According the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, the employer is obligated to pay Temporary Total Disability (TTD) benefits when an employee is physically unable to perform their duties due to an injury suffered at work. Workers’ comp benefits must be equal to 2/3 of the employee’s average weekly wage, plus all medical expenses incurred for reasonable and customary medical treatment related to the accident.
Payments are to continue until the employee is able to return to regular or light-duty work. If light-duty work is unavailable, TTD payments should continue until the employee can return to full duty. Payments will also cease if it is determined that the employee’s condition is permanent. He or she may then be eligible for permanent disability benefits. To ensure your best chance of achieving a positive outcome, consult with a knowledgeable Chicago Workers’ Comp attorney as soon as possible.
Emergency Workers’ Comp Hearing
If your employer refuses to provide or terminates your TTD or medical benefits, Section 19 (b-1) of the Workers’ Compensation Act allows you to request an emergency Workers’ Comp hearing. You will be allowed to present the disputed issues to an arbitrator and obtain an expedited decision.
You must specify the disputed issues in writing and provide 15 days notice to your employer of the hearing request. Your employer then has 15 days to respond or they will be prohibited from producing their own evidence (doctor’s opinion, etc.) at the hearing.
The nature and extent of the injury will not be discussed at this hearing, but will be determined at later time via the final, or settlement hearing, after you complete treatment. According The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, the final decision of the Workers’ Compensation Commission (the first appeal) shall be completed within 150 days of the date of the filing for the emergency hearing request.
A measure of protection is provided to any injured employee from an employer who refuses to pay benefits through the Workers’ Compensation Act. Section 19 (k) allows that any employer who, without just cause, unreasonably denies benefits, can be penalized in an amount of up to 50% of the employee’s award. Furthermore, Section 19 (l) states that any employer who unreasonably withholds or denies Temporary Total Disability may be penalized $30 per day, up to a maximum of $10,000 for doing so.
The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, or the arbitrator, will make the determination of whether or not penalties are warranted, under either or both sections of Section 19.
Reach Out to an Experienced and Trusted Chicago Workers’ Comp Attorney
When an employer denies or terminates Workers’ Comp benefits, it can put you, as the injured party, in an extremely precarious position. Without a steady income, you are unable to meet your financial obligations. Without medical treatment, it becomes impossible to get better and return to work to earn that steady income. The legal remedies listed above are not absolute. The disputes must be heard and the courts may not agree that you are entitled to benefits.
At Shea Law Group, we have extensive experience working with clients that have been injured on the job, and we are here to assist you. Set up a free no-obligation consultation with our dedicated and compassionate attorneys today.