Technically, job injury victims must immediately report their conditions to their supervisors. But the answer to this question often depends on the type of injury.
Some victims sustain trauma injuries, such as a fall. If that’s the case, report your injury straightaway, even if you do not “feel” injured. If you suffer no ill effects, you may withdraw the claim in the future. But if you do not immediately report it, a Rockford personal injury attorney may have a hard time obtaining fair compensation.
Other victims experience back pain, hearing loss, carpal tunnel syndrome and other occupational diseases. Most victims do not rush to the doctor the moment they feel sore. Also, most victims do not connect injuries like these to work-related conditions.
So, a variation of the discovery rule generally applies in these cases. Typically, victims do not need to report their injuries until they are aware of the full extent of their injuries and they link those injuries to a job-related misfortune.
Illinois law is a little unclear as to the nature of this notice. Oral notification is insufficient. Email notice may not pass the test either. The best approach is to give your supervisor a piece of paper which gives some general details, such as date, time, and place, about the trauma injury or disease diagnosis.
The stakes are very high in workers’ compensation cases. As part of the grand bargain between workers and management, injured victims need not prove fault to obtain compensation for:
- Medical Bills: This category includes all reasonably necessary medical expenses, from the first day of hospitalization to the last day of physical therapy. If victims reach their Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) level before they fully recover, alternative compensation may be available.
- Lost Wages: Generally, victims who sustain temporary disabilities are entitled to two-thirds of their average weekly wage. Victims who must accept light duty or other alternative work as they recover usually receive two-thirds of the difference between their previous and new salaries.
The “average weekly wage” is not always easy to calculate. This figure includes both regular cash compensation and irregular non-cash compensation, such as performance bonuses and housing allowances.
Additionally, the workers’ compensation payout must account for salary changes. Assume an NFL player is injured during the last week of training camp. His injury settlement should be based on his in-season compensation, which is substantial – not his preseason compensation, which is almost nothing.
To File or Not to File
It’s always important to file a workers’ compensation claim. Otherwise, victims may be ineligible for compensation.
Employers discourage such filings because they drive up workers’ compensation insurance premiums. Commonly, employers promise to pay medical bills under the table if the victim does not file a claim. When the employer reneges on this promise, as will almost inevitably happen, the claims deadline may have passed, and victims may have no legal recourse.
Also, it is illegal to discriminate against workers because they file workers’ compensation claims. This prohibition includes firing the worker or denying a promotion. It also includes things like an unfair write-up or an unfavorable job transfer.
So, if you file a claim, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Contact Tenacious Attorneys
Pay close attention to the claim’s deadline. Details like these often affect the claim’s outcome. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Rockford, contact Fisk & Monteleone, Ltd. You have a limited amount of time to act.