Illinois was one of the first states to bring the new concept (at the time) of protecting workers regardless of who was at fault.
It was a deal made between employers and employees that allowed employers to escape the possibility of ruin in one accident, while also making it easier for employees to receive the benefits they are entitled to.
Before workers’ compensation, employers were sued by employees (at least sometimes) when and employee was injured while on the job.
That’s easier said than done because sometimes it’s difficult if not impossible to know what happened, much less who’s at fault. With that being said, here’s a neat list of facts about workers’ compensation insurance, at least as it applies to Illinois workers and employers.
- Workers’ compensation is a combination of of major medical insurance
and disability income insurance.
- Workers’ compensation doesn’t have deductibles for the employer or employee when
a covered employee seeks medical treatment.
- More than 90% of workers are covered by workers’ compensation statutes.
- After a coal mine fire in Northern Illinois left more than 200 dead (out of about
500 workers) in 1909, the legislature quickly followed Wisconsin (the first state
to pass a workers’ compensation law) in passing a law creating and requiring workers’
compensation in 1912.
- If an employee is hired and works for an Illinois company, they’re still covered
if they work out of state.
- While employees are covered, independent contractors are not normally covered.
As an injured employee, you’ll expect the illinois Workers Compensation Commission
to process your claim.
- When an employee files a workers’ compensation claim, they don’t have to file
a lawsuit. At least not normally, unless there’s a disagreement in benefits or
- While driving to and from work won’t normally provide coverage, often an injury
in the parking lot of a business will.
- If you’re injured while on the job, you can often go back to work on a “limited
duty” basis to help protect your paycheck.
- If as a result of an employee’s injury the employee can never perform the same
type of work, the employee will often receive re-training to perform some other
type of work.
- Employers are forbidden by law from retaliating against an employer for filing
a legitimate workers’ compensation claim.
- Payments received from a workers’ compensation claim are normally tax free.
Even non-profit businesses are required to have workers’ compensation for its
- As an employer, you shouldn’t count days missed as a result of a work injury against
your employee’s sick or vacation time.
- Workers’ compensation insurance covers injuries of course, albeit also covers
employees if they contract a disease as a result of work.
- Over 400,000 workers’ comp claims are filed on any given year in Illinois.
As an employer, if your employee gets injured as a result of a third party, you
may have the ability to recover the business loss as a result.
- If an employer can’t find insurance coverage in the voluntary market, there’s
a market of last resort that provides coverage. This is used extensively in the
roofing industry where coverage can be hard to find.
- Owners and officers can usually exclude their own work from coverage.
- Owners and officers almost always will exclude their own work from coverage because
dollar for dollar, it’s usually not a good value compared to disability income
insurance and most owners and officers tend to have health insurance.
- Workers’ compensation rates are greatly influenced by the claims history.
- Employers can lower claim expenses by being pro-active in helping injured employees
get back to work.
- Some lawyers specialize in workers’ compensation law and as is the case with most
legal matters, it’s better to have a representative who is a subject matter expert
than one who is trying to learn it as they go.
- While likely not a surprise for Illinois employers, Illinois is one of the more
expensive workers’ compensation insurance states in the country based on the Oregon
reports (regarded as a reliable aggregator of state-by-state rates).
If you’re an employer looking to hire your first employee, or an employer that is ready to talk to an insurance agent that focuses on business insurance, give me a call. As with attorneys, you don’t want a Jack of all trades type of agent.
As a business owner, you especially don’t want an agent that mostly writes home and auto with a few businesses thrown in when they fall in their lap.
If your business is important to you, your income, and to your family, your business is too important to entrust with an agent that is learning what your risks are from you.
You want an agent that can tell you what your risks are and how to either avoid them or transfer the risk through a vehicle such as insurance. Regardless of your decisions, you want to make informed decisions, and that is greatly aided by speaking with an insurance agent such as myself that understands businesses,
how they run, and how a business owner thinks.