Illinois Workers' Compensation laws & compensation compliance analysis

Illinois Workers' Compensation: What you need to know

Virtually all employees must be covered by workers' compensation insurance (IL Comp. Stat. Ch. 820 Sec. 305/1et seq.). The only exceptions are the following types of workers:
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• Those working for agricultural enterprises with a payroll of less than 400 person-days per year
• Real estate sellers or brokers who work for commissions
• Employees covered by federal workers' compensation law
• Domestic servants, unless they work 40 hours per week for at least 13 weeks of a calendar year
• Members of fire and police departments in cities with over 200,000 residents
• Persons working outside the usual course of the employer's business
Employees may not waive their rights to workers' compensation coverage except with the approval of the Industrial Commission.
“No-fault” system. Workers' compensation is a “no-fault” system. Unlike traditional legal mechanisms for compensating accident victims--which limit recovery to cases in which the victim's injuries result from some other person's negligence--workers' compensation laws allow employees to collect without regard to fault, simply by showing by a preponderance of the evidence that the injury arose “out of and in the course of employment.” Compensation is guaranteed in such cases. It doesn't matter that the employee (or a coworker) was partly at fault, nor does it matter that the employee knew the job was risky. “Contributory negligence,” “assumption of risk,” and other defenses normally used by defendants in accident cases do not apply to on-the-job injuries. In return for this guarantee of compensation, employees give up the right to sue the employer for damages, thus effectively limiting the employer's liability for workplace injuries.
The term “injury” has a specialized meaning in the workers' compensation statute. While most people think of an injury as the result of a specific event or incident (such as an accident), workers' compensation defines the term more expansively, to include disabilities resulting from chronic harmful exposures of various kinds, as well as those caused by the cumulative effects of minor traumas that, individually, would not be capable of producing any noticeable ill effects.

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