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What are some common workers' compensation disputes?

Being injured on the job is an experience no one in Illinois wants to go through. Being injured at work may mean having to take an extended leave to recover, meaning the worker would not be earning any wages. It is for this reason that the workers' compensation system exists. Workers' compensation benefits can be the financial lifeline a worker needs after a workplace accident. However, that doesn't mean that disputes do not arise.

If an employee in Illinois is injured at work, but his or her employer refuses to pay them workers' compensation benefits, he or she can file a claim with the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission. The Commission will only become involved in a case if it is the worker who files a claim to request a hearing.

There are a number of types of issues that could be in dispute in such claims. First of all, there is jurisdiction. It must be shown that, when the accident occurred, the employer fell under the Illinois Workers' Compensation or Occupational Diseases Act. Second, there is employment. The worker must show that, when the accident occurred, he or she had an employment relationship with the employer. Third, there is accident or exposure. The worker must show that the accident that injured him or her or the exposure that caused his or her occupational disease took place during the course of employment. Fourth, there is causal connection. The worker must show that the medical condition he or she suffered was either caused by or aggravated by the workplace accident or exposure. Finally, there is notice. The worker must show that he or she notified his or her employer of the accident or exposure within the applicable legal time limits.

Keep in mind that the burden of proving the worker is eligible for benefits lies with the worker. If the worker does succeed, he or she may qualify for at least some benefits although there may still be other issues that the worker and employer are in dispute over. What is important in the end, though, is that the worker has the right to dispute his or her employer's decision. By filing a claim with the Commission, a worker is on his or her way to pursuing the benefits he or she needs.

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