School Employees & Workers’ Compensation:

What You Need to Know About Your Rights & Benefits

When it comes to school employees & workers’ compensation after a work related injury, the Illinois Education Association highly recommends that you contact a workers’ compensation attorney. For more than 17 years, Woodruff Johnson & Evans has been privileged to be one of the few firms recommended by the IEA to handle members’ workers’ compensation claims.

Below, we have gathered a few of the questions teachers and para-educators often asked when coming to us for assistance with their workers’ compensation claims. If you have questions about your claim, we are here to help you.

Q: How do I know if I qualify for workers’ compensation benefits?

A: If you suffered an injury while you are on the clock during the course of your duties, you most likely qualify for work comp benefits, which include a partial wage replacement and medical expenses related to the injury.

Q: How long do I have to give my employer notice of my injury?

A: Typically, you have 45 days from the date of the injury to give notice to one of your supervisors, but you should give notice of the injury as soon as possible.

Q: How long do I have to file a claim on my injury?

A: Generally, you must file a claim with the IWCC (not just the work comp carrier) within three years of the date of your accident.

Q: Who pays my medical bills?

A: The work comp carrier should authorize and pay for the medical treatment recommended by your treating physicians.

Q: Do I have to treat with my employer’s doctor?

A: No. You are free to treat with any two doctors of your choosing, and anyone they refer you to.

Q: Do I have to use my sick days or Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) while I’m off work?

A: You don’t have to use your sick days while off work for a work injury. However, your employer may require you to run your FMLA time concurrently.

Q: How is my average weekly wage calculated?

A: The wages you earned over the year prior to the accident are divided by 52 weeks to get your average weekly wage.

Q: If I’ve had a prior injury to the same body part, can I still file a claim?

A: Yes. The work comp carrier would still be responsible for paying any benefits resulting from a new or more extensive injury to that body part.

Q: What if my injury occurred gradually over time?

A: If your injury occurred as a result of repetitive job duties, your claim would be compensable. However, school employees are a little different. If you don’t work in the summer but split your pay over the whole year, your wages are divided by the number of weeks you actually worked, which should increase your average.

Q: If I file a claim, will I be fired?

A: No. Retaliation for exercising your work comp rights is prohibited by the statute.

Q: Am I entitled to a settlement at the end of my claim?

A: In most circumstances, if you’ve suffered a compensable work injury, you are entitled to an award for permanent partial disability to compensate you for symptoms or difficulties you continue to experience as a result of the injury.

Q: How are attorney fees paid in work comp cases?

A: Attorneys are paid 20% of any disputed benefits recovered for you. You pay nothing up front and in the unlikely event we don’t recover anything for you, you don’t owe any fees.

Our attorneys have extensive experience addressing the special considerations involved when pursuing workers’ compensation claims for school employees. We frequently represent school employees throughout the state of Illinois. If you’ve been injured at work, we can help.

We can be reached by phone at (866) 891-9211 or online via our contact form. Our free, confidential consultations provide you with the information you want and the answers to questions you have. You need the experience, reputation, and skilled legal team of Woodruff Johnson & Evans behind you.

Related blog topics:

How to File a Workers’ Comp Claim for Workplace Violence

Workers Compensation: Do seasonal workers get lost wages?

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