What are the Rules on Giving Notice of an Accident and the Statute of Limitations for Workers Compensation in Illinois?

When do I need to give notice and file a claim under Workers’ Compensation in Illinois?

According to the Illinois Workers Compensation Act Section 6(c), “Notice of the accident shall be given to the employer as soon as practicable, but not later than 45 days after accident.” In order to win a Workers Compensation claim in Illinois, it is common practice to give your employer notice within 45 days of the accident. The notice can be given orally or through writing. In addition, it is generally necessary to file a claim within 3 years of the accident.

What are the exceptions to the statute of limitations?

There are a number of exceptions to the notice and statute of limitations. However, our Chicago workers compensation lawyers at Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates will tell you not to rely on these exceptions. If you have missed the statute, it is in your best interest to file your claim immediately and try to fit your circumstances under one of the exceptions listed below. DO NOT delay filling your claim for any reasons. If it is found that you did not file in time and no exceptions apply, then your case is over. It costs nothing to file your claim now, but it could cost you thousands of dollars if you wait too long.

The Legal Disability Exception

Legal disability means the injured worker cannot handle their own affairs and needs a guardian. If an injured worker is under a legal disability, then the notice requirement doesn’t begin to run against until a guardian has been appointed.

The “Hulk” Exception

If an injury was caused by exposure to radiological materials or equipment, notice is required within 90 days of the time that the employee knows or suspects that he or she has received an excessive dose of radiation.

The Notice Requirement

You should give notice of the accident as soon as possible. If the information is known, the approximate date and place of the accident should be noted. A defect or inaccuracy in the notice most likely will not prevent you from winning your Illinois Workers’ Compensation claim; unless, your employer can prove that they are unjustifiably discriminated by the defect or inaccuracy.
The Chicago workers compensation lawyers at Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates strongly encourage you to give notice of the accident to your employer as soon as possible. In cases where the 45 days has passed, there is a loophole. Under section 8(j) of the Act, if the: “injured employee receives benefits, including medical, surgical or hospital benefits under any group plan covering non-occupational disabilities contributed to wholly or partially by the employer, which benefits should not have been payable if any rights of the recovery existed under this Act, then such amounts so paid to the employee from any such group plan as shall be consistent with, and limited to, the provisions of paragraph 2 hereof, shall be credited to or against any compensation payment for temporary total incapacity for work or any medical, surgical or hospital benefits made or to be made under this Act. In such event, the period of time for giving notice of accidental injury and filing application for adjustment of claim does not commence to run until the termination of such payments. This paragraph does not apply to payments made under any group plan which would been payable irrespective of an accidental injury under this Act.”
Basically, what this says is that if you have health insurance and your employer pays part of the premium, and your health insurance pays for treatment related to your work accident, then the 45 – day notice period doesn’t start until “the termination of such payment.” Chicago work injury lawyer, Mark Weissburg says, “this is a loophole to be used if all else fails, it is not something to rely on if you’re able to give notice within the 45 days.”
Section 8(j) also applies to the statute of limitations, not just the notice requirement. So once again, let’s say you miss the 3-year deadline for filing your claim, but insurance has been paying for your treatment. This is means you may still be able to file your claim.

Another exception to the 3-year deadline: Section 6(d) of the Illinois Workers Compensation Act

“In any case, other than one where the injury was caused by exposure to radiological materials or equipment or asbestos unless the application for compensation is filed with the Commission within 3 years after the date of the accident, where no compensation has been paid, or within 2 years after the date of the last payment of compensation, where any has been paid, whichever shall be later, the right to file such application shall be barred.
What this says is that if your employer is paying Temporary Total Disability (TTD), or paying for medical treatment, or paying some other Workers’ Compensation benefit, an injured worker has 2 years to file a claim.