Q. Will I lose my job because I filed a workers’ compensation claim?
A. No. Both Illinois and Missouri have laws which prevent your employer from retaliating against your for filing a workers’ compensation claim. If your employer fires you or retaliates against for filing a workers’ compensation claim, you have a cause of action against your employer.
Q. If I file a workers’ compensation claim, will I be able to see my own doctor?
A. In Illinois, you have the RIGHT to see two doctors of your choice. However, in Missouri, you must see the doctor that the workers’ compensation insurance company chooses for you.
On several occasions, injured workers have hired our team midway through their treatment. Even in Illinois, the workers’ compensation claims adjustor falsely tells our clients that they have to go to a doctor of the insurance company’s choosing. This is not correct. Typically, it isn’t until our team gets involved that the client finally gets the treatment they needed from highly qualified doctors of their choosing.
Q. Does my employer have to pay for my workers’ compensation benefits directly out of their pocket?
A. No. Employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. This is very similar to how we all have to carry car insurance to drive a car. When you’re involved in a workplace injury, the insurance company pays your benefits.
Q. I live in Missouri, but I work in Illinois. Where do I file my workers’ compensation case?
A. If your employer is located in Illinois and you were hurt in Illinois, you would file in Illinois.
Q. How much will I be paid if I have to be off work for my injury?
A. The payment you receive for having to be off work because of your injury is called Temporary Total Disability or “TTD.” You are entitled to 2/3 of your average weekly wage or “AWW.” Your AWW is calculated average the amount you were paid for the year prior to your injury.
So, for example, let’s say that you are hurt at work and you make $40,000 per year before taxes and everything else is taken out. Your TTD rate would be $26,666.67 per year or approximately $513 per week. You would receive a check for approximately $513 per week.
Q. How is the lawyer paid?
A. The lawyer is paid based off of what is a called a “contingency fee.” That means our team doesn’t get paid until you are paid. In Illinois, the fee is capped at 20%. In Missouri, the fee is capped at 25%.
Q. My employer offered me a light duty job. Do I have to take it?
A. Long answer short, yes. As long as the light duty job is within your doctor-recommended restrictions, you should take the employer up on the offer. Not accepting the position could act as a voluntary quitting on your part, which could result in your benefits being cut off.