Workers’ Compensation Appeals
Injured workers have a legal right to apply for benefits under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. These benefits are provided to the majority of employees who suffer injuries in a workplace accident or are diagnosed with an occupational disease. After filing a claim with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, employees often retain an attorney to help them assert their eligibility for benefits. Unfortunately, some workers are denied their claim for benefits, or they may face another challenge regarding their claim. At Katz, Friedman, Eagle, Eisenstein, Johnson & Bareck, our Chicago workers’ compensation lawyers advocate for employees who are asserting their right to benefits based on job-related injuries in a variety of fields. Airline employees, construction workers, and employees represented by labor unions have received personal attention and skilled advocacy from us. We can investigate the underlying circumstances leading to the accident or illness and work with medical professionals to advance a strong workers’ compensation appeal.Understanding the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Process
Challenges to a workers’ compensation claim may stall the process of securing benefits, leading to additional stress for an injured employee and their family. In some situations, the employer or the employer's insurance company appeals a decision issued by an arbitrator or the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission.
For workers’ compensation cases that are filed with the Commission, the injured employee must demonstrate that they are eligible for benefits under the Workers’ Compensation Act. While the Commission serves as an impartial court, they may not necessarily rule in favor of a worker. It is the burden of all injured workers to set forth the necessary documentation and evidence supporting their claim for benefits. In other words, injured employees must show that their harm was caused by work and sustained in the course and scope of their employment.
A successful claim typically requires that an employee provide evidence of their employment on the date of the accident, showing that an employee-employer relationship existed between the parties. The employee must also show a causal connection making clear that their medical condition was caused by the alleged accident or exposure. Finally, the employee must have given the employer timely notice of the accident or exposure. Proving these factors generally allows for the recovery of some benefits, but there may be other disputed issues. An employer may argue about the extent of the employee’s injuries or the amount of their weekly wage. Some employers may contend that certain medical treatments were not “reasonable and necessary” and that they are therefore not required to pay for these bills.
The process of securing workers’ compensation benefits may involve multiple steps. First, an arbitrator of the Commission conducts a trial. It is important to note that an arbitrator resolves a case when the employee reaches maximum medical improvement. In terms of timing, there may often be a delay between the filing of the claim with the Commission and the trial, and preparing for trial requires obtaining medical records and other paperwork. After the trial, the arbitrator will issue a decision stating the amount of benefits, if any, to which an employee is entitled.
Employees and employers may then appeal a decision rendered by the arbitrator. The Commission, which is a panel of three commissioners, reviews the arbitrator’s decision and examines supporting evidence. A hearing takes place, and the parties may present an argument stating the reasons for their position. The Commission then renders a decision within 60 days.
During the period of a pending appeal, the employer is not required to pay benefits awarded by the arbitrator. In the event that the case is resolved in the employee’s favor, interest will be added to the award.Retain a Skilled Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Chicago
The rejection of a workers’ compensation claim by an arbitrator does not necessarily mean that an injured worker will not be able to recover benefits under the Act. If either an arbitrator or the Commission has ruled in favor of an employer or failed to grant an employee full compensation, the worker maintains the right to continue pursuing benefits for their job-related injuries. At Katz, Friedman, Eagle, Eisenstein, Johnson & Bareck, our Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys guide employees through all of the stages of their claim, including any appeals that may be needed. Contact us online or by calling (800) 444-1525 to set up a free appointment. Our job injury lawyers have helped people throughout Illinois seek benefits, including residents of Rockford, Champaign, Springfield, Quincy, and Aurora, as well as other areas of Kane, Champaign, Cook, Sangamon, Winnebago, and Adams Counties.