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How long do I have to report an injury at work?

Under current Illinois law, then employee injured on the job has a duty to report that accident to the employer within 45 days. The law does not specify whether the notice be offered verbal or in writing; however, employees can retain copies of a written notice for subsequent documentary proof. Additionally, Illinois workers injured as a result of radiological exposure have up to 90 days to report a suspicion of having received an excess dose of radiation.

The rules for reporting occupational disease require employees to give notice to their employers just as soon as they are practically able to notify them of their illnesses. For example, a factory worker who suffers from hearing loss as a result of working around heavy machinery for many years may not actually become aware of their illness for some time. Alternatively, an auto mechanic made ill by exposure to hydraulic fluid may experience an adverse reaction within hours of the exposure.

It is also important to know that Illinois worker's compensation laws prohibit employers from terminating employees for filing workers compensation claims. In fact, employers are barred from not rehiring injured employees, discriminating against them in any way or demoting them for reporting a workplace accident or illness.

Once a worker has reported an accident or illness to his or her employer, the employer is then required to provide first aid or other necessary medical services to the employee. The employer is also obligated to inform the company's insurance carrier or workers' compensation administrator.

Illinois workers who have been injured in the workplace should know that they have a right to be free of unnecessary risks while at their jobs. A founding principle of workers' compensation law is that employees receive compensation when they are injured without regard to fault in exchange for absolving employers of liability. This is known as an "exclusive remedy" However, there are some instances in which you may be able to sue a third-party such as the manufacturer of faulty equipment that contributed to your injury. Your workers' compensation attorney should be able to determine whether your case has merit with regards to pursuing further claims.

Source: Illinois Workers' Compensation Commision, "Handbook on Workers' Compensation and Occupational Diseases" Nov. 06, 2014

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