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Strengthen workers’ compensation claims with thorough documentation

| Jul 8, 2014 | Workers’ Compensation

Generally, Illinois employees who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses may be eligible for benefits under the state’s Workers’ Compensation Act. These benefits may include coverage of medical and rehabilitative care costs, disability pay and the costs of long-term care needs.

Important documentation for workers’ compensation claims

In order to help workers receive the benefits they are entitled to, it is important for them to keep pertinent records and documentation. Thorough documentation can be especially important in cases when employers refuse to pay and employees must file a claim with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. The types of records that workers should keep in order to support their claim include medical records; letters from co-workers, family members and friends; and a personal diary.

Medical Records

Workers should keep all medical records pertaining to their occupational illness or injury. This includes doctors’ notes, procedure reports, and test results and reports. All of this information can be used to provide necessary medical information regarding a worker’s injury, in addition to the professional medical opinion of the physicians who are treating the illness or injury. Such an opinion is often required in cases where there is a dispute as to the exact cause of an illness or injury. Medical records also show the extent of the injury or illness and the physical impact on the person’s ability to work.


Letters from family members and friends can offer valuable insight into how the worker is affected daily by their injury or illness, and the changes that they have been forced to make to their personal and professional lives. Letters from co-workers can provide similar insights as those from family and friends, however, co-workers can also specifically address an employee’s injury in relation to their job and its requirements.


A personal diary can put into words, internal effects that may otherwise be difficult to quantify, such as pain, psychological issues, and lifestyle adjustments or limitations. A diary should include detailed notes regarding pain, medications that have been used and the side effects of those medications, things the employee can no longer do as a result of the injury, and other information regarding the effects of the injury or illness.

Proving a workers’ compensation claim can be difficult, especially in the case of work-related illnesses and injuries that may result over time, as opposed to as the result of a workplace accident, because there is not a specific incident to attribute the illness or injury to. Thorough documentation can help provide valuable information to the commission so that it can make an educated, informed decision based on the facts of the claim.