As the labor force in America becomes increasingly mobile, out-of-state worker injuries have become a serious issue for many employees. Workers’ compensation law differs from one state to another, making such cases more complicated than typical injury claims. Illinois workers who incur injuries in another state have the right to compensation for lost wages, medical treatment and vocational rehabilitation. In many cases, employees can file for benefits under Illinois law even if their injuries occurred in another state.
When are workers permitted to file claims in Illinois?
Employees may file Illinois workers’ compensation claims if they can prove that one or more of the following applies to them:
- They were hired under a contract drawn up in Illinois
- Their primary workplace is in Illinois
- Their injuries were incurred during employment within Illinois
Injured workers in these situations have the right to file a claim under Illinois law, even if they are not currently Illinois residents.
How does Illinois handle out-of-state medical claims?
Many employees who file for Illinois workers’ compensation choose to seek out-of-state treatment. Illinois law recognizes that injured workers may need to pursue medical care in their current state of residence, and legislators have responded to the increasing number of out-of-state workers’ compensation claims by revising the calculations made in such cases. Claims made through June 2011 were paid either according to the fee schedule in the employee’s state of residence or at 76 percent of the total cost of treatment and lost wages. Starting in July 2011, the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission requires out-of-state treatment to be paid either according to the normal Illinois fee schedule or according to the schedule in the state of residence, whichever of the two is lesser.
Filing a claim outside Illinois
Some injured Illinois workers choose to file a claim in another state. In these cases, medical treatment is compensated according to the law of the state where the claim is filed, even if some or all of the actual treatment takes place in Illinois. Because of this important distinction, insurance providers and employers must know where claims are filed. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission keeps records of all past and present claims on file in the Public Information Unit. Cases opened since 1983 can also be examined on the IWCC website.
According to records kept by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 3 million American employees were injured on the job during 2013. If you have suffered a broken bone or another disabling injury at work, contact a workers’ compensation lawyer today to find out more about your rights.