Interesting questions about Illinois workers' compensation laws

We've recently received some good questions that we thought would interest our readers.

My daughter was volunteering at a hospital and slipped on a wet floor which caused her to break her wrist.  Can she file for workers' compensation?

Volunteers are not covered under the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act.  However, whereas workers can't sue their employers for negligence, she could sue the hospital for a slip and fall case.

I was told that I have to give my employer notice of my injury within 45 days.  What is the best way to do that?

The best way is in writing or to fill out an accident report.  If you are worried that they will throw it out or mess around with it, the easiest way around that is to officially file your case with the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission by filing an application for adjustment of claim.  That is the first thing a lawyer does after you hire them.

My lawyer screwed up the trial.  Why can't I find anyone that will appeal the verdict?

We don't take these over because we aren't allowed to enter in new evidence.  We can only argue based on what the other lawyer did.  Since approximately 80% of these cases don't get overturned, we would basically be doing a ton of work for a 1 in 5 chance that we might win.  Our time is better spent serving our other clients.

What are lawyer fees in work injury cases in Illinois?

20% of what is recovered.  That is State law.  Note that we nor any attorney we affiliate with takes payment of your lost time benefits or medical benefits unless it's after a long trial fight.  In 99% of our cases we get paid, we only receive payment when the case is over and we've obtained a settlement.

What's the first thing I should do after I get injured?

Beyond getting medical care, that's a good question.  Probably report it to your employer and start a journal of everything that happened, e.g. how it occurred, when, witnesses, who you told, etc.  We always prepare as if we will someday need this information.

I heard the Arbitrator my case was assigned to doesn't like injured workers.  Can I get it switched?

No, but if the facts are on your side it's probably not much to worry about.

My injuries have been healed for a while, but my lawyer said that it takes years to get a trial date.  Is that true?

Not at all.  The list of cases at the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission are a public record.  While some cases last years for unique reasons, there are a handful of attorneys that seem to dominate the list of old cases.  We find that odd because the lawyer doesn't get paid until your case is over.  Bottom line for you is that once you are as good as you are going to get from your injury and are back working, while it might take months to get a trial, it should never take years.

My representation agreement to hire my lawyer says I am responsible for expenses.  What would the expenses be and how much can they cost?

In most cases the only expense is for subpoenaing medical records.  Those subpoenas cost $20.00 a piece.  On average the cost is around $60.00 for the whole case.  In some matters we have to pay a doctor to give an opinion that your injury is work related.  That can cost up to $1,000.  We might also have to take a deposition of that doctor which could be around $1,500.00 plus another $300.00 or so for a court reporter.  We can't speak for other firms, but our firm does not spend this type of money unless we expect to get it back by winning the case.  No credible law firm would ask a client for up front money or to pay the costs of pursuing a claim.

We are workers' compensation attorneys that help people with Illinois work injuries anywhere in IL via our statewide network of attorneys.  Contact us and we will answer your questions or find the right lawyer for your situation.

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Comments (1) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
kathy - March 9, 2011 1:29 PM

can my employer cancel my health insurance if i am on workers comp?

WE REPLY: Yes they can unfortunately. But they do have to offer COBRA benefits.

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