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How do you qualify for workers compensation in Illinois?

The Workers’ Compensation Statute protects every employee in the State of Illinois.

A victim of a work-related injury or illness is eligible for many forms of compensation including reasonable medical care required to cure or relieve the impact of the injury, lost time from work, and any temporary or permanent disability.

Illinois Workers’ compensation is a system of benefits that:

– Pays for the medical treatment and medical bills incurred by work-related injuries and illnesses.
– Pays for the lost time from work
– Pays for any temporary or permanent disabilities
– Covers nearly every employee in Illinois
– and begins the very first day that you start working for your employer.

Illinois requires most employers to purchase workers’ compensation insurance to pay for any work-related injuries that may occur, including:

– Injuries caused by the repetitive use of a body part at work
– Slip and fall injuries
– Injuries caused by equipment failure
– and many other physical problems and diseases caused by work.

Employers in Illinois are required to purchase workers’ compensation insurance for their employees and the insurance companies fund the payment of worker’s compensation benefits for employees’ claims. In the event of a dispute, the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission (IWCC, or the Commission) enforces the state’s worker’s compensation laws and protects worker rights.

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The Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE) and Your Disability

After a work-related injury, you may be asked to complete an assessment called a Functional Capacity Evaluation (“FCE”).

An FCE may be ordered by an attorney, an insurance provider offering workers’ compensation coverage or by your employer, but it must be prescribed by a doctor. The FCE is a series of tests used to evaluate your work-related physical abilities. Questions that an FCE hopes to address include:

• What are your functional limitations?
• Do you require additional rehabilitation?
• Are you able to return to work?
• If so what tasks will you be able to perform?

Physicians request an FCE to obtain additional information about your injury beyond what they can obtain during a typical workers’ compensation evaluation. The tests in an FCE will always be performed by a certified evaluator. The evaluator should be cautious to assess your injury without causing any further damage.

A Functional Capacity Evaluation is designed to be safe and to provide impartial information about an injury or illness. The tests that are part of an FCE will evaluate a worker’s:

• Range of motion(s)
• Pull and push strength
• Lifting ability
• Flexibility
• Stamina and ability to carry objects
• Other abilities that are required for your job

During the FCE, try your best to be honest and consistent. There are built in tests for the evaluator to determine whether you are putting forth your best effort. Be very specific about what tasks or movements you are unable to do, and what hurts you.

After an FCE, a report will be generated which should include the results of all these tests and a determination regarding your range of physical and/or mental abilities in relation to performing your job. The report may also include additional recommendations such as a suggestion to avoid specific tasks or movements. The report will be provided to your doctor who will ultimately determine the next course of action with respect to medical care.