There are three critical things to do after being hurt at work. First, report the actual accident to the employer. Under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act , the injury employee has 45 days to provide notice to their employer. If you don’t do that, it could be a complete defense afforded to the employer.
The second most important thing to do is to see a doctor or medical provider immediately. You want a history in the doctor’s records of how the accident occurred and you should get the necessary treatment for the injury as soon as possible
The third most important thing would be to see an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer for a free consultation to ensure all of your rights are preserved.
Are there exceptions to the 45-day notice requirement?
The main exception would be in situations where you are injured and you don’t realize that the injury is the result of your work duties. The best example would be if it’s a repetitive trauma injury. At some point down the line, you begin experiencing symptoms and see a doctor for treatment.
The doctor may conclude that he or she believes that the injury occurred from the repetitive job activities of your job. In that situation you would in all likelihood have 45 days from the time of diagnosis to provide your employer with notice.
It is difficult to pinpoint the date of injury for purposes of the 45-day notice window with most repetitive trauma type of injury and an experienced attorney can help guide an injured employee through such difficulties.
Can I see my own doctor or must I go to the doctor assigned by the workers’ compensation insurance company?
Under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, you have a choice of two doctors who you can see of your own choosing.
We strongly advise that you first see your own doctor. If your doctor needs to refer you to another doctor, it is best to have them do that because that would still technically count as part of your first choice. If there are other referrals from that doctor, every doctor in that referral chain counts as a single doctor.
Please talk to an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer if you’re unsure about your situation and would like to learn more about your rights and options.