It seems like a simple matter: if you are injured at work, your employer pays for your medical treatment and lost wages. In a best-case scenario, everyone agrees on the injury, the treatment for the injury, and the amount of compensation. However, employers and their insurance companies can make things difficult. Where does an injured employee go for help? A workers’ comp appeal may bring the compensation and benefits they deserve.
Filing a Claim
Employers may claim an employee was not injured at work or that their injuries are not as severe as claimed. The workers’ comp insurer may offer a lowball settlement or refuse to pay for appropriate medical expenses or lost wages.
The injured worker does not have to give up at this point. Instead, this may be the time to file a claim with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission (“Commission”). While the forms are available online, it is wise to talk to a lawyer with workers’ compensation experience.
After a claim is filed, the Commission assigns it to an arbitrator. At some point, the Commission may hold a trial. In most cases, though, the worker must reach what is called maximum medical improvement before the arbitrator schedules a trial. The arbitrator reviews the testimony and evidence offered by both sides and makes a decision.
A worker who disagrees with the arbitrator’s decision can continue to the next stage of a workers’ comp appeal.
From Arbitrator to Commissioner Panel
The employee or employer may appeal an arbitrator’s decision. A panel consisting of three commissioners will review the arbitrator’s decision and the evidence presented at the trial. The panel may hold a hearing or oral argument, then issue a decision within 60 days.
Taking a Workers’ Comp Appeal to the Circuit Court and Beyond
Workers or employers dissatisfied with the panel’s decision have the option of continuing to another stage. Filing a case with the circuit court takes the case from the Commission to the court system, but sometimes this is necessary. It’s also not the final stopping place for a workers’ comp claim. The claimant may also appeal all the way to the Illinois Supreme Court.
Another Way to End a Workers’ Comp Appeal
At any point during the process, the parties may negotiate a settlement of the injured workers’ claim. An experienced workers’ comp attorney can handle such delicate, complex discussions.
The attorneys at Osvaldo Rodriguez, P.C., are here to help with your workers’ comp claims. Schedule a free initial consultation with Osvaldo Rodriguez, a lawyer with over 20 years’ experience representing people like you. Just call us at 708-716-3441 or fill out the Contact form on our website.
Mr. Rodriguez is fluent in both Spanish and English.
We represent clients throughout the state of Illinois, including Chicago, Addison, Bellwood, Bensenville, Berwyn, Chicago, Cicero, Elmwood Park, Franklin Park, Maywood, Melrose Park, Northlake, and all of Cook County, Lake County, Kane County, Dupage County and Will County.