Entitlement to Weekly Temporary Disability Benefits When Injured but Laid off
The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act provides that employees hired, injured, or employed in Illinois are entitled to its benefits. This coverage begins at the moment that they start their jobs. While it is against the law for employers to harass or discharge employees who exercise their rights under the law, some employees with pending workers’ compensation claims, or people who are receiving benefits, may be fired for other reasons. At Katz, Friedman, Eagle, Eisenstein, Johnson & Bareck, our Chicago workers’ compensation lawyers advocate on behalf of people who are dealing with injuries but have been laid off. People in this difficult situation may be entitled to continued benefits.Receiving Temporary Benefits for Job Injuries Despite Being Laid Off
The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, the entity that resolves disputes between injured workers and their employers regarding workplace accidents and illnesses, has held that workers who are receiving weekly temporary total disability benefits are still entitled to their benefits if they have been fired or laid off. Employers still have the right to fire workers during their recovery, since Illinois provides for employment “at will,” meaning that the employer or the employee may sever the relationship at any time for a legal reason.
Temporary total disability (TTD) benefits are provided to injured employees who are temporarily unable to return to any work or who are released to perform light-duty work but cannot be accommodated by their employer. These benefits are to be provided until the employee returns to work or has reached maximum medical improvement. Workers who are recovering from an injury but are working on light duty may be eligible for temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits.
The Commissioner has stated that when an injured worker suffers from a temporary condition, they are entitled to receive weekly workers’ compensation benefits for temporary total disability. The protection afforded by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act extends to employees who are working a light-duty job but are then laid off. An injured worker who was receiving medical treatment and was under temporary restrictions is considered “covered” by the Act.
For example, if a carpenter suffered an injury to his right shoulder while working for his employer and received temporary total disability benefits, he would still be entitled to these benefits if his employer fired him for economic reasons. Factors that the Commission might consider include whether the carpenter remained capable of earning some wages and whether he had reached maximum medical improvement. If his condition remained temporary, the Commission likely would find that the carpenter would be entitled to temporary total disability benefits.Discuss Your Situation with an Experienced Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Chicago
If you have been laid off from work while receiving benefits, the experienced Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys at Katz, Friedman, Eagle, Eisenstein, Johnson & Bareck can help you understand your legal rights. We can assist you in enforcing the protections afforded by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, including recovering compensation for related expenses. Throughout Illinois, injured employees have benefited from the services of our job injury attorneys, including people in Champaign, Rockford, Aurora, Springfield, Quincy, and other areas of Kane, Cook, Sangamon, Winnebago, Champaign, and Adams Counties. For a free, no-obligation consultation about your situation, call our office toll-free at (800) 444-1525 or contact us online.