Guide to Workman’s Compensation for Employers

Workers' Compensation AttorneyFor employers, the safety of their employees should be priority. Providing a hazard-free and safe working environment can help boost productivity and reduce personal injuries. However, to cover unforeseen personal injuries that employees might face while performing their job, a worker’s compensation insurance should be bought by employers to cover medical costs and provide financial relief for employees as they recover. The inability to provide financial support for relief and recovery may lead to legal action by employees.

The provisions and guidelines to provide employees with compensation for accidental injuries, which occured during the time of employment, are covered under the Illinois Workers Compensation Act. If an employer refuses to provide compensation or honor claims, an employee can file a claim with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, who will assign an arbitrator to assess all claims. Only legitimate claims can be honored.

Getting insured for Workers’ Compensation

An employer can seek private insurance to cover personal injuries that their employees incur at work. For many small businesses, private insurance can be the best choice and can be searched through the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission database. However, the National Council of Compensation Insurance also provides businesses with private injury and workers compensation insurance facilities. Employers may be subject to $500 fine per day if they fail to carry workers’ compensation insurance.

Managing Personal Injuries

Employers can hire experienced workers compensation attorneys to assess their policies and provide guidance on how to make timely compensation claims. The best ways to mitigate workers compensation claims include the following:

  • Make safety committees to look for safety hazards across the workplace. The committee can consult employees, provide training and give feedback on how to make workplace better.
  • Having on-site medical teams can also provide safety to employees by acting as first responders. Medical officers can also consult employees for speedy recovery and make it easier for them to rejoin after an injury.
  • Employees should be encouraged to report personal injuries to claim workers’ compensations on time. If there is an injury review process, it should be initiated immediately after an injury occurs or a claim is received. Also, employees should be provided with the right tools to reduce the risk of injuries.

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.

Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Workers Compensation AttorneyAccording to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is one of the most widespread occupational diseases. It is a type of repetitive trauma disorder, which affects people who perform a great deal of work with their hands. Fortunately for workers, this occupational disease is covered under the workers’ compensation law of Illinois, meaning that they are eligible to receive benefits for treatment.

What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a medical condition that affects the median nerve that extends from forearms to the palm. This nerve gets compressed and hinders its capability to effective control thumb and finger movement, and also affects certain sensations of the fingers and palm. People suffering from this disease experience the following symptoms:

  • Diminished ability to grip
  • Diminished strength in the hand
  • Stiffness in the fingers when waking up from sleep
  • Itching, numbness, burning, and/or tingling in the fingers and palms
  • A sensation of swelling in the fingers, although they are not actually swollen
  • In extreme cases, thumb muscles can waste away

This occupational disease generally develops over time, and can be a result of numerous factors, the most common being regular repetitive movements. It can happen from a single traumatic event as well.

Occupations with High Susceptibility of CTS

People who are engaged in work activities requiring repetitive hand movements are at a higher risk of carpal tunnel syndrome. It has been most commonly reported in employees of the following occupations:

  • Assembly line
  • Construction
  • Fabrication
  • Factory workers
  • Healthcare
  • Mail service
  • Manufacturing
  • Office workers

More and more cases have been linked to people who work extensively with computers and their work involves typing on keyboards.

Making a Workers’ Compensation Claim for CTS in Illinois

Since CTS has an adverse impact on a worker’s ability to perform their daily duties and leads to the inability to work, it is covered under workers’ compensation benefits. When a worker reports this disease to their employer and seek medical treatment, they are required to inform the medical care provider that this condition is work-related in order for the facts to be documented in the medical records. Some workers may have certain intrinsic risk factors for CTS, such as diabetes, obesity, or smoking, but they may still qualify for workers’ compensation benefits as long as the primary causative factor for the condition is work-related.

Many insurance providers tend to deny claims pertaining to carpal tunnel syndrome, for which workers may have to seek legal counsel to ensure they are able to collect workers’ compensation benefits. Moreover, since CTS sets in gradually, most people are confused and unclear as to whether they may be eligible for workers’ compensation for this type of condition. This is another reason as to why you should consider talking to an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to evaluate your situation and learn about your legal options.

Personal Injury Attorney

Contact the Law Offices of Robert T. Edens, P.C. at (847) 395-2200 or online today to schedule your initial consultation.

I Was Injured While I Was Working Off Site. Can I Seek Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ compensation is the insurance coverage that most employers are required to carry to cover any expenses their injured employees face after workplace accidents. When an employee is injured at work because of his or her employer’s negligence, the employee could be entitled to seek monetary compensation through a workers’ compensation claim. But when an employee’s injury is not caused by his or her employer’s negligence, he or she might not be able to recover compensation this way. This issue often comes up when employees are injured while working off site.

If you are injured at work, it is important that you seek medical care as soon as possible. Once you have received treatment and are in a stable condition, discuss the possibility of pursuing a workers’ compensation claim with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. You need to notify your employer of your accident and your injury within 45 days of their occurrence as per the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act.

Working Off Site

Working off site means the employee is working at a location other than his or her company’s property. In some jobs, this never happens. In other jobs, such as household repair and landscaping positions, most or even all of an individual’s work is performed off site.

Whether your injury qualifies you for a workers’ compensation claim depends on the context of the accident from which the injury resulted.

  • Did the accident occur while you were doing work?
  • Did the accident occur during your work hours?

If the accident occurred while you were working, you could be entitled to receive workers’ compensation even if the accident occurred off site. But what if the accident occurred because of another party’s negligence? For example, what if you fell from a broken step on a client’s property and broke your leg? In this case, you might be entitled to file a premises liability claim against the property owner. This could potentially lead to a larger settlement than a workers’ compensation claim. Whether it is better to pursue a workers’ compensation claim or a premises liability claim is an issue to discuss with your attorney. He or she can guide you toward the best type of claim for your injury.

If your injury occurs off site while you are not working, you are most likely unable to seek a workers’ compensation claim. For example, if you stay at a work site after your shift and suffer an injury, you are not entitled to workers’ compensation coverage.

The Law Offices of Robert T. Edens, P.C.

Workers’ Compensation Attorneys in Lake, McHenry & Cook County

Contact The Law Offices of Robert T. Edens, P.C. today at (847) 395-2200 to learn more about your rights as an injured worker and how to proceed with your workers’ compensation claim. Bob Edens is an experienced workers’ compensation attorney who can guide you through this process and help you get the monetary compensation you need for your medical and other injury-related expenses. Your recovery and compensation is important to us. Call our firm today to discuss your options.


Workers’ Compensation and the Affordable Care Act

Can the Affordable Care Act (ACA) impact the number of workers’ compensation claims in Illinois or the premiums for workers’ compensation insurance? According to a recent article from, both workers and employers in the Chicago area should be thinking about how health care may influence workers’ compensation in our state.

Learning More About Capitated Health Care Plans and Workers’ Compensation

What is the relationship between health care plans and workers’ compensation claims? The link between the two might not be immediately clear, but as we take a closer look at the way in which “capitated” health plans function, we can see how it might be in a healthcare provider’s interest to classify certain injuries as work-related harms.

According to the article, one of the effects of the ACA has been “case-shifting from group health to workers’ compensation.” To understand why this is so, it is important to grasp the growing shift toward Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). In short, through ACOs, healthcare providers get rewarded when they meet certain goals pertaining to cost and quality. With such goals becoming more prominent under the ACA, we will also see a rise in “capitated” health plans. This is not a term that has an obvious definition based on the name, but its premise is actually a relatively simple one to grasp: under capitated health plans (also called capitated contracts or flat-fee plans), “providers are paid a fixed insurance premium per insured regardless of the amount of care provided to a given patient during the year.”

In other words, traditional health plans typically involve a provider being paid for each service that is rendered, or for each individual visit. So, if you strain your back and need to visit a healthcare provider on four separate occasions, the healthcare provider would be paid for each of those visits and for the individual care and treatments provided at each visit. However, under a capitated health plan, the provider is simply paid a fixed amount for the insured person, regardless of the number of times she seeks care during the year. So, if we go back to the example of a back strain that requires four visits to the same healthcare provider, that provider would still be paid only the fixed rate for the patient—the same amount if she needed one visit or four.

A recent study conducted by the Workers’ Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) emphasized that capitated health plans could drastically impact the number of workers’ compensation claims across the country.

Repetitive Injuries and Work-Related Injury Classifications

Given the way in which capitated health plans function, you can see how it might be in a healthcare provider’s interest to classify a repetitive injury—such as a back injury or carpal tunnel syndrome—as a work-related injury. If an injury is related to a patient’s work, then she may be able to file a workers’ compensation claim. And if she can file a workers’ compensation claim, then a healthcare provider may not need to perform multiple services for a single fixed rate.

The WCRI study underscored that such a pattern already is emerging. For instance, in states with capitated health plans, the following statistics transpired:

  • Back injuries were “30 percent more likely to be called work-related,” and thus paid for through workers’ compensation.
  • Workers’ compensation costs in Illinois could rise by about $100 million if the number of patients with capitated health plans increases from 12 to 42 percent.
  • Soft-tissue injuries were 31 percent more likely to be considered work-related if the patient had a capitated health plan.

The Law Offices of Robert T. Edens, P.C.

If you suffered a job-related injury and need assistance with your workers’ compensation claim, it is important to seek out an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer. Filing a claim can be complicated, but having to appeal a denial can be even more frustrating. You should contact a dedicated advocate at The Law Offices of Robert T. Edens, P.C. to assist with your case.


What Can I Expect from the Workers’ Compensation Claim Process?

If you are not familiar with the workers’ compensation claim process, you may have many questions about what you can expect as your claim progresses. The prospect of filing and pursuing a claim can be a daunting process.

A workers’ compensation settlement can be used to cover a variety of expenses. These expenses can include the claimant’s medical bills, compensation for the wages he or she missed due to taking time off from work to recovery, and the vocational training or job placement assistance that he or she needs upon returning to work. Every claimant does not necessarily receive compensation for these three needs. The type of compensation that you receive and the amount depend largely on the financial needs that you present to the court in your workers’ compensation claim. Individuals who demonstrate a greater amount of financial hardship often receive larger settlements than those who demonstrate smaller levels of need.

Expect to Tell the Same Story Over and Over Again

When you are injured on the job, you need to tell your supervisor about the accident and how it caused you to get hurt. Then, when you seek medical care, you will need to explain your accident and injury to the doctor. When you start working on your claim with an attorney, you will have to tell your story yet again, then again to the workers’ compensation board. You need to be consistent with the details of your accident recollection every time you discuss it – omitting or changing details, even by accident, can jeopardize your claim. Keep a copy of your written accident report to refer to before meeting with any party during the course of the claim process.

Expect to Take an Active Role in your Recovery

While your claim is pending, you need to take steps toward your recovery. This means attending all doctor’s appointments and physical therapy sessions. If you do not demonstrate that you are taking initiative to recover from your accident, you can jeopardize your claim.

In short, you need to demonstrate that you need the money you are seeking. If you are not taking your recovery seriously by following your doctor’s orders, why should you get money to pay for your appointments and rehabilitation? You cannot just sit on the couch and wait for your compensation check to arrive – this is not how workers’ compensation works. Expect to be your own advocate during this process.

The Law Offices of Robert T. Edens, P.C.

Workers’ Compensation Law Firm

Contact The Law Offices of Robert T. Edens, P.C. at (847) 395-2200 today to learn more about how your unique circumstances will come into play with your workers’ compensation claim during your free legal evaluation with attorney Bob Edens.  He can explain the workers’ compensation claim process and negotiate with your employer’s workers’ compensation provider on your behalf to ensure that you receive an appropriate settlement amount for your needs. Your recovery and compensation is important to us. Call our firm today to begin with a free initial consultation.


Denied Workers’ Compensation Benefits Based on Status?

Injuries in the workplace can be severe and require immediate medical attention.  During the stressful time of obtaining the necessary care, the last thing an injured worker wants to hear is that they’ve been denied workers’ compensation benefits because of their employee status.  Many workers are happy to have a full-time job that pays the bills and are not even aware they are classified by their employer not as a full-time employee, but as an independent contractor.  Unfortunately, as in any time of economic turmoil, many employers falsely label workers as independent contractors to save money on benefits and insurance costs, including workers’ compensation insurance premiums.  Luckily, there are steps that workers can take before and after they suffer an injury in the workplace to protect themselves and ensure that they are classified correctly.

Independent Contractor versus Employee

Under Illinois law, companies who have just one employee must carry workers’ compensation coverage.  However, employers who hire independent contractors do not have to carry such insurance for those workers.  Independent contractors are defined as persons or businesses who perform services for another person under an express or implied agreement and who are not subject to the other’s control, or right to control, the manner and means of performing the services.  These types of agreements specifically exclude independent contractors from being classified as employees.


Misclassifying an employee as an independent contractor is against the law, yet many workers do not discover the error until they have some reason to collect on the employer’s insurance, such as after a workplace accident.  If it is discovered that an employer has misclassified its employees, however, stiff penalties can apply so many employers are careful not to draw attention to this “error.”  Employers in the past have been found to engage in highly unusual behavior to help their insurance fraud go unnoticed, such as paying out of pocket for any worker’s injury, or falsely claiming that an injured worker has been performing poorly so that he or she may be terminated.

Denial of Benefits

Oftentimes a worker who is injured is not seeking anything more than to heal and return to work.  Whether they are classified as an independent contractor or employee does not seem important so long as it does not affect the number of hours they work or their take home pay.  However, when they are injured doing the work that they were hired to do and their employer does not provide the support they need to return to work, misclassification comes to the forefront of their concerns.  Luckily, denying workers’ compensation benefits by engaging in fraudulent misclassification is not lawful and employees can seek to have their rightful benefits provided to them through the workers’ compensation system.  Workers have the right to appeal any denial of benefits to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission.  The worker can obtain the benefits he or she is entitled to plus interest in some cases.

The Law Offices of Robert T. Edens, P.C.

If you or someone you love has been injured at work and their employer is refusing to provide the benefits they deserve, contact the Law Offices of Robert T. Edens, P.C. in Antioch today.  Our skilled attorneys can help guide you through the workers’ compensation system and help you obtain the peace of mind you need to help your family heal.



Disability vs. Workers’ Compensation: Post-Retirement Considerations

Under Illinois’ workers’ compensation statutes, injured employees can obtain benefits through their employer’s insurance company if they are hurt while on the job.  But what about injuries that occur while someone is fully employed, but have latent effects that do not arise until post-retirement?  Also, what about long-term disability caused by employment activities?  Is an injured employee out of luck?  The quick answer is ‘not necessarily’, as the statutes do not prohibit post-retirement awards.  Obtaining these benefits, and deciding whether it is a good idea to do so, may be a bit more complicated, however.

Post-Retirement Options

Two common scenarios for post-retirement workers’ compensation include the following: 1) the employee was injured while he/she was a full time employee, but the injury did not present itself until post-retirement; and 2) the employee was injured while a full-time employee who was close to retirement, and the injury was so severe so as to cause the employee to no longer be able to perform the duties of his or her position.  The latter scenario recently made headlines on a federal level when it was discovered that the federal employee retirement system allows for some retirees to choose between their government annuity and workers’ compensation benefits.  While some call for reform of the federal system, it is important for any federal employee close to retirement age to consider all their options, including one that may provide greater monthly payments than their current pension benefits.  It should be noted that even non-governmental employees are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act, and if a work-related injury is sufficient to cause a permanent disability, employers must meet their obligations under this statute – i.e. reasonable accommodations.

The other category of post-retirement workers’ compensation benefits is more likely to affect a wider cross-section of retirees.  If a person who is close to retirement is injured while on the job, and receives workers’ compensation benefits, it may be tempting to officially retire.  The employee is no longer going into work, and he or she has a retirement account that can provide them with monthly benefits without the need for continuing appointments to determine if he/she can return to work.  This option is definitely available to any employee who is eligible for retirement, but caution should be used.  One question that they may wish to ask (of themselves and counsel) is whether they are healed to the point of ‘maximum medical improvement’ and what effect this designation can have on any future benefits.  In Illinois, it may mean that your employer can offset (or reduce) your retirement benefits by the amount of workers’ compensation benefits that you are collecting.

The Law Offices of Robert T. Edens, P.C.


If you or someone you know has been injured in the workplace and is close to retirement, contact the Law Offices of Robert T. Edens, P.C. in Antioch today and speak to one of our professionals about your situation.  Our lawyers have extensive experience with the Illinois workers’ compensation system.  We can answer your questions, provide guidance, or represent you if necessary to ensure that you receive the benefits that you deserve.


The Blame Game: Bullying in the Workplace

What may begin as typical office banter can sometimes have serious future effects in the event of escalation.  At first blush, a coworker’s comments are a mere annoyance that can be brushed aside with an eye roll or dismissed by walking away.  However, all too often in modern workplaces, annoying comments turn into ugly insults and sometimes lead to abusive language and/or behavior.  What many workers do not realize is that once the actions of a coworker become offensive, they may be considered bullying under the law.  Bullying is unlawful in many states and surprisingly to some, injuries resulting from bullying are often covered under state workers’ compensation laws.

What is bullying?

Bullying can take many forms, and is not limited to the overt examples that we often see during our childhood.  Any type of conduct that is abusive can be considered bullying, including verbal or physical threats or abuse, intimidation, sabotage, withholding resources, and deliberate humiliation.  This last category is often difficult for workers to distinguish from typical collegiate banter, and it can have very serious consequences on victims.  What many workers also do not realize is that workplace bullies will often use a combination of tactics to deliberately cause harm to a colleague.  For example, a workplace bully may privately call his or her victim by an offensive nickname, and then state that “it was just a joke,” or outright deny the incident if the victim attempts to publicly call attention to it.

Effects of bullying

Workplace bullying can have both physical and mental impacts on victims, and can even exacerbate pre-existing medical conditions.  Some physical impairments that have been linked to the stress levels caused by bullying include increased blood pressure, heart disease, ulcers, and irritable bowel syndrome.  Mental illnesses such as post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety have also been linked to bullying.  These impairments can often lead to increased absences or lower job performance on the part of the victim.  Further, what many workers with pre-existing conditions may not realize is that an aggravation of their condition due to a coworker’s actions can mean that they will not be liable for the additional medical costs of obtaining treatment. This is because when workplace bullying takes a physical and mental toll on workers, the issue may be considered a compensable injury under workers’ compensation statutes.

In Illinois, workers’ compensation covers any “injury, disablement or death arising out of and in the course of” employment.  Just as a worker would report an injury due to a more traditional accident at work, so too should an employee report injuries caused by an office bully.  Once an employee is put on notice that a bully is harming a coworker, the employer then has a duty to address the harm, just as it would address any other dangerous hazard in the workplace.

The Law Offices of Robert T. Edens, P.C.

If you or someone you know is experiencing workplace bullying, contact the Law Offices of Robert T. Edens, P.C. in Waukegan today to talk about your options.  Do not let the bully win by staying silent; with over 20 years of experience protecting injured workers, our office can help.


Workers’ Compensation Review: Dual Employment

State and Federal workers’ compensation laws were created to allow injured workers to be able to obtain necessary medical treatment for their injuries as soon as possible after an accident in the workplace.  The compromise that these laws force workers to accept, except in a few special cases, is that the worker’s claim must be processed through the workers’ compensation system rather than through a traditional lawsuit.  This compromise has brought about a unique body of law in workers’ compensation that is largely applicable only in this same field, which means that workers’ compensation is now quite the specialty.  With that being the case, there are many aspects of workers’ compensation that are not typically seen in other employment-related contexts.  One such oddity is with regard to dual employment issues.  When someone is injured in the workplace, their employer is generally liable for providing the employee with benefits pursuant to workers’ compensation laws.  When that employee is employed by two separate employers, the issue of who pays becomes more complicated.

Two employers, double the recovery?

Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on which side you are on, workers’ compensation laws were not created to provide an injured worker with more than he or she is entitled to, even in the event of dual employment.  When an employee has valid employment contracts with two separate employers, only one of the employers will typically be held be liable for the workers’ compensation coverage.  It is in determining which employer’s insurance applies from which much of the litigation in this area arises.  The first inquiry that should be made is to discover which employer the employee was working for at the time of the accident.  Sometimes this inquiry is simple, as the employee’s dual employment situation deals with two separate locations, supervisors, and type of work.  Other factors can complicate this analysis, however.  For example, in a construction setting, where an employee is hired by a subcontractor to perform work at one worksite, the contractor who hired the subcontractor may be held liable for workers’ compensation coverage if the subcontractor does not have such coverage.  Taking the example further, a contractor may also be liable for a subcontractor’s employee if the contractor directly supervised the employee on a shared worksite, and/or directed the employee to perform the task that led to the injury.

The Law Offices of Robert T. Edens | Personal Injury Law Firm


The Help of an Attorney is Often Necessary

These questions are not always easy to answer, and depending on the outcome can cost one employer or the other thousands of dollars in workers’ compensation benefits, lost work time, and other damages.  Any delay in determining liability may also mean a delay in providing full treatment for the employee, and preventing him or her from returning to work in a timely manner.  If you or someone you know has been injured in the workplace and has questions about recovering workers’ compensation benefits, call the Law Offices of Robert T. Edens, P.C.  Our professionals can provide you information on your claim as well as options for moving forward.


Workplace Violence and Workers’ Compensation

With over 2 million victims of violence in the workplace in the United States each year, employee safety is not something employers can ignore. What many employers do not realize is that incidents involving assault in the workplace are not only a potential criminal matter, but also may result in workers’ compensation coverage for any injuries that occur because of the violence.

Workers’ Compensation

The Illinois workers’ compensation laws protect employees by providing them with benefits in the event they are injured in the workplace without having to bring a lawsuit against their employer. In order for a workplace injury to be covered by workers’ compensation laws, the injury must be shown to have arisen out of and in the course of employment. Benefits that are available to an injured employee include medical treatment at no cost to them and disability benefits to make up for the lost income that may occur while the employee is recovering, and can even include the costs of vocational rehabilitation.

Violence in the Workplace

While many employers are aware of their duties to provide employees with a safe working environment, they often do not consider prevention programs for potential violence in the workplace. Violence can take many forms, including verbal abuse, offensive conduct (both verbal and physical), and interfering with another’s work. Depending on the nature of the conduct, any resulting injury may become a workers’ compensation issue. Specifically, courts will generally not hold an employer liable under workers’ compensation laws for injuries from an assault based on personal reasons. However, courts may find an injury to be compensable if the injured employee can show that the act of violence was motivated by a work-related matter. The court’s decision will be based on whether it can be shown that the injury “arose out of and in the course of” employment.

Prevention of Violence

Employers can take steps to help prevent injuries pursuant to workplace violence. Some things that an employer can do to protect its employees is to ensure that no unauthorized individuals can enter a secure workspace, monitor disagreements that occur between two employees and take action if necessary, and make sure that employees are provided clear instructions as to their job duties in order to minimize disputes over work. As of January 1, 2014, employers also have the ability to obtain an order of protection pursuant to the Illinois Workplace Violence Protection Act. Employees themselves also have a responsibility for reducing the potential for workplace violence. If an employee believes that he or she is being bullied or subjected to violent behavior in the workplace, it should be reported to their supervisor as soon as possible.


While not all occurrences of violence in the workplace are covered by workers’ compensation, it is important not to make assumptions without examining all possible options. Workers’ compensation is a very fact-specific area of law and, depending on the specific facts of a particular situation, what may initially seem to be outside an employer’s coverage may turn out to be a compensable injury. The Illinois workers’ compensation system was designed to ensure employees receive the level of care that they need after a workplace injury, without having to fight an expensive legal battle in court. Knowing whether a claim is covered is the first step to receiving benefits to which an injured employee is entitled.

Waukegan Personal Injury | The Law Offices of Robert T. Edens, P.C.

Do you have questions about your workers’ compensation claim? Reach out to the Barrington workers’ compensation attorneys at the Law Offices of Robert T. Edens, P.C. for a consultation and to discuss your case.