefits provided by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act please call us at (847) 244-0111.