Why Do Workers’ Compensation Laws Vary From State To State?

Why Do Workers’ Compensation Laws Vary From State To State?Workers’ compensation is insurance that provides medical benefits and wage replacements to injured workers. If your employer denies your claim to these benefits, you can sue them for negligence with help from Cook County workers’ compensation lawyers. Since Congress allows each state to determine benefits, each has distinct workers’ compensation laws and claim requirements.

How Different States Offer Workers’ Compensation

In some states, businesses provide workers’ comp through a state fund, while others can also use self-insurance options. Then some allow employers to choose between private insurance, state funds, and self-insurance.

The minimum benefits that injured employees are eligible for can differ from one state to another. Businesses have options via various rates depending on their industry classification and other factors.

Determining the exact benefits can be challenging if you work in different states for the same employer. The differences make compliances a moving target, preventing you from getting the compensation or benefits you deserve.

How Geographical Issues Affect Workers’ Compensation

Since Congress gives states autonomy to determine their benefits with no federal minimums, workers who live across state lines from one another face different outcomes, even if they sustain the same injuries. Consider the case of Jeremy Lewis and Josh Potter, for instance.

Both men lived less than 80 miles from one another, and both lost a portion of their left arm in a machinery accident. However, while Lewis received $45,000 in workers’ compensation for his injuries, Potter fared much better with $740,000 in benefits.

The massive difference in benefits came down to the state they lived in. Lewis lived and worked in Alabama, which is notorious for criminally low workers’ comp benefits. On the other hand, Potter amassed a fortune in benefits because he lived in Georgia, which is quite generous in comparison.

The sharp disparity may seem unfair, but it also highlights the discriminatory practices that govern workers’ compensation in the country. Each state has a schedule of benefits that divide the human body like a prize beef chart. Every part has its own compensation rate, and workers are awarded only part of their wages up to the maximum allowed by their state for a specific number of weeks. That is why the final amounts can differ significantly between states.

Contact Our Cook County Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Today!

If your employer denied you workers’ compensation in Illinois after you were injured at work, contact experienced Cook County workers’ compensation lawyers. The attorneys at The Law Offices of Robert T. Edens have two decades of experience representing hardworking individuals like you who want to take care of their families and ensure a solid future.

We have recovered millions of dollars in compensation for our clients. So if you or someone you know has been injured, contact our experienced team for a consultation today! If you wait for your employer to do the right thing, you will miss out on claims that can replace your wages as you heal at home or in the hospital. Do you think you can recover after that loss? Don’t pay out of pocket for the compensation you deserve from your employer.

Who Decides If You Qualify for Workers’ Compensation?

Worker's CompensationAll businesses operating in Illinois with employees are required to sign up for worker’s compensation insurance. This also includes businesses that only hire part-time employees. According to Illinois law, employers have to purchase a policy from an insurance company or get permission to self-insure.

What Does Workers’ Compensation Cover?

Worker’s compensation, also known as worker’s comp, only covers job-related injuries, such as:

  • Injury caused by the repetitive or continuous use of a body part at work
  • Heart attack caused by work
  • Stroke caused by work
  • Other physical harm caused by work
  • Pre-existing conditions aggravated by work

Some injuries not covered in worker’s compensation are:

  • Injuries at non-mandatory recreation events, such as softball games or company picnics.
  • Accidents during an alcohol or drug rehabilitation program.

Who Decides If You Qualify for Workers’ Compensation?

After you have filed for a worker’s comp claim, an arbitrator will be allocated to your case, and you will be given a case number. Once this happens, your case will be re-examined every 60 days in a status call.

When you receive a status call, you can either ask for a hearing or inform the arbitrator that you are negotiating a settlement with the insurance company. If you request a hearing, the arbitrator will set a trial date within 30 days of your request.

During the hearing, the arbitrator will listen as you and your employer state your case regarding why you should or shouldn’t get worker’s comp benefits. After the arbitrator has heard both sides of the story, he/she will communicate the decision to you within 60 days.

Thus, it is essentially the arbitrator who decides if you qualify for worker’s compensation or not.

Last Few Words

Getting injured at work isn’t just physically painful, but financially burdensome as well. The cost of surgeries, operations, medications, and visits to the doctor can take up a fair share of your hard-earned savings. Moreover, the travel expenses to and from a medical facility to receive treatment can also be exorbitantly high.

Thus, you need to make sure you timely file for a worker’s comp claim and receive the benefits you are entitled to.

Personal Injury Attorney

If you need any assistance in filing a worker’s comp claim, get in touch with us at the Law Offices of Robert T. Edens for a consultation today. We can represent you in court and ensure you receive a fair amount of damages. We aim to lower your monetary burden and ensure that you stay financially stable. See more on our Illinois Workers’ Compensation FAQs page.


Is There A Time Limit for Workers’ Compensation Claims?

Workers' Compensation Claim FormMost people who get injured at their workplace don’t know that their ability to receive benefits is bound by the Illinois statute of limitations for workers’ compensation claims. The statute of limitations is basically a deadline before which a claim needs to be filed. If the injured party fails to file a claim before the deadline mentioned in the statute, then they will not be entitled to receive the benefits.

The Statute of Limitations For Workers’ Compensation Claims

In Illinois, there are two deadlines that injured employees need to meet in order to maintain their eligibility for worker’s compensation benefits. The first deadline is for the reporting of the injury and the second one for filing a claim for benefits.

1. Deadline to Report the Injury

According to Illinois law, all injured workers who want to file a worker’s comp claim have to report their injury to their employer within 45 days of the accident. However, it’s not advised to wait out the entire 45-day period and you should ideally report your injury within an hour of it happening.

On the other hand, if you’re suffering from an occupational illness instead of a job-related injury, the 45-day deadline doesn’t apply. In this case, you need to inform your employer about your condition as soon as you become aware of it.

2. Deadline to File A Claim

Reporting your illness or injury is not the same as filing a claim for worker’s compensation benefits. After you report your injury or illness, you will have to file an Application for Adjustment of Claim through the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission.

As per Illinois law, you can file a worker’s compensation claim up to 3 years from the date you got injured or ill. So, if you got injured at your workplace on January 1, 2020, you have until January 1, 2023, to file a claim.

If you have any questions regarding the time limit for filing a claim or if you need help with filing a claim, get in touch with The Law Offices of Robert T. Edens. Never assume that you’re late in filing a claim for your injury, or that you aren’t entitled to benefits, even if your employer or the insurance company tells you so. To contact us, dial (847) 395-2200.

See more on our Illinois Workers’ Compensation FAQs page.


Unusual Work Injuries Leading to Workers’ Compensation Claims

Workers' Compensation AttorneyWhen it comes to workplace compensation injuries, most refer to specific body parts where the injured employee is eligible to receive a statutorily scheduled monetary compensation. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, includes all injuries that could arise within the workplace – injuries that are related to the work an employee performs or other work-related injuries sustained outside of the workplace.

In Illinois, most employers are required to provide workers’ compensation insurance for all workers. Under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, employers are liable to provide the following benefits to employees who suffer an injury on the job:

  • Total disability benefits equating to the 2/3rdof the workers’ average gross weekly wage for the entire time the employee is incapacitated.
  • Permanent total disability benefits if an employee loses a body part during work or while conducting a job outside the workplace premises.
  • Rehabilitation expenses, including medical expenses
  • Giving an injured employee light-duty jobs

Most injuries covered by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act are liable for compensation. However, there are certain injuries that are unusual, where an employee was rightly awarded a benefit’s compensation. These injuries are known as non-scheduled injuries. Here is a list of some of the injuries that could be covered under workers’ compensation.

Mental Stress that Leads to Physical Injury

If you find yourself under undue mental stress at work, and if that negative stimulus leads to a physical injury, you could be eligible for workers’ compensation. Talk to a competent workers’ compensation attorney to highlight your work-related injuries. A mental physical injury arises when a worker develops a heart problem due to workplace stress.

Injuries caused by Mental Stress

Over time, overworked and stressed workers can suffer from mental illness. These psychological illnesses are caused by the negative stimulus they receive. The stimulus can be harassment or bullying from co-workers or superior officers, unusual work-related tasks that are not a part of the job description, and undue stress at work. Some mental health injuries could be covered under workers’ compensation if you have a skilled workers’ compensation attorney who represents all aspects of your injuries in court.

Personal Injury Attorney

If you wish to find out more about workers’ compensation and unusual injuries in Illinois, schedule a free consultation, contact the offices of Robert Edens at (847) 395-2200 to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer.

See more on our Illinois Workers’ Compensation FAQs page.