What You Should Get Paid When You Work Two Jobs

While unemployment is down, many people are working two jobs to make ends meet.  For most people that means one full time job and one part time job, but we do talk to many injured workers who actually work two full time jobs.

Whatever your situation is, there is one VERY important thing you must do if you work two jobs and you must do it before you are injured.

When you have an injury and two jobs, your average weekly wage can be based on both jobs.  This is important because it can greatly increase your benefits.  So if on job #1 you make $750 a week and on job #2 you make $250 a week, if you are hurt on job #2, your benefits could be based off of an average weekly wage of either $1,000 or $250.

The way we determine what wage you will use will be if your employer knew about the other job and was OK with it.  It sounds pretty simple and it is. If they gave you permission to work the other job or more accurately, if they didn’t object, then the wages for both jobs should be considered.

In a case like the one I described, that can result in a difference of weekly pay of around $500 a week and of course would be a much bigger settlement if both wages are included.

To notify your employer of both jobs, it’s best to do it in writing, but in the least it should be verbal and you should document when you told them, who you told and what you said.  The biggest defense we see in these cases isn’t that they didn’t give permission.  Rather the insurance company will say that the employer didn’t know about it.  If you can’t prove otherwise, you lose.

For most employers, the second jobs aren’t a big deal as long as they don’t interfere with the first.  It’s just important that you communicate with them at some point before you are hurt.

Bonus tip.  It’s common practice for insurance companies to say that the wages from your other job should not be included.  They risk almost nothing by saying that to you and it’s just done in hopes of discouraging you.  Don’t get discouraged.  Talk to someone who knows what they are doing and make an educated decision from there.

Questions? Concerns? Want to talk? Fill out our form to the right or call us at (312) 346-5578.  We help everywhere in Illinois.

Shady Lawyer Alert

We are Illinois work injury lawyers who will talk to you for free at any time.  Fill out the form to the right or call us at (312) 346-5578. Our blog discusses real life scenarios with the hopes of helping injured workers.

This one is a doozy.

There is a law that says if you are hurt in Illinois, hired in Illinois or primarily work out of Illinois, you can bring your case here.  That’s a good thing for you if we can because Illinois has in my opinion the best benefits in the country for injured workers although our current Governor is putting them at risk.

You need one of those three things. So if you were hired in Illinois, but transferred with your company to another state, you can bring your case here.  If you mainly work out of IL, but were hurt elsewhere, you can bring your case here.

When a potential client comes to us, it’s our job to tell them if we can help or not.  A work comp attorney in Chicago viewed their primary job as to try and make money and ended up hurting their client.

Long story short is the injured worker is a truck driver out of another state, but lives here.  That is their only contact with Illinois.  They got hurt in another Georgia and were hired in Georgia.  That is where their home terminal is.

There is no way to bring this case in to Illinois, but this crummy lawyer tried to do so.  The result was the client had his back surgery delayed by over six months when a lawyer in Georgia could have solved the problem right away.  According to the caller, it wasn’t until the insurance company said that they’d approve the surgery if the fraudulent Illinois case was dropped that things turned around.

We operate with one major rule.  We are honest.  To a fault.  Some people don’t like it.  But honesty is the best policy.

If this other attorney operated the same way, the client would have had his surgery a long time ago and might be healed and back to work by now.  Instead this lawyer was hoping to make a buck with a Hail Mary and ended up hurting the client.

I would never discourage anyone from bringing a case in Illinois if they can.  But I would also never tell you to pursue a case when you don’t have one.  It’s not in my best interests.  It’s not in your best interests and it’s bad for the system as a whole.

Bottom line for you is if you don’t think you meet one of the three conditions described above, ask your lawyer how you’ll win your case in Illinois.  If they can’t answer then either they don’t know what they are doing or there is no case at all.

Intersection Syndrome & Illinois Work Comp

intersection syndrome

Overuse and injury may cause some major issues with your body when you have a physical job or one that is repetitive in nature. One of those injuries could be intersection syndrome.

This syndrome is typically diagnosed due to overuse or physical activities that require large amounts of forearm use. Some common physical actions that can cause the syndrome include raking and shoveling.  The symptoms include pain and swelling in the forearm on the side closest to your thumb. The pain may radiate from your forearm to your wrist. The pain is caused where two muscles cross above your wrist and connect to your thumb. The overworking of these muscles and stress on the tendons can cause your forearm to pop or squeak as well.

Any of these symptoms should be addressed immediately with a doctor, and a workers compensation case should be filed to make sure those medical bills are taken care of.  Doctors will be able to diagnose the syndrome typically with just a physical examination and no other tests needed.  That said, it is occasionally misdiagnosed as carpal tunnel or Dequervain’s Tenosynovitis.

Recovery can be time consuming though. The most common form of treatment is to stop the activity completely and allow the muscles time to heal. If that is not possible, taping of the arm may help to mobilize the muscles. If the symptoms persist, your doctor may recommend a cortisone shot to help with the inflammation and pain, and in extreme situations, surgery may even be required to remove some of the tissues to release the pressure.

Anytime you are injured because of a repetitive motion at your job, your medical care of that injury will be covered by workers compensation. It’s important to have an attorney in your corner who understands this unique injury and how it can impact you not just in the short term, but in the long term.  You can bet that if you are diagnosed with intersection syndrome that the insurance company will try to look in to all of your off work activities and see if they can blame it on that.

We are an Illinois wide network of workers’ compensation attorneys. If you’d like a free consultation to discuss your case, call us at (312) 346-5578 or fill out our contact form at the right of the page.  We are tough, experienced, honest and fight for the people we represent.

The IME Is In Your Favor And Your Surgery Still Isn’t Approved

In every case, the insurance company has the right to send you to an independent medical exam (IME).  This is an exam by a doctor of their choosing who often is not so “independent” and can mess up or at least delay your case.  If your doctor says you need a surgery and the IME doc says you don’t then you’ll have a battle on your hands.

In some cases, the IME doctor is honest and finds in your favor.  In others it’s so obvious that you need a surgery or were hurt at work that not even the worst hired gun can find against you.

When this happens it should be pretty straight forward that the surgery should be approved.  That’s just common sense, right?  Your doctor says you need it, their doctor agrees.  There’s nothing to fight about.

One caller to my office had this exact situation happen to him and then the insurance company refused to approve the surgery.  Instead they told him that they were having a “peer review” of the doctors. This is called a Utilization Review or UR.  In a nutshell, they send your records to a doctor, often retired or out of state, to look at your medical records and make recommendations.

Does that sound like a joke? It often essentially is one, but is a strategy being used more and more because it’s cheap and it meets their end goal of saving money by denying cases.

All that said, in a situation like this, I can’t imagine if the worker had a lawyer who knew what they were doing that the surgery would get delayed.  Even with the UR it’s unreasonable to delay the surgery because the insurance company is doing something called “doctor shopping.” In plain English that means you are stuck with the bad opinions of any doctor you choose and you can’t keep looking for a new opinion until you get one you like.

This applies to both insurance companies and injured workers.  The difference is that when they act this unreasonably we can file a motion with an Arbitrator to not only get the surgery approved, but to have them pay you penalties for their bad behavior.  I can’t imagine any insurance company trying to delay any further once the motion is filed.

The terrible part in all of this of course is that the injured worker has to suffer more and risks their long term health by delaying the surgery.  Fortunately this behavior is so out there that we can usually get them to roll over right away.

Can I Fire My Illinois Workers’ Compensation Attorney?

Short answer, yes.

Long answer, I’ve heard some shenanigans about a couple different Chicago workers’ compensation law firms who get fired all the time because they don’t call clients back and don’t fight for them.

Apparently some firms are adding a clause in to their clients that says if the client fires them they have to pay the attorney the full 20% fee.

This is illegal!!!

When you fire an attorney and hire a new one, the total lawyer fees under Illinois law can not exceed 20% of what is recovered.  If the old lawyer thinks they are entitled to part of that 20%, they can try and work something out with the new lawyer or petition the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission and an Arbitrator will decide who gets what.

Key points. 1. Your bottom line is not affected. 2. Any attempt to say you’ll owe the lawyer additional money is a lie and really scummy.

Whether you should switch attorneys or not is a different story and depends on how bad their service is, how old the case is and whether or not there have been any settlement offers or not.

If you want to talk about any of this, call the number at the top of the page or fill out our contact form and we’ll call you.

But don’t be scared in to just dealing with the bad representation.

Dumb Illinois Workers’ Compensation Settlement Strategy

This post could also be titled: “How long does it take until I get paid after the case is settled?”

A rather angry man called me and vented his frustration at his attorney.  He had signed settlement contracts more than two months ago, but not only has he not been paid yet, his attorney recently told him that the settlement was on hold because the insurance company wanted more information.

After talking to him for a while, I believe I pieced together what happened.  The case wasn’t really settled.  Instead, the attorney used the “strategy” of getting his client to sign a settlement contract, telling the injured worker that yes the case was settled and then sent that signed contract to the insurance adjuster with the hopes that they’d sign it too.

On the one hand, insurance companies do like to settle cases at the end of the year.  On the other hand, it’s insulting to an adjuster to send them a contract and imply that it’s take it or leave it, especially when you ask for more than the case is worth.

The biggest mistake of course was lying to the client and telling him the case was over.  He pissed off his client and the other side.  It would have been so much smarter and simpler to just pick up the phone and negotiate a settlement. If you don’t talk to the adjuster or defense attorney it’s hard to get a read on them and learn what leverage you may or may not have.

In fact, I can’t imagine trying to settle a case without talking to the other side.  There is so much you can learn and you’ll get MORE MONEY in almost every situation.  But to send a contract in the hopes they bite is silly and to lie to your client about it is dumb, especially when you are asking for the moon.

We believe that every case is a partnership.  We are direct and honest with you, you need to do the same with us.  When it comes time to settle your case, if that’s best for you, we discuss with you what we think we should ask for, what a reasonable amount would be and what the strategy is. Sometimes you get to know an adjuster or defense attorney as a straight shooter and ask for the value of the case. Other times you ask for more to give yourself room to negotiate.

In every case though you should do an actual negotiation that doesn’t waste anyone’s time and is part of a plan with your client.  The goal for the client is to get them a settlement when the time is right.  Not to play a game that ends up making the client wait too long.

P.S. How long does it take to get paid after a case is settled?  Typically the defense attorney prepares a settlement contract and signs it, sends it to your lawyer who signs it and then sends it to you to sign.  That process takes 2-4 weeks typically.  After that your lawyer submits the contract to an Arbitrator for approval which should take a week or so. After that the approved contracts are sent to the insurance company and you should be paid in 2-4 weeks.  So 5-9 weeks total, with around six being average.  I’ve seen it as fast as a few days though.

Terrible Chicago Workers’ Compensation Attorney

A woman called me with a nightmare story.  She has a pretty good case.  So good in fact that she got offered $200,000.00 to settle.

Problem is that her case appears to be worth closer to $250,000.00 and her attorney hasn’t gotten back to her about a Medicare set aside which is a payment the insurance company has to make for your future medical needs.  It shouldn’t be negotiable.  This Chicago work comp attorney is also telling her to ignore around $10,000.00 in out of pocket expenses related to the case.  Of course she never would have had these expenses if her attorney did his job.

The woman told her lawyer that she didn’t want the settlement.  That of course is her right.  When that happens your lawyer should either make a counter offer to the insurance company or just get the case ready for trial.

In this case it appears that her lawyer just wants his fee without having to do any work. He shockingly told her that if she didn’t accept the settlement offer that he would sue her for his expenses related to the trial.  And he would do that right away.

I’ve never, ever heard of anything so low.  It really is awful.  As attorneys, we incur some expenses in pursuing your case.  This is usually subpoena fees for getting your medical records and doctor fees for depositions.  We advance those costs and get reimbursed when we win the case.  I’ve never asked a client to pay these expenses up front or during the course of the case.

This lawyer made his awful behavior worse by trying to scare the injured worker in telling her that if they went to trial they would lose.  While it’s possible that any trial could end up badly, there is no way the insurance company would offer so much money if they believed for a second that they could win the trial.  Insurance companies don’t give money away.

I will never, ever understand why an Illinois work comp attorney would not be willing to fight for their clients.  Even if they are offered the most a case could be worth, if they want to go to trial you should explain the risks and then go to trial if that’s what they really want.

But to lie so blatantly and then try to extort the client with a lawsuit threat is beyond unacceptable.

We don’t promise a result, but do promise to fight our hardest for you and do whatever we can for the best possible result.  If you’d like our help please contact us any time.

Six Common Illinois Workers’ Compensation Questions

We get a lot of readers who are new to workers’ compensation coming to our site for info. This post is for them.  If you have questions or need help with a case, fill out our contact form to the right of this page or call the number at the top.  It’s always free and confidential.

What is Workers Compensation?
Workers comp is an insurance program that is state mandated. This insurance program provides compensation to employees who are injured on the job or because of the job they do. Workers compensation benefits are available to the employee regardless of who was at fault, unless intoxication existed at the time of injury. It is a felony for an employer not to carry work comp insurance in Illinois.

How long will it take for my claim to be settled?
This is a question only time and an attorney can answer. It depends on the severity of the injury, recovery time, on going medical needs, etc.  A case should never be settled or closed before your medical care has ended completely.

What all is covered under workers compensation?
Workers comp will pay for hospital and other medical expenses that will treat your on the job injury. It may also pay for rehabilitation and depending on the severity of the injury, it will also cover disability payments to you while you are unable to work or have work restrictions that can not be accommodated.

Are all injuries that occur on the job covered by workers comp?
Most are, yes. However there are circumstances such as self inflicted injuries, or injuries that may violate a company policy. If they employee was committing a series crime or drinking or using drugs at the time of the injury, it probably will not be covered. Mental stress cases are also usually not covered, but there are some exceptions.

What if I am unable to preform the same job as before the injury?
Sometimes doctors will release you back to work, but not at the same activity or activity level. If this happens, you may be eligible for TTD, Temporary total disability. If the injury will not allow you to do the same job, you might be eligible for vocational rehabilitation – retraining you to re-enter the work field in a new type of position.  If you have done all of this and still cannot find a job to accept the new limitations, you may have permanent disability available to you.

Is there a time limit from the time I was injured until I file a claim?
Yes, within 45 days, you must notify your employer either in person or in writing.

One reason to be happy you aren’t in Florida this winter

I was talking to a friend of mine who is from Illinois, but has established a really good workers’ compensation practice in Florida.  He misses Chicago, but enjoys the warmth.  Can’t blame him for that.

He was telling me about some of their cases.  In almost every case he takes on, due to Florida law, the injured worker can not get a settlement unless they are willing to resign their job.  Think about that for a minute. You are at work and a machine malfunctions causing you a serious injury that will impact you for the rest of your life.  You’ve put in 20 good years with this company and would like to keep working there.  In order to get a settlement at the end of your case you have to quit this job you love.  That is not right.

He also shared that there are a ton of employers in Florida who do not carry workers’ compensation insurance.  In Illinois that is a felony and aside from jail time, there are other major penalties that can go along with that including having your business shut down.  There is a protection for injured workers who are harmed by this as well.

In the Sunshine State, however, if a business gets caught without insurance they get a small fine, say they are sorry and go on with their lives.  In the meantime, the worker gets screwed.

It all sounds like an awful environment for workers’ rights.  These types of laws get proposed all of the time by people like Governor Rauner and if they had their way you’d lose your rights and more.  It’s not unique to Florida either.  Finding a work comp attorney in Indiana is almost impossible. In Kansas there is a cap on total payments including medical costs.  In many states you can’t choose your own doctor so you are stuck with a physician who is looking out for the insurance company (or else they lose business) instead of you.

So while I’d personally choose sun over snow if all things are equal, I’d much rather be in a State that respects and protects its workers.  Our laws are still very fair to businesses and there have been numerous reforms to lower insurance costs no matter what you read or hear.  If changes like this happened in Illinois it would be a death blow for worker’s rights.

Illinois Work Injuries On Christmas

If you call our office today (312-346-5578), you’ll get the phone answered by our answering service. They will immediately page us and we’ll call you right back.  If you fill out the form to the right, we’ll get it within minutes and then contact you ASAP.

The point is that we are open 24/7, 365 days a year.  Even when we are not in the office, we’ll take phone calls or respond to e-mails from clients or potential clients.  This is why we have a state wide network of experienced attorneys who focus their practice on representing injured workers.

We preach customer service and that means being available even when the actual office is closed.

Getting hurt at work is stressful enough.  Getting hurt on Christmas is even worse because you are working on Christmas and not having anyone to reach out to as a resource has to be worse.

So we are open and always open.  Same holds true next week for New Years or MLK weekend or St. Patrick’s Day, or Easter or Passover or Memorial Day or any other holiday or traditional day off.

I promise that you aren’t bugging us.  We are always happy to help.