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4 mistakes to avoid after getting injured on the job

Most workers in Illinois are covered by employer-provided workers' compensation insurance. This system allows people who get hurt or sick on the job to have their medical bills covered and receive partial wage replacement if their condition keeps them from working. In exchange for providing this insurance, employers are protected from being sued by workers.

This can seem like a fairly straightforward system. However, there are some common mistakes people can make when it comes to pursuing workers' compensation that could put these benefits at risk.

  1. Failing to act quickly: The clock is ticking after you get hurt or sick at work. If you do not report your injury, seek medical help and/or make sure a claim is filed in an appropriate amount of time, you could be ineligible for benefits.
  2. Listening to people who say you shouldn't file: There are people who may try to discourage you from seeking workers' compensation, including employers or co-workers. However, legally speaking, you cannot be punished for pursuing these benefits and your decision to seek compensation doesn't affect anyone but you and your family.
  3. Assuming your injury isn't work-related: Too many people think of work-related injuries as result of a slip-and-fall accident or burns or cuts suffered while using heavy machinery. But pre-existing conditions that get worse through the course of employment, stress, illnesses caused by environmental hazards and injuries suffered during break times or during work-sponsored activities could all be considered work-related and therefore eligible for compensation.
  4. Trying to navigate the system alone: Pursuing workers' compensation can be much more complicated and frustrating than you may anticipate. Between the pain of your condition and the anxiety of medical bills and lost wages, it can be overwhelming to also try and deal with insurance companies, your employer and filing a claim on your own.

In order to avoid these and other common mistakes when it comes to workers' compensation, it can be very helpful to speak with an attorney about your situation. With legal counsel, you can get a better idea of what you should do now and what you may be able to expect in the future.

Source: FindLaw.com, "Workers' Comp In-Depth," accessed on Aug. 18, 2015

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