With the unemployment rate for college graduates hovering around 10 percent, many qualified workers are accepting unpaid internships in their chosen field or industry. But, because internships are a unique employment position, several questions arise regarding the employment rights of interns. For instance, are unpaid interns entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if they suffer a work-related injury?
Most states’ workers’ compensation laws apply a broad definition of the word “employee” and cover interns regardless of whether they are paid or not. Accordingly, interns – whether paid or unpaid – are eligible for the same workers’ compensation benefits as full-time employees.
The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act requires employers to provide injured employees with the following worker’s compensation benefits such as:
- Medical expenses, including doctor visits, follow-up visits, physical therapy, and prescription medications.
- Temporary total disability (TTD) benefits equal to two-thirds of your average gross weekly wage, up to a weekly maximum payment amount, if you are unable to work while recovering. Eligibility for TTD benefits begins as soon as you are unable to work because of a work-related injury or illness and continue for the duration of the disability.
- Permanent total disability (PTD) or permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits, which are often paid as lump-sum payments. The amount of PTD payments you may receive are based on a percentage of your pre-injury wage, up to a weekly maximum payment amount, and payments may continue for life. The amount of PTD payments you may receive are based on a percentage of your pre-injury wage, up to a weekly maximum payment amount, for up to 500 weeks.
- In some cases, vocational rehabilitation benefits such on-the-job training, schooling, or job placement assistance.
Since a portion of workers’ compensation benefits are calculated according to wages, unpaid interns are only eligible for medical expenses, however.
If you are an intern and are injured while on the job, you should immediately notify your supervisor about the injury and inquire about how to file a workers’ compensation claim. If your employer does not provide workers’ compensation coverage for you, or your workers’ compensation claim is denied, you can file a claim with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission.
While injured workers are generally prohibited from suing their employer, you may also have a claim against any negligent third party. A successful third-party personal injury claim may allow you to recover compensation for the following expenses and damages:
|• Medical bills||• Pain and suffering|
|• Lost income||• Disfigurement|
|• Future medical bills and care||• Loss of consortium|
Contact an Illinois Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
At Ankin Law Office, LLC, our Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys have considerable experience representing injured employees and interns with both their worker’s compensation claims and any other third-party actions in order to get them the maximum recovery possible.
If you have suffered a work-related injury, do not hesitate to contact us at (800) 442-6546 to schedule a free consultation with one of our Chicago workers’ compensation lawyers.
ANKIN LAW OFFICE LLC
Chicago Workers Compensation | Chicago Personal Injury | Chicago Motor Vehicle Accidents
Chicago Wrongful Death | Chicago Social Security Disability | Chicago Class Action Lawsuits