MARSZALEK & MARSZALEK                                      Attorneys at Law 

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Marszalek & Marszalek

205 W. Randolph Street

Suite 1550

Chicago, IL 60606

Phone: (312) 726-7120

Fax: (312) 263-5939


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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

General FAQ

Q: What are your office hours?

A: See our left-side panel for our business hours. Please note that the office closes for major holidays.

Q: I need an attorney for a type of law you don’t practice. Can you refer me to an attorney that you trust?
A: Yes. Our attorneys network frequently and can refer you to reliable attorneys that can handle all sorts of cases outside of our practice. You can contact us by phone or email for a referral.


Q: Do you offer consultations outside of Chicago?

A: Yes. We frequently visit the Kankakee, Joliet, Danville, Rock Island and Champaign-Urbana area in addition to our Chicago office. Visit our resources page to view the dates, times and locations of our down-state consultations or contact us for further information.

Q: Can I schedule an appointment to meet an attorney?
A: Yes. Please contact our office by phone or email with a time that works for you. Our attorneys also have in-person consultation times reserved each month in various locations around Illinois. You can attend these consultations without an appointment. Please view our resources page for a complete listing of free, in-person consultations.


Q: Where do I go for my arbitration hearing?
A: If you already know where your arbitration hearing site is, you can view a list of addresses in our resource section here. Simply click ‘downstate arbitration hearing sites’ under the Workers’ Compensation links. If you do not know your arbitration site, however, please call the office and someone will confirm it for you. 

Workers' Compensation FAQ

Q: What is an accident under the law?
A:  An accident is any unusual and/or unexpected happening, ache or pain that is connect with your job. It is not necessary to be hit by a truck to have an accident at work. Things such as cuts, scars, broken bones, back strains, surgeries of many types, as well as hearing loss, heart attacks, mental and emotional problems can be work-related accidents as contemplated under the law.

If an existing physical or emotional condition is aggravated or worsened by your job that, too, is considered an accident under the law and may entitle you to workers’ compensation benefits. There is no need for the original problem to be work related; the worsening of the condition due to your employment is all that is necessary. The old line from the boss, “it is just arthritis” may be a clue that you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.


There are also many repetitive work activities that cause the body pain, aches, tingling and numbness in the arms or hands. After some time in this continuous type of activity, the body simply breaks down and cannot function. This too is an accident under the law and is called a repetitive trauma.


Q: What accidents entitle me to workers’ compensation benefits?

A: Any accident that “arises out of an in the course of your employment” entitles you to workers compensation benefits. Cuts, back strain or a broken arm suffered at work while performing your job are obvious examples of compensable accidents. Other examples of work-related accidents are:

  1. Fights at work if you do not start the fight
  2. Horseplay which results in an injury to an innocent party
  3. Accidents away from the job site when you are doing a task at the direction of your boss
  4. Accidents in the company-owned parking lot
  5. Accidents at company-sponsored activities where your attendance is required
  6. Heart attack and strokes that happen at work or shortly thereafter

Q: What must I tell my boss if I think I have an injury at work?

A: You should tell your boss about any and all unusual complaints including: aches, pains, numbness or tingling that happens at work or that may be associated with your job. You must notify your employer within 45 days of the accident. FAILURE TO NOTIFY YOUR EMPLOYER MAY RESULT IN THE DENIAL OF WORKERS’ COMPENSATION BENEFITS. Notice must be given to an official of the company such as a foreman, company nurse, personnel director or other management person. Talking to a co-worker or union steward is not sufficient notice under the law. You must notify an official of the company in a management type position.

Notice can be given orally or in writing. We encourage written notice and have available a form you can use. It is also wise to make notes on your calendar if you have been hurt at work. You should also keep track of all conversations concerning your injury and medical care.

Q: What benefits am I entitled to under the law?

  1. Medical Care
  2. Temporary total disability benefits
  3. Permanent partial disability benefits

Q: What is medical care?

A: Medical care is any care of treatment from simple first aid and application of a band aid to hospitalization and neurosurgery that is required to cure or alleviate the effects of your work-related injury. The company must provide you with medical care for the rest of your life unless you give up this right by settlement of your claim.


You do not have to go to the “company doctor” for treatment. However, the company can require you to see an independent physician for an evaluation of your condition, but cannot for you to treat with him/her. You can still choose any doctor and select two doctors to treat your condition. A referral by your first doctor to another physician or to 20 other specialists is not considered your second choice of doctor. You must actually choose a second physician whom you have not been referred by some other treating physician.


In order to get care from a third doctor after you have made your two choices, you must get permission from the company. Treatment with-out the approval of the company after your two selections have been made may result in your being liable to pay the doctor bills. If the company refuses to provide medical care after you choose a doctor, you should continue treatment and file a claim with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission to resolve the issue. If this happens, it is strongly suggested you contact us.


**Preferred provider; As of June 28, 2011 employers may refer injured employees to an approved preferred provider network. If the employee declines to participate in the employer’s preferred provider program, the rejection counts as one of the two choices of allowed medical providers.


Q: If I miss time from work, when do workers compensation benefits start?

A: If you are off work due to your injury, you are entitled to temporary total disability benefits. However, there is a three working day waiting period before you are entitled to receive any compensation. If you are off work fourteen calendar days or more, the three day waiting period is cancelled and you should receive compensation for every day you are off work.


Q: How long am I entitled to workers’ compensation?

A: As long as you are off work as a result of your on-the-job injury you are entitled to workers’ compensation, even if this means the rest of your life. If your doctor releases you to return to work, your benefits will stop. However, if the return to work is “light duty” and you have no job to go back to, you may be entitled to continue workers’ compensation benefits until you actually return to work within the restrictions placed upon you by your doctor, or return to your regular job. At times these questions are difficult to handle and it would be in your best interest to consult with us.


Q: How much do I get when I am off work?
A: The general rule is two-thirds of your average weekly wage excluding any overtime pay. You should note that if you work two jobs and your employer has knowledge of both jobs, your workers’ compensation benefits are based on the wages from both jobs.

If you work part-time you are entitled to two-thirds of your weekly pay with certain maximums and minimums. If you have questions concerning compensation rates, we suggest that you contact us for assistance.


Q: How can I calculate my average weekly wage (AWW)?
A: To determine an approximation of what your average weekly wage is, use the following guidelines:

  1. If you worked in the same employment for the year before your accident, add your regular pay being sure to exclude overtime. Divide the answer by 52 and the result is your average weekly wage. EXAMPLE: $18,000 is your gross wage. Subtract $3,000 of overtime, which equals $15,000. Divide $15,000 by 52 and your average weekly wage is $288.46.
  2. If you missed more than one week from work during he year before your accident or changed employment during the year preceding your accident, you should add your regular wages, being sure to exclude overtime, and divide by the actual number of weeks you worked during the year before the accident. EXAMPLE: $300 per week for 20 weeks. $300 x 20 = $6000.00.
  3. If you are employed in a trade which does not work regularly each week, take the weekly wage that would have been earned by someone working for the same employer in the same pay classification or grade and do the same work assignment for 52 weeks prior to your accident and divide this figure by 52. Generally, if you employer claims your average weekly wage is in category 3, it would be a good idea to seek legal counsel. You can contact us here.
  4. Overtime may be included in the calculation of the average weekly wage (AWW), at the straight time rate if it is regular and mandatory.

Q: Am I entitled to additional workers’ compensation after I return to work?
A: Yes, compensation for permanent disability is one of the most important benefits you are entitled to receive. If your injury results in permanent disability, you are probably entitled to additional workers’ compensation benefits. The amount is based on the type of injury, part of the body affected, lost time and residual disability. If you have suffered an injury with residual disability, we will be happy to evaluate the case at no cost or obligation. You may contact us here.


Q: Is hearing loss compensable?
A: Yes, but many factors must be considered to determine a specific loss. Generally, after September 15, 1980, hearing loss of sounds below 3,000 cycles per second is compensable, while loss over 3,000 cycles is not. Your doctor or audiologist can tell you in what frequency range your loss lies. Many standards apply to hearing loss which are too technical to discuss in the booklet. Please feel free to call contact us for consultation.


Q: Is disfigurement or scarring worth any compensation?
A: Yes. Scarring on the face, head, neck, arms, hands, or legs below the knee is worthy of consideration. Scarring on the remainder of the body from accidents, i.e. burns or medical care like skin grafts, may be compensable if serious enough.


Q: If a minor child is injured on the job, is that child entitled to compensation?
A: Yes. In addition to the compensation regularly payable, a 50% penalty is added for a minor who is illegally employed and who suffers an injury on the job.


Q: Are workers’ compensation benefits payable on a work-related death?
A: Yes. Benefits are payable to spouses and dependent children as well as other close family members. Burial expense is allowed and is currently $8,000.00. This payment is in addition to temporary total disability benefits and medical benefits if the injured worker survives the accident for a period of time.

The surviving spouse is entitled to workers’ compensation provided a valid marriage exists at the date of death. Even if a surviving spouse is separated and living apart from the injured worker, they are still entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. However, common law marriages are not recognized as a marriage for purposes of workers compensation benefits in Illinois.

A dependent child is defined as a child under 18 years of age or under 25 years of age who is enrolled in a full-time accredited educational institution. Physically or mentally handicapped children are also classified as dependent children regardless of their age or education status.

If the surviving spouse and dependent children are living apart, the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission will divide and allocate payments of compensation between and among the surviving parties.

Remarriage of a surviving spouse without dependent children will terminate payments of workers’ compensation to that spouse on the date of remarriage. At the time of remarriage, the surviving spouse will be entitled to one lump sum payment equal to 104 weeks of compensation benefits.

A dependent child is entitled to workers’ compensation until age 18 or 25 if the dependent child is enrolled in an accredited educational institution. However, a minimum of six years of workers’ compensation is to be paid to a dependent child regardless of age or educational status.


Q: How is a claim filed?
A: Claims can only be filed with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission (IWCC). The claims must be filed on forms provided by the IWCC. It is unlawful to for an employer to harass, discriminate or fire anyone for filing a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. For further information on filing claims and required claim forms, please contact us here.


Q: When may a claim be filed?
A: A claim for workers’ compensation may be filed at any time after the date of accident. There is no waiting period whatsoever concerning the filing of a claim for compensation benefits with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission (IWCC). In fact, waiting too long to file a claim may result in a total denial of benefits.

A claim must be filed within three years of the date of accident or within two years of last payment of compensation. A general rule of thumb is that filing should always be made within three years of the date of accident to be sure the claim is timely filed. You should remember that filing a claim too late will result in denial of benefits.


Q: Does filing for sickness and accident benefits or group insurance benefits constitute the filing of a claim under the workers’ compensation law?
A: No. A claim under a sickness and accident program or a group insurance program is not sufficient for filing for workers’ compensation. A workers compensation claim must be filed with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission (IWCC). An insurance company cannot and will not file a claim on your behalf. You must do it yourself or have an attorney file the claim for you.


Q: Where is a case heard?
A: The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission has many hearing locations throughout the state. The IWCC will set a hearing site based on where the accident actually occurred. When you file a claim, you will receive a notification from the IWCC of the exact hearing location, including a date and time to appear. If you are a current client, click here for a complete list of hearing locations.


Q: What is the difference between a settlement and trial?
A: A settlement is the giving up of all rights that you are entitled to under the law. You cannot ask for any additional compensation or medical benefits. In addition, settling your case also requires that you give up the right to take the matter before the judge for a hearing.

In a trial, you present the facts of your case to the judge. You must present to him/her how the accident occurred, the medical care you received and what problems still exist. A trial will keep medical benefits open for the rest of your life. You can also go back to the judge within two and one-half years from when your case is heard and ask for additional compensation and medical benefits if circumstances warrant a further claim. In addition, if your condition worsens within two and one-half years of the time you see the judge, you can ask for additional permanent compensation for the increase in your disability.


Q: Do I need an attorney?
A: Though an attorney is not required, it is in your best interest to have an attorney represent you. The insurance companies all have attorneys representing their interests. If you attempt to proceed with a hearing before the judge, you can make mistakes. The law and presentation of a case is a very technical matter and any one item may result in the judge denying your claim for benefits. Consequently, we urge anyone who has been hurt on the job to seek legal counsel and advice. If you have questions, feel free to contact us  for a free consultation with no obligations whatsoever.


Q: If I hire an attorney, how do they get paid?
A: Under the compensation laws, attorneys’ fees are contingent. That means the attorney only receives a fee if they win your case. If the attorney does not win your case, they will not earn any fee whatsoever. The law sets attorneys’ fees at a maximum of 20% for any compensation the lawyer obtains for you. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission requires that a written agreement be signed and submitted to them with the filing of the claim if you are represented by an attorney. Your attorney will thoroughly explain the provisions of the attorney representation agreement to you.


Q: How do I select an attorney?
A: Workers compensation is a specialized and highly technical area of the law. There are a number of attorneys in this state who concentrate in this area of law. Below are several considerations to bear in mind:

  1. How many workers’ compensation (WC) cases has the attorney personally handled in the last year?
  2. If you are talking to a large firm, as which attorney will be handling your case and what experience this attorney has in the field of WC cases.
  3. How many WC cases gas the attorney personally tried in the past 5 years?
  4. If the attorney has tried over 100 cases in the last 5 years, ask for references locally.
  5. If you live in a small town, be certain to check the relationship of the attorney you are talking to with the company and the owners of business you are filing a claim against. It is advisable to select an attorney who does not and has not represented your employer.
  6. Be certain that the lawyer you hire handles injured workers cases exclusively. You want someone who is an advocate for injured workers rights all of the time, not just some of the time.
  7. Be wary of the attorney that tells you what to do; your attorney is there to provide you with advice and counsel and explain your alternatives and how to protect your rights.
  8. Be wary of the attorney who does not promptly return your calls. You are paying a few for their advice and counsel and they should be available to advise you when any questions arise throughout the course of your disability.
  9. You hire a particular attorney because you have faith in his skill and ability; be wary of the firm that passes your case from one attorney to the other with little or no results.
  10. Remember, you may discharge an attorney at any time if you are unsatisfied with their work.

Social Security Disability FAQ

Many people who are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits can also be entitled to Social Security Disability benefits at the same time. I have been telephoned lately will several questions concerning the application for these benefits and their relation to workers’ compensation. I have listed several of the more common questions in this article with a brief discussion of each.

Q: Who is eligible for social security benefits?

A: In order to be entitled for Social Security Disability benefits, an individual must be totally disabled. This has been defined by Social Security as the inability to engage in any substantial gainful employment by reason or any medically determinable physical or mental impairment/s which can be expected to result in death or which have last or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than twelve (12) months.

Q: When can I apply for Social Security Disability (SSD)?
A: One can apply for Social Security Disability benefits at any time. However, there is a five month waiting period during which no benefits will be paid if the disability is granted. Benefits would start the sixth month.

Q: If I am receiving Workers’ Compensation benefits because of a job-related injury, can I still receive Social Security Disability benefits?
A: Yes, but generally these benefits cannot together total more than 80% of your average current earnings (ACE) at the time you became disabled.

Q: If I apply for Social Security Disability benefits and am turned down at the initial stage, can I appeal?
A: If you are turned down by your district office, one can ask for reconsideration within sixty (60) days of receipt of the notice of the initial denial. It is general advisable to submit new evidence for the reconsideration as this will generally enhance chances of success.

Q: When would I be entitled to Medicare if I was on Social Security Disability benefits?
A: Medicare benefits will begin two years and five months from the date of onset disability. The date of onset disability is determined by the Social Security Administration.

Q: If I am turned down on the reconsideration, can I appeal?
A: Yes. Just as in the allowance of an appeal upon denial on the initial application, once one receives the denial on the initial application, one has sixty (60) days from receipt of the file for a hearing. A hearing is held before an Administrative Law Judge and it is generally advisable to have an attorney present for a hearing. It is generally advisable to request that one be allowed to appear in person and that one have additional evidence to submit.

Q: Should I win before the Administrative Law Judge on the hearing, what would my attorney be entitled to?
A: An attorney who is successful in representing a claimant before the Social Security Administration can receive up to 25% of the total of the accrued benefits. Accrued benefits are the benefits that have not been paid and that are awarded. The maximum fee currently is $6000.00. If an attorney loses the case, there is generally no fee.

Q: If I am cut off of Workers’ Compensation, can I still receive Social Security Disability benefits?
A: If one is cut off of workers’ compensation benefits, one can still receive Social Security Disability benefits if one still meets the disability requirements. It is important for anyone cut off of workers’ compensation benefits to notify their Social Security office so that their Social Security Disability benefits go up. The important rule to remember is that one receives 80% of your ACE if one is on workers’ compensation and Social Security Disability. While workers’ compensation is the primary benefit, should that benefit be lowered or terminated, the Social Security benefits should increase. This is Illinois law.

Q: If I do not win the case before the Administrative Law Judge at the hearing level, can I still appeal?
A: Further appeals can be filed to the Appeals Counsel in Falls Church, VA and to the federal court. The request for the Appeals Counsel to review the decision of the judge must be made within sixty (60) days of receipt of the judge’s decision. It is important to note that the Appeals Counsel, even if there is a favorable decision by the Administrative Law Judge, can on its own motion to review the decision of the judge and change it. A review of the Federal Court must be filed within sixty (60) days of receipt of the decision of the Appeals Court.


  1. If you are off for at least five (5) consecutive months for you injury, apply for social security benefits
  2. If you get denied in writing from Social security, call us immediately.

Many cases can be won if an appeal is filed timely. The entitlement to these benefits can often be proven. For the injured worker, this is another way of increasing monthly income while off due to an injury. It should be remembered that you do not need to have an injury to collected Social Security Disability benefits alone. 

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