You typically think of workers’ compensation benefits in Illinois as being payment for medical bills or time off of work or the settlement you get in the end. That is how most cases work. Every now and then there are unique benefits that are part of your case. One example is if you get addicted to pain pills or other opioids that are prescribed to you because you got hurt on the job.
It’s not uncommon for an injured worker to get a prescription for pain medicine. In most cases it’s just part of the normal recovery process. But when you have a long term injury like RSD or a spinal fusion or the need for a pain pump, it’s certainly possible that you can become addicted to these medications.
There’s a rule under Illinois work comp law that basically states that if a problem can be traced back to the original injury, it should be covered. So if you use crutches for a leg injury and as a result develop arm pain, that’s covered. In the same manner, the need for addiction care would be covered under our laws.
It’s not really a unique benefit, but rather part of your medical care that is 100% covered because you were hurt at work. It’s unique in that we don’t see it more than a handful of times a year. If you were an addict before you got hurt then you might have a fight on your hands. But if you didn’t have a history of drug abuse and your doctor recommends a treatment plan, the work comp insurance company can be forced to pay for rehab, detox or whatever is appropriate for you.
And as this is your life, you get a say in the treatment process. Most importantly, if you need help you should be able to get help. Insurance companies don’t like to spend money and these treatments can be expensive. Too bad for them. I don’t care that they don’t like it. This can literally be a life or death situation for you.
There was a recent case where detox was ordered by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission because the dosage rate of medication was so high. The only one against it was the doctor who was making a lot of money by pushing all of these meds.
Please don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself and ask for help. You must do it before your case is settled. Any questions or if you want to talk to someone who is experienced with this situation, call us any time at (312) 346-5578 for a free, confidential consultation.