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Illinois Bill Introduced To Amend Workers’ Compensation For Firefighters

firefighter jacket and helmet laying on a truckA new bill introduced to the Illinois Senate earlier this month would amend the current Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act to begin compensation almost immediately for firefighters, emergency medical technicians, and paramedics seriously injured while on the job. S.B. 1219 was introduced by Sen. Neil Anderson of Moline. Under the proposed bill, the current Workers’ Compensation Act would be amended to allow for coverage of temporary total disability to begin the day after an accident for volunteer, paid on call, or part time first responders if their incapacity lasts for fourteen days or more. If passed, the legislation would go into effect immediately.

Temporary Total Disability

Temporary total disability benefits replace wages for workers in Illinois when they are unable to work until the medical issue stabilizes. The start date for temporary total disability depends on how long the injured worker is unable to return to work. Under the current Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, if the period of temporary total incapacity for work lasts more than three working days, weekly compensation is then paid beginning on the fourth day of such temporary total disability, and it continues as long as the total temporary incapacity lasts. Temporary total disability benefits are typically two-thirds of an injured worker’s average weekly wage, subject to statutory minimum and maximum rates, but are not taxed like regular income.

When a worker is first injured on the job and the employer is informed of their claim for temporary total disability, under Illinois law the employer is required to take action within the first fourteen days. This includes beginning payment of temporary total disability benefits, denying the claim and providing written reason why, or advising the worker that more information is needed to determine whether temporary total disability will be paid and a written explanation of why that information is necessary.

Maximum Medical Improvement

For injured workers that qualify for temporary total disability, the end date of this benefit is when the victim is no longer totally incapacitated from returning to work. Also known as maximum medical improvement, temporary total disability benefits end when the injured worker’s condition has stabilized and recovered as much as the injury will permit. It is important to note that maximum medical improvement does not mean that the injury is completely healed. In some on the job accidents, the victim never fully recovers from the injuries caused by the accident. However, once the injuries have improved as much as possible, maximum medical improvement is reached and temporary total disability benefits will end.

Call or Contact Our Office Today

Have you been injured on the job in the Chicago area? If so, our office will be able to help you file a workers’ compensation claim and begin your temporary total disability benefits right away. Call the office or contact us today at Harvey L. Walner & Associates to schedule a free consultation of your claims with one of our skilled workers’ compensation attorneys.

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