Cost of Living Adjustments
Inflation causes cost of living expenses to increase on a regular basis. For this reason, workers’ compensation benefits may increase over time to keep up with the cost of living. Sadly, workplace injuries often render workers unable to work for a long time and, in some cases, even permanently. If you suffered harm because of a job-related injury or illness and your workers’ compensation benefits are falling short, you might be able to obtain a cost of living adjustment. Our reputable and diligent Schaumburg and Wheaton workers’ compensation attorneys can investigate your claim and help you figure out your legal options.Workers’ Compensation in Illinois
Workers’ compensation is an insurance program that employers are legally required to carry in Illinois. It provides certain medical expenses and wage benefits for employees who are injured or become ill in the course of employment. For example, all medical treatment that is considered reasonably necessary to cure or treat the injured employee is covered. This can include emergency care, surgery, ongoing doctors’ visits, prosthetic devices, and even medication. In addition, injured workers may be entitled to part of their lost wages as well as different types of disability benefits. It is critical to note that every case is different and the specific benefits that an injured worker will be eligible to receive will depend on the nature and extent of the injury suffered.
The Illinois workers’ compensation program is a no-fault system, which means that you cannot sue your employee or co-worker for an on-the-job injury or illness. On the other hand, you also do not have to prove negligence like you do in a traditional personal injury claim. Even if you were injured because of your own actions, you would still be covered by workers’ compensation, and a skilled work injury lawyer can help you claim benefits.Pursuing a Cost of Living Adjustment
All benefits in Illinois are adjusted for the cost of living. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission's Rate Adjustment Fund was created in the 1970s to pay cost of living increases to those who have been either permanently or totally disabled due to a workplace injury, or are survivors of fatally injured workers. Cost of living adjustments are made to ensure that the value of benefits paid does not diminish due to inflation. In other words, cost of living adjustments allow injured workers to keep up with the rising cost of living.
Cost of living adjustments are paid to injured workers who have already received a final decision on their workers’ compensation claim. Starting in the second year after the initial award, cost of living adjustments account for changes in the average weekly wage. In other words, after filing a claim for workers’ compensation benefits, the recipient may be given an amount set forth in the Adjustment Fund, which reflects the variation in the amount of the weekly wage from the prior year to the current year. The difference would then be paid to the claimant every month.
In cases where a worker has died due to a work-related injury, surviving spouses may be eligible for cost of living adjustments as well. Once a surviving spouse has obtained a final decision in terms of his or her eligibility and entitlement to death benefits, that spouse will receive an amount equal to two-thirds of the employee’s gross average weekly wage for the year preceding the injury. This amount is then subject to cost of living adjustments, and any difference in the amounts will be paid to the spouse on a monthly basis.Contact a Skilled Workers’ Compensation Attorney in Wheaton or Schaumburg
If you were left disabled or lost a loved one in a job-related accident, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits and subsequent cost of living adjustments. At Therman Law Offices, our seasoned work injury lawyers are committed to helping injured workers in Wheaton and Schaumburg resolve their workers’ compensation claims in an efficient and effective manner. We proudly take on clients from Norwood Park, Harwood Heights, Norridge, Edison Park, Elmwood Park, Des Plaines, Rosemont, Park Ridge, Elk Grove Village, and Mt. Prospect. To schedule a free consultation with a member of our team, please call us at 312-588-1900 or contact us online.