If you’re injured while working in DuPage County and you’re having trouble getting benefits, don’t file a lawsuit. Instead, file a claim with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission in Wheaton.
The commission has many locations across the state. Your claim will be assigned to the location closest to the injury site. If you sustain a work-related injury in DuPage County, your claim will be assigned to an arbitrator from the DuPage County Government Center in Wheaton, located at 421 N. County Farm Road, 1-500A JTK Bldg. If you are injured out of state, your claim will be assigned to the location closest to your home. So if you’re injured in Indiana, but you live in DuPage County, your case will still be assigned to the government center in Wheaton.
You must make a claim to the Commission as soon as possible after an injury. There are strict time limits for notifying your employer and making claims in these cases. It is important not to miss the deadline as you may lose your only chance to file a claim. The time limit for filing a claim is generally three years from the date of the injury, but check with an experienced attorney.
Your claim will be assigned to an arbitrator in Wheaton. Your case will be reviewed by the arbitrator once every two months. These are called status hearings, in which both parties and their attorneys appear before the arbitrator to discuss the status of the case. This process continues until there is a settlement or a lawsuit. During a status hearing, a process can be requested by either party.
If the case goes too long without progress — usually three years — the arbitrator may dismiss the claim. The arbitrators are very busy, possibly a thousand cases or more, so it is your responsibility, and that of your lawyer, to move the case forward and take action when there is a problem.
If the parties reach a settlement, the arbitrator must approve it before it becomes final. If there is a trial, the arbitrator will make a decision within 60 days of the trial. The process can take a few years. However, emergency hearings are available in certain situations, such as when it comes to medical payments or loss of time.
The committee is neutral, just like a court, so I recommend hiring a lawyer to fight for you. I believe that you will get the best results with a lawyer who specializes in workplace injuries, who appears regularly before the DuPage County arbitrators, and who is respected by the insurance companies.
Lawyers handling accidents at work are all over the state. The majority of attorneys who specialize solely in work-related injuries are based in Chicago. In fact, if you go to the Workers’ Compensation Commission in Wheaton, about 90% of the attorneys you’ll see are not DuPage workplace injury attorneys, but based in Chicago. This is in contrast to other areas of law such as divorce and criminal defense.
Attorneys’ fees in Illinois workplace injuries are capped at 20% of what you recover, but that usually excludes recovery for medical bills or your time off. That means you don’t pay any travel expenses for hiring a lawyer to represent you.