It is your first day on the job in downtown Chicago and by some horrible twist of fate you bump into a piece of equipment, take a misstep, and fall onto the ground with a broken arm. Your chance to make a good impression on your first day are now long gone and you start to wonder if this accident and your injuries will be covered under workers’ compensation.
The requirements for both employers and employees are dictated in the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. This law governs not only the types and quantity of benefits, but also all important specifications regarding employee qualification and time periods.
Who Is Covered by Illinois Workers’ Compensation?
Nearly all workers in Illinois are covered by workers’ compensation. However, there are some exceptions, including independent contractors and volunteers.
Generally speaking the following workers would be covered by Illinois Workers’ Compensation:
- Any persons whose is injured while employed in Illinois;
- Any persons who work primarily within the state of Illinois; and
- Any persons whose contract of hire was made in Illinois.
Even illegal workers and cash employees should be covered by workers’ compensation in Illinois and are entitled to receive benefits if they are injured on the job.
Amount of Time Required to Qualify for Workers’ Compensation
In Illinois, regardless of the amount of time the worker has spent on the job, and workers’ compensation coverage is effective immediately. This means if you have been on the job for 25 years, 25 days, 25 minutes, or even 25 seconds, you are are eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits so long as your injury is work-related. So long as they were hired or are working in Illinois, the worker is covered by the insurance from the moment they begin.
While there are important timeframes injured employees must abide by, such as the statute of limitations for filing a claim, the period of time an employee has been on the job is not taken into account when calculating benefits. To file a claim for an injury in Illinois you must:
- Be a full or part-time employee (not independent contractor) in Illinois;
- Have been injured while performing job duties. Even if the injury takes place away from your official place of work, you may still be entitled to benefits if you were performing tasks associated with your job; and
- Not be an exempted employee (such as federal employees, jurors, farmers, salesperson working on commission).
Unlike unemployment, which is contingent on the number of hours you have previously worked, workers’ compensation is something you are eligible for as soon as you start working. Employers are required to post a notice of workers’ compensation in a conspicuous location in the workplace. If an employer attempts to deny you benefits or says you are not covered, it is important to speak to an attorney.