WWE Wrestlers With Brain Damage Are Making a Mistake

 The story of permanently injured professional wrestlers is similar to the football players who have been suing their organizations for not doing more to prevent and treat concussions. As medical knowledge improves and athletes come forward, it’s bringing to light the lifelong damage that can be caused by participating in these intense contact sports. 

It’s not surprising that professional wrestlers suffer permanent injury after what they’re put through. As the lawsuit describes, the stunts are extreme. The two former WWE wrestlers who filed this most recent lawsuit allege injuries that include severe headaches, memory loss, anxiety, depression, deafness, tremors, and convulsions. 

When I read about this lawsuit, I wondered why they weren’t filing claims for workers’ compensation. They could get all the medical care they need, plus compensation for having permanent injuries. And they wouldn’t have to prove that the WWE was at fault. When you make a claim for a work injury, fault is irrelevant. 

Workers’ compensation is only for employees, and I’m sure these wrestlers are labeled “independent contractors.” But just because they are called that doesn’t mean they are. In fact, I’m pretty sure they would be considered employees under the law. The law decides, not the employer. The key consideration is how much control the employer has over the employee. The WWE clearly has a right of control over its wrestlers. I’m sure the WWE dictates schedules, performance, etc. It’s probably a very carefully orchestrated job. 

A workers’ compensation claim would get these wrestlers the medical care they need much more quickly, and they wouldn’t have to go through a civil trial to get it. It wouldn’t be as flashy, and if the allegations are true – that the organization deliberately increased violence of its matches in order to make millions and deceived its wrestlers about the consequences – then perhaps a large class-action lawsuit is the right way to go. 

But from a practical standpoint, and thinking about these wrestlers as individuals who have extensive injuries, workers’ compensation is the path of least resistance. They can get their medical treatment covered, as well as payment for the negative (and permanent) effects of their jobs. And it will happen more quickly. I suspect their lawyers would disagree, based on the fee they’re looking at if the lawsuit is eventually successful.  But if they are looking out for the best interests of their clients, especially if they were injured in Illinois, they would tell them to pursue workers comp too.

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Have you always wanted to call us?

The most flattering thing that ever happens to me is when someone calls or e-mails and tells me that they've been reading my blog for months or even years and that it has been a good source of information for them.

While we love to get new clients of course, the primary purpose of this blog is to be educational and help the general public get more information about their rights.  Sometimes this leads to e-mails from people that tell us we have provided information that their attorney won't.  That makes me sad that they have an attorney who is delivering no customer service, but happy that we can help.

Recently I got a call from someone who said he'd been reading my site for more than four years! He was unhappy with his lawyer and just had some general questions.  He said that he wanted to call three years ago, but was worried that I'd be friends with his attorney.

Here are some things you should know about me:

1. ANY communication we have will be confidential.  I might share it with partners of mine in my state wide network, but that's to help you and that is also confidential. I would never call your current attorney or your employer or anyone else without permission.

2. I'm happy to talk to anyone at any time.

3. You might not like what I have to say, but I'll always be honest and direct with you.  I might be able to help, I might not. It may be too late by the time you get to me. But whatever the situation I'll tell it to you straight and give a blunt and honest opinion.

So if you are just starting off a case due to a recent injury, have been dealing with the system for years or are somewhere in between, please know that we are happy to speak with you.  And if you are just stopping by to read so you can educate yourself, I appreciate it.

One Chicago workers' compensation law firm only cares about profit

There is a workers' compensation law firm in Chicago that gets a high number of clients.  That's because they advertise a ton and seemingly will take any case that comes through the door. 

They need a lot of lawyers to handle all of those cases, but when you are taking claims on that involve a contusion to the arm, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to handle them. 

What ends up happening is that this firm hires a bunch of lawyers that have two or less years of experience, including often hiring attorneys that are fresh out of law school.

This means that these lawyers are getting trained by handling cases.  They are bound to make mistakes which comes at the expense of the clients.  In other words, if you hire them, you could be paying to train these low level people.

I believe this firm does this because they don't have to pay these younger lawyers very much.  From what I've seen, they don't get the best training because many of these attorneys leave not long after they have been hired and I hear stories all of the time that they aren't really clear on what the laws are.  One such attorney left this firm a couple of years back, started his own firm and was soon thereafter suspended from practicing law.

Now getting an experienced attorney doesn't guarantee you a result, just as hiring a young one doesn't mean that things won't go well.  But I'm a big believer in predictors of success.  And the truth is that most younger attorneys won't get you the same result that you will receive from someone who has been in the business at least ten years.

So before you hire a firm, ask who is going to be working on your case.  A lot of these firms claim that a very senior partner will supervise a young associate, but in reality that doesn't seem to happen very often.  

Make sure that someone experienced is going to be looking out for your case and will be responsible for the day to day handling of it.  You are paying the same fee no matter who is assigned to you, you might as well have the best.

This is all part of you looking out for you.  If you don't nobody else will.

We won't call your employer

Some injured employees we talk to are interested in hiring a lawyer to help them get benefits but are hesitant because they don’t want a lawyer calling their employer. This is an easy concern to address because the answer is simple – we don’t contact your employer.

 

One of the first things we do for our clients is file a claim. The official form is called an Application for Adjustment of Claim. This is filed with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. By law, we have to send a copy to your employer. After that, there is no reason for us to have any further contact with them. We know privacy is a big concern, and we respect that.

 

When a lawyer is representing an injured worker, he or she deals primarily with the insurance company. Your employer most likely has insurance and therefore their insurance company is handling the claim from their end. Pretty much everything gets handled between their insurance company and your lawyer.

 

This is good news for many people we talk to. They have good bosses and like their jobs, or at the very least they are grateful for having their jobs don’t want things to be awkward. We get that. We know that you have a life after your injury and want it to be as smooth as possible. Filing a claim for workers’ compensation is fairly routine in most cases.

 

The bad news about having the insurance company involved is that they are on a mission to limit the benefits they allow. But a good lawyer knows how to handle that, too. It’s another reason why having a lawyer makes your life easier. The insurance company likes to play games and they’re less likely to do so when an experienced lawyer is involved.

 

In our opinion, you don’t have anything to lose by filing a claim. If you’ve been hurt at work by something related to your job, then the law entitles you to benefits. Both employee and employer benefit from the workers’ compensation system. It protects employers from lawsuits by prohibiting employees from suing after an injury; and it helps workers by streamlining the process and helping them get faster treatment and get back to work sooner.

 

The system doesn’t work perfectly in every case, but it’s there for a reason. And the process can be handled without you and your employer feeling stuck in the middle.

 

Plantar fasciitis and Illinois workers' compensation benefits

Many people work in jobs that push their physical limits. Workers’ compensation law provides benefits, such as medical bill coverage and payment for lost wages, for many employees who are injured because of the work that they do. The workers’ compensation system helps these workers get the treatment they need and get back to work.

 

Although Illinois’ work injury laws are some of the most worker-friendly in the country, these laws don’t apply in every situation. There are some injuries that aren’t considered work injuries, even if they happen at work. For example, if your injury is not specific to your job, and instead is an injury the general public is equally at risk for, then it might fall outside of the legal definition of work injury.

 

Plantar fasciitis is an example of one of these injuries that might not qualify because so many people are at risk. It’s a foot injury that is fairly common among people who stand all day at work. Unfortunately, it’s also common among the general public because lots of people stand all day for various reasons. In order to get benefits, you’ll likely have to prove that your job puts you at an increased risk for plantar fasciitis (more than the risk faced by those in the general public).

 

In order to prove that you are at an increased risk for plantar fasciitis – or any other injury caused by merely standing – you’ll have to get specific. You will have to show, for example, that there is something particular about your job duties that make this injury more likely. Maybe you have to wear certain shoes in order to do your job and those shoes put you at higher risk. Or maybe you have to do such an extreme amount of standing or walking that you are clearly at more of a risk than the average person.

 

Another obstacle with plantar fasciitis is that there are additional causes beyond extended periods of standing. Obesity, age and diabetes can contribute to or cause this condition. In order to be eligible for benefits, your injury has to arise out of and in the course of your employment. That said, if your job aggravates or accelerates an injury, then you should be covered. Again, you’ll have to prove increased risk.

 

Plantar fasciitis can also be caused or triggered by a single incident. These cases tend to be easier to prove. If you were injured in a work-related accident and developed a foot injury as a result, it’s more clearly work related.

 

We know all of these rules can be frustrating, especially when all you really want to know is whether you can get benefits. The bottom line in plantar fasciitis cases is that the insurance company might try to deny your claim, but it’s not the final word on the matter. Foot injuries can be serious and affect your ability to continue to work. It’s worth finding out whether you have a claim worth pursuing.

 

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Injured at work in Illinois? You get to pick your doctor

Having a good doctor, and one you can trust, is one of the most important parts of getting through a work injury. It’s good for your health, of course, but it also helps when it comes to getting the benefits that are available to you under Illinois workers’ compensation law.

 

Regardless of what the insurance company or your boss might tell you, they can’t hand pick a doctor to treat you for your work injury. Some employers have preferred provider networks and require that you choose a doctor from their network, but you can even opt out of that if you want (read below for more information on the effect of doing this).

 

The law states that employees who suffer a job-related injury are entitled to 100% coverage of their medical bills, including appointments, medications, physical therapy and even surgery. The law does limit, however, the number of doctors who can treat you for that injury.

 

For a single injury, you are allowed two selections when it comes to doctors. Included in each of these selections are any referrals from that specific doctor. If you select your longtime primary care doctor to be your doctor for your work injury, and they refer you to a surgeon, then you’ve still used just one of your selections (even though you’ve seen two doctors). If your employer has a preferred provider network, and you opt out, then you are left with just one selection. Opting out counts as one of your two choices.

 

If you go to the doctor your employer suggests, then you risk the possibility of seeing a doctor who doesn’t have your best interests in mind. Why would your employer suggest a particular doctor? One reason is because that doctor is likely to send you back to work sooner. You don’t want a doctor who is essentially on the side of your employer and pushing you back to work before you are ready. You could worsen your injury or suffer a new one.

 

The law not only gives you the freedom to choose your own doctor, but it limits the amount of interference the insurance company can have in your healthcare. Make sure you don’t give the insurance company, or anyone who works with them, more access than necessary. Don’t authorize unlimited access to your medical records. Don’t let them attend your doctor appointments. And don’t let them try to influence your treatment in any way. The best way to avoid these things is to have an experienced attorney guiding you through the process and alerting you to any red flags.

 

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When the insurance company says your claim is closed...

We like to warn people about various tactics that the insurance companies use to deter workers from pursuing a claim for benefits. A lot of what they try to pull works on injured employees because they have never been in this type of situation before and they don’t know what’s normal.

 

If the insurance company tells you that your claim is closed, that’s not normal. Your claim closes when you sign a settlement agreement giving up your rights to future benefits. If you haven’t signed a settlement, then your claim probably isn’t closed. It might be stalled for one reason or another, or “closed” according to some internal insurance company rule, but that doesn’t mean it’s over.

 

It’s good to know the various deadlines in a workers’ compensation claim. Legal deadlines are often referred to as statutes of limitation. The statute of limitations for filing a claim for a work injury is three years from the date of your injury, or, two years from the last time you received benefits, whichever of these two dates is later.

 

If you have a repetitive trauma injury that developed over time, your date of injury is less clear, but you’ll still have one. Typically, the date of injury for these cases is the date on which you knew or should have known that your injury was work related. This might be the date you saw your doctor and he or she gave you a diagnosis and attributed your injury to your job duties.

 

When thinking about deadlines, always be sure to get medical treatment first. Your health should be your priority. Next, the law requires you to notify your employer of a work injury within 45 days. It’s always a good idea to do this in writing in case there is a dispute later on about your compliance with this requirement.

 

Sometimes the insurance company will approve you for benefits, agreeing that your injury was work related, and start payment of your benefits without you ever filing a claim. That’s great, but we always recommend filing a claim anyway. If there is a dispute about your benefits, you can request a hearing in front of an arbitrator to get a ruling on the dispute. Having a claim already on file means that you can get this hearing sooner.

 

Drug tests and Illinois work injury claims

Employers in Illinois can require drug testing after a work injury. They are also permitted to have a policy in place to fire employees who refuse drug tests. Not all policies stand up under legal scrutiny, and it’s illegal to fire an employee because they are pursuing a workers’ compensation claim. However, the main point we want to make is that you might be facing a drug test if you are injured on the job, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t get benefits if you have a good case.

 

Illinois law allows the insurance company to deny your claim if your drug test is positive, but it’s not the final word. It’s called a presumption, and a presumption can be rebutted. In other words, if you have a positive test, then it’s presumed that the intoxication or influence of drugs was the cause of your injury. BUT, you and your lawyer have the chance to prove the opposite. If you can do this, then you should be able to get benefits.

 

Take the example of an employee who smokes pot over the weekend and then gets injured at work on Monday. Their drug test comes back positive, but they were in no way impaired by drugs on Monday. The insurance company denies the claim based on the positive drug test and the employee doesn’t get any benefits (medical coverage, pay for time off work, etc.), which they would have received if they hadn’t had the drug test. What you can do is present evidence that drugs were not the cause of your injury.

 

It makes sense that if an employee is wasted or high on the job, and it causes an injury, then they won’t get benefits. It’s really frustrating, however, that the law works this way when a worker is legitimately injured and it’s not related at all to drug or alcohol impairment.

 

An unfortunate reality in these cases is that rebutting the presumption takes extra time. This can delay treatment and your recovery. An insurance company isn’t going to pass up the chance to deny a claim, especially where there was a positive drug test. But with an experienced work injury attorney in your corner, it’s worth putting up a fight. Look for a lawyer who has been successful in winning these cases in the past.

 

The three main benefits you get after an Illinois work injury

We write about a lot of the nuances and specific situations in Illinois law when it comes to work injuries. Here, however, is a broad overview of the three main benefits available. We want to give as much information as possible to employees who are facing this situation. We’ll also talk to anyone for free about his or her Illinois work injury, because we believe this information should be readily available to everyone.

 

Medical benefits – 100%

 

Illinois law says that an employee who suffers a job-related injury is entitled to 100% coverage when it comes to related medical care. You shouldn’t have any co-pays or out-of-pocket expenses when it comes to getting the treatment you need. Some unconventional treatments might pose a problem, but things like physical therapy, medications, and even surgery should be included. Note: If coverage for certain treatment is denied, get legal advice before giving up.

 

Off work benefits

 

If your injury prevents you from doing your job, and your doctor puts that in writing, then you should be able to collect 2/3 of your average weekly wage until you can return. Your “average weekly wage” is based on the 52 weeks prior to your date of injury. This benefit doesn’t apply unless you are out of work for more than three days. Be sure to notify your employer of your injury as soon as possible. And file a claim with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. The form you need is called an Application for Adjustment of Claim.

 

Permanent impairment benefits

 

If your injury leaves you with a permanent disability or impairment, you can expect compensation for that, as well. Many cases end in settlement after all treatment is complete. This is generally paid as a lump sum. When you reach what’s called “maximum medical improvement” it’s an appropriate time to negotiate a settlement or go to trial if a fair settlement cannot be reached. Settling your claim ends your medical coverage, so it’s not a decision to be made lightly or without good legal advice.

 

Your employer most likely carries workers’ compensation insurance (the majority of Illinois employers do and are required to do so by law), which is how these benefits will be paid.

 

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How much information do I have to share with the insurance company?

The insurance company is defending your employer against your workers’ compensation claim. Their job is to spend as little money as possible on your claim. This might mean denying certain benefits, or turning your claim down altogether.

 

In their quest to spend less, they’ll want to gather as much information about you as possible. They’re searching for ways to deny benefits. They might want all your previous medical records, hoping to find a previous injury that they can blame for your current issue. They might want to come to your doctor’s appointments and talk to your doctor about letting you go back to work sooner.

 

It’s in your best interests to give the insurance company as little information as possible. They need some information. If they are paying your medical bills, then it makes sense that they need access to your current treatment records, as well as documentation of the costs. But your goal should be to limit the information they can access (and use against you).

 

The insurance company will ask you to sign an authorization that gives them access to your medical records. Signing an authorization is a necessary step in the process of getting benefits. However, you don’t have to sign this authorization as-is. It’s in the insurance company’s interest to make this authorization cover as many records as possible. They want broad access. You want to narrow their access to only what’s necessary.

 

You can try to limit the scope of the authorization so that it covers only records from the date of your injury until the present. You can also try to limit the length of the authorization. Also, make sure that the authorization doesn’t give the insurance company unlimited access to your doctor. Make sure they can’t talk to your doctor without your consent and presence. The insurance company might assign a “nurse case manager” to your claim and that person might try to influence your doctor when it comes to your treatment, the cause of your injury or your ability to return to work. You don’t have to allow this. 

This might seem overwhelming. The bottom line is to understand the motivations of the insurance company and limit what they have access to. The best way to handle it all is to let your lawyer do all the work. If they are experienced in helping injured workers in Illinois, then they will know how the insurance company works and what to do to best protect you against such tactics.

Why is my Illinois work comp case taking so long?

The length of time from the date of your injury until the completion of your workers’ compensation claim is something that varies from person to person. Insurance claims, lawsuits and other legal matters often take longer than expected, and that is an unfortunate reality in the legal industry. The key is understanding the timeline in your case and knowing the reasons behind it.

In many areas of law, delay happens because the courts are overburdened and move slowly. In workers’ compensation, perceived delay is often a result of ongoing medical treatment from the injury. As long as your case isn’t languishing because your lawyer is lazy or doesn’t know what they’re doing, it’s not necessarily a bad sign that your claim hasn’t been resolved.

 

A good lawyer should strive to move your case along as quickly as possible. But their main goal is getting you all the benefits you’re entitled to under the law and making your health the top priority. Having a lawyer who is upfront and honest about how long it should take is important in setting realistic expectations. Be suspicious of a lawyer who promises anything, whether it’s a result or an end date. An estimate is fine, but even the most experienced lawyers can’t predict the outcome of a claim.

A quick outcome isn’t necessarily a good thing. Your case should not end until you are completely recovered. Most work injury claims end in some sort of settlement, which is a lump sum you get from the insurance company in exchange for closing your claim completely and agreeing to forgo all future medical benefits. Once you settle, you can’t go back to the insurance company and get them to cover additional treatment you might need. This is why it’s important to have all of your treatment completed, and have a good idea of what (if any) treatment you might need in the future before agreeing to a settlement and ending your claim for good.

 

Another time that a case might take longer than you expect is if you have to go to trial. Going to trial is sometimes necessary in order to get fair compensation for your injury and/or ongoing medical benefits. You and your lawyer should make this decision together, weighing the pros and cons while keeping the big picture in mind. Your lawyer should explain the timeline of a trial and the possibility of an appeal, which can delay the end of your case even further.

 

If your claim is taking longer than you expected, but the reason for the delay is ongoing medical care or a trial, then the system is probably working as it should. As much as you would like closure, it’s in your best interest to wait. On the other hand, if your claim is taking longer than expected because your lawyer is lazy, then things are not working as they should and it might be time to push for answers or get a second opinion.  It's usually possible to switch attorneys and doesn't cost anything to do so.

Overview of TTD benefits in Illinois

TTD is shorthand for Temporary Total Disability. TTD benefits are what you receive if you are unable to work because of a job injury. It’s meant to partially replace your regular paychecks until you can get back to work.

The amount of TTD varies from person to person because it is based on your income. There’s also a waiting period before TTD begins, and certain things that can make you ineligible for benefits at all. All of these details are set by law in Illinois, which happens to be one of the better states for injured workers. (Note: You don’t have to live in Illinois in order to file a claim here. If you were hired here or if your company is based here, talk to an Illinois attorney about your options.)

 

Your TTD should be equal to 2/3 of your average weekly wage. Your average weekly wage is based on the 52 weeks prior to your injury. Overtime is included in some situations, especially if it was mandatory. If you work a second job, those wages can be included, as well, if your employer knew you had a second job. If you haven’t been at your job for 52 weeks, your average weekly wage can still be calculated. It will be based on the amount of time you have worked so far, or on what an employee in your job would normally make.

 

Employees are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits beginning on the first day of their job. The waiting period we mentioned applies to when your TTD benefits kick in after an injury. You can’t get TTD if you are out of work for just a couple of days. TTD benefits begin on the fourth calendar day after your injury. You should expect checks weekly or every other week. If you are out of work for 14 days, the law says you get TTD benefits for those first three days, retroactively.

 

You can’t simply decide that you are unable to work. Your doctor has to state that your injury prevents you from working. Get this in writing when you see your doctor. If your injury prevents you from doing only some things, your doctor will give you work restrictions. If your employer doesn’t have work for you that complies with your restrictions, then you are considered unable to work and you can receive TTD benefits.

 

If you have been waiting a long time for TTD benefits, or if your claim is denied or your benefits suddenly stopped, talk to an Illinois workers’ compensation attorney right away. We are experienced workers' compensation lawyers in Chicago with a state wide network of attorneys all the way down to southern Illinois and everywhere in between.  We likely know the right lawyer for you and that attorney can file a trial motion with the arbitrator and hopefully get things sorted out in your favor.

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Five reasons to call an Illinois workers' compensation lawyer

If you’ve been injured at work, you might be hesitant to call an Illinois work comp lawyer. I get that. But there are some good reasons to give an experienced lawyer a call.  Here are five of them.

  1. It’s free. You should be able to talk to an experienced, knowledgeable and well-respected workers’ compensation attorney for no charge. Attorneys are allowed to charge for an initial consultation, and some do, but in our opinion you shouldn’t have to pay to find out whether you even need an attorney in the first place. An initial consultation is usually the first time an injured worker is getting comprehensive legal advice since they were hurt, and we simply don’t think a fee should stand in your way of taking that step.

  2. It’s confidential. No one has to know that you sought legal advice. Most importantly, your employer doesn’t have to know. It’s your own business and you have the right to seek legal advice in confidence. This is especially important for those who don’t know whether they have a claim or if they are eligible for benefits. You might not want to ask your employer about it, and getting workers’ compensation advice from your employer is a bad idea anyway.

  3. You can learn more in 5 minutes than you can from hours of Internet research. It’s not that there isn’t any information out there. It’s the fact that there is way too much information out there. Some is misleading. Some is flat out wrong. And most of it is likely irrelevant to your particular situation. A good lawyer can boil it all down to how the law works in your circumstances. And a lawyer who has handled hundreds of claims in the past has probably handled a situation similar to yours.

  4. You don’t actually have to hire them. An initial consultation with a lawyer is not the same as hiring that lawyer. You can ask all the questions you want and get all the answers and then decide that you don’t want to hire them or that you aren’t going to file a claim. Maybe the attorney will tell you that you simply don’t have a valid claim. The bottom line is that there’s no obligation.

  5. There are deadlines you don’t want to miss. One of the main reasons you shouldn’t hesitate to call an attorney and get that initial consultation is that there are strict deadlines for filing a claim and getting benefits. The sooner you take this first step, the sooner you can get started if you decide to pursue a claim. And one of your lawyer’s main responsibilities is making sure you don’t miss any deadlines.

We honestly can’t think of a reason not to call an attorney. We aren’t saying that everyone needs a workers’ compensation attorney. In fact, we are always upfront and honest when we talk to someone who either doesn’t have a workers’ compensation situation or doesn’t need an attorney to handle what needs to be done. The point is to take action sooner rather than later.

 

If you want a free consultation with us, call us at (312) 346-5578 or fill out our contact form and we’ll call you.

Five reasons to call an Illinois workers' compensation lawyer

If you’ve been injured at work, you might be hesitant to call an Illinois work comp lawyer. I get that. But there are some good reasons to give an experienced lawyer a call.  Here are five of them.

  1. It’s free. You should be able to talk to an experienced, knowledgeable and well-respected workers’ compensation attorney for no charge. Attorneys are allowed to charge for an initial consultation, and some do, but in our opinion you shouldn’t have to pay to find out whether you even need an attorney in the first place. An initial consultation is usually the first time an injured worker is getting comprehensive legal advice since they were hurt, and we simply don’t think a fee should stand in your way of taking that step.

  2. It’s confidential. No one has to know that you sought legal advice. Most importantly, your employer doesn’t have to know. It’s your own business and you have the right to seek legal advice in confidence. This is especially important for those who don’t know whether they have a claim or if they are eligible for benefits. You might not want to ask your employer about it, and getting workers’ compensation advice from your employer is a bad idea anyway.

  3. You can learn more in 5 minutes than you can from hours of Internet research. It’s not that there isn’t any information out there. It’s the fact that there is way too much information out there. Some is misleading. Some is flat out wrong. And most of it is likely irrelevant to your particular situation. A good lawyer can boil it all down to how the law works in your circumstances. And a lawyer who has handled hundreds of claims in the past has probably handled a situation similar to yours.

  4. You don’t actually have to hire them. An initial consultation with a lawyer is not the same as hiring that lawyer. You can ask all the questions you want and get all the answers and then decide that you don’t want to hire them or that you aren’t going to file a claim. Maybe the attorney will tell you that you simply don’t have a valid claim. The bottom line is that there’s no obligation.

  5. There are deadlines you don’t want to miss. One of the main reasons you shouldn’t hesitate to call an attorney and get that initial consultation is that there are strict deadlines for filing a claim and getting benefits. The sooner you take this first step, the sooner you can get started if you decide to pursue a claim. And one of your lawyer’s main responsibilities is making sure you don’t miss any deadlines.

We honestly can’t think of a reason not to call an attorney. We aren’t saying that everyone needs a workers’ compensation attorney. In fact, we are always upfront and honest when we talk to someone who either doesn’t have a workers’ compensation situation or doesn’t need an attorney to handle what needs to be done. The point is to take action sooner rather than later.

 

If you want a free consultation with us, call us at (312) 346-5578 or fill out our contact form and we’ll call you.

Understanding settlements for Illinois workers' compensation claims

Many workers’ compensation claims settle in the end, and there are several things to know before you get to that point in your claim.

Don’t get pushed into a settlement. Insurance companies are known for making artificial deadlines for accepting a settlement. It’s meant to make you panic and accept a settlement offer that is either low or premature. The main guiding force for a settlement should be the status of your health. If you settle before you are fully recovered and then something in your recovery goes wrong and causes a setback, you’ll have to foot the bill yourself. A settlement effectively ends your claim.

 

The settlement is a trade-off. You are agreeing to close your case and cut off your ability to get any further medical coverage from the insurance company. In exchange, the insurance company offers a lump sum of money. It’s impossible to know whether that sum is adequate if you are still undergoing treatment and have no clear idea of what medical care you might need in the future. Once you sign a settlement and the arbitrator approves it, your case is closed and cannot be re-opened. (Note that if you suffer a new injury, then you can file a new claim.)

 

You do not have to pay taxes on a workers’ compensation settlement. The entire amount is tax-free and you do not need to report it. You will come away with a settlement contract in case you ever need to prove where your settlement money came from. Also, settlements are public information, which worries some people. However, it takes a lot of effort for someone to learn all the details. They would have to care a lot, and that’s not very likely in most cases.

 

Even if you fully recover from your injury, you can still get a settlement. The insurance company still benefits from knowing that you are foregoing all future medical benefits. This might not be true if you had a very minor injury, however. The value of any case depends on the medical records, the opinion of your doctor, your wages, and several other factors.

If you don’t want to settle, you don’t have to. The other option is to go to trial. This is the recourse you have if the insurance company is not offering a fair settlement. It’s also a way to keep your medical benefits open. If you go to trial and win, your medical benefits can remain open for any future care you might need. Deciding whether this is the right way to go is best done with good legal advice. The risk of going to trial is that you could lose.

 

The settlement of your claim signals the end of an ordeal that you’re probably eager to put behind you. However, don’t rush into anything you don’t fully understand.

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