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Illinois residents with work injury claims should file quickly

For those dealing with a work injury, workers' compensation rules can many times be overwhelming. Typically, injured workers are focused on their recovery and don't spend a lot of time thinking about filing the appropriate claims with their employer right way. While this is understandable, many Illinois residents are being denied workers' compensation claims as a result of waiting too long to file their injury reports.

This is especially true for workers who have chronic repetitive stress injuries, such as carpal tunnel. Employees at an Illinois correctional facility learned this the hard way. Several employees filed claims for repetitive stress injuries, but their claims were denied because they did not file their claims soon enough.

For those who suffer from carpal tunnel, often the pain develops gradually until it becomes unbearable. Some workers' compensation arbitrators say that workers should recognize the symptoms and file their claim within three years. Those arbitrators thus denied any claims that were made for carpal tunnel syndrome that were made three years after the date that their symptoms were discovered and, according to a physician's statement, said to be attributable to work.

Illinois also allows for those with previous repetitive injuries to be compensated for any aggravation of pre-existing injuries. However, once more, the date of the diagnosis of aggravation is critical, and the claim should be filed within three years of the diagnosis. Otherwise, the claim may be denied, like one correctional facility employee's claim that she filed three years after retiring. Though physicians reported she did have the condition, she was denied anyway because she didn't file the claim in a timely manner.

Often, those who have a work injury become so focused on becoming healthy that they forget to take care of vital administrative procedures in a timely manner.. However, it is crucial to file a workers' compensation claim as soon as possible. In doing so, it may be possible to avoid being denied benefits for a completely valid claim.

Source: Belleville News-Democrat, "Workers' comp claims at Menard are being denied after arbitrator switch," George Pawlaczyk and Beth Hundsdorfer, April 25, 2012

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