Every employee tries to perform their work with utmost care, making sure it is done correctly and efficiently. Unfortunately, when work sites include equipment that jeopardizes the health and safety of its employees, injuries are bound to happen. If you or someone you love suffered an injury at work, an Oak Lawn workers’ compensation lawyer may be able to help. By contacting an experienced injury attorney for a free consultation, you could ask any questions you may have about the workers’ compensation process. Those unsure about if they need a lawyer to receive benefits can explore their legal options through a consultation and determine the best path forward.

Understanding Oak Lawn’s Workers’ Compensation Laws

Oak Lawn requires employers to provide compensation to workers who suffer injuries while on the job. Regardless of fault, employees who suffer injuries at work can expect to receive workers’ compensation benefits. The system protects employees from the havoc an unexpected illness or injury can wreak on their’s finances. Workers’ compensation benefits help injured employees pay their bills and put food on the table for their families despite their misfortune. However, there are drawbacks. By accepting such benefits, workers forfeit their right to sue their employer for damages. The system also allows for employers to dispute workers’ compensation claims and challenge the notion that the employee was hurt at work. In such cases, injured workers can wait years to receive the benefits they need.

Benefits for Injured Employees

Generally, injured workers in Oak Lawn can pursue the following kinds of workers’ compensation benefits:

  • Medical expenses: including surgery and any prescriptions
  • Partial permanent disability: for the partial loss of a body part
  • Permanent total disability: when someone loses two of the same body part in a workplace accident, they are eligible for benefits for the rest of their life
  • Temporary total disability: for those who need time off work to recuperate from illness or an injury stemming from a workplace hazard
  • Wage loss differential: can help make up the financial difference between the two salaries if someone must take a lower paying job
  • Vocational retraining: if an injury prevents a worker from returning to their old position, retraining may be possible

Attaining these benefits could potentially make one’s extensive medical recovery affordable following a serious accident. A professional Oak Lawn workers’ compensation lawyer can prove to be a valuable asset in this regard by fighting for one’s rights in court.

Working With Insurance

There are two primary reasons why workers’ compensation insurance will deny payment for your medical treatment. The first is called Utilization Review (UR) and the second is an Independent Medical Exam (IME). In a UR, the insurance company is allowed to review proposed medical treatment for medical reasonableness. A proposed medical treatment may be certified or non-certified, based on written guidelines. This means that an insurance company cannot deny proposed medical treatment simply because they don’t want to pay for it, and there must be a written guideline which excludes your treatment. If treatment is initially non-certified or denied by UR, it is important to always have your doctor appeal this denial. The treatment is often approved after an appeal.

The second reason an insurance company will deny authorization for your medical treatment is following an IME. An insurance company has the right to send you to a doctor of their choice, not for treatment, but for an evaluation of the cause of your injury as well as the necessity of your treatment. When an insurance company sends you for an IME, if that doctor states your injury is unrelated or that you have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI), an insurance company will refuse to authorize additional treatment. This will cause your TTD to stop and will result in denial of future medical care.

Handling Insurance Denial

There are several alternatives when an insurance company refuses to authorize or approve medical treatment. First, if you have group health insurance or another method to pay for medical care, it is often advisable to get your treatment through that means after an insurance company denies medical treatment. An experienced Oak Lawn workers’ compensation lawyer can advise you on this alternative. Second, you can go before the Workers’ Compensation Commission and have a hearing before an arbitrator to force the insurance company to provide medical care for your injury. It is advisable to discuss the likelihood of success with an experienced Oak Lawn workers’ compensation lawyer before requesting a hearing to approve medical treatment.

Your Right To Job Retraining

If seriously injured at work it is important to learn about job re-training, wage differentials and total disability. In serious work injuries, you may be entitled to job re-training or receive weekly checks the rest of your life if you can’t return to your position.

When you are injured on the job, you are entitled to certain benefits under the Workers’ Compensation Act. You have the right to be paid while you are off from work. You have the right to medical treatment from the doctor of your choice, and you have the right to a settlement for any permanent injury you sustain. But what if your injuries prevent you from returning to your job?

How an Oak Lawn Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Can Help

We want our clients to get the best possible medical care for their work injury. We are happy to work with your doctor or refer you to the best doctors in Oak Lawn to care for your specific injury. You are entitled to and deserve the best medical care. Even if workers’ compensation insurance is paying for your medical treatment for your accident, it is still a good idea to work with a lawyer with experience handling workers’ compensation cases. Some clients wait to contact an Oak Lawn workers’ compensation lawyer until after the insurance company has stopped authorizing treatment. It may be more difficult to reinstate your medical treatment than it would have been for us to get your continued treatment approved.