I recently spoke to a potential client who I declined to represent even though he sustained a major, life altering injury while sitting at his desk. He had a stroke and suffers from partial paralysis now. The reason I rejected his case is because there is no proof that his job contributed to the bad result.
In order to win an Illinois workers’ compensation claim, you need to show that your injuries arose out of and in the course of your employment. In the course of means while working for your job. He met that burden, but doesn’t prove that his injuries arose out of his job which means the job somehow contributed to the problem.
For example, if you are lifting a box at work and your back gives out, the injury is directly related to the job duties. But for a stroke, it’s usually not the job duties that cause the problem to happen. It would be different if he had a stroke while performing heavy labor, working in extreme heat or cold or doing something else unusual. He did say that he had been working long hours and feeling stressed, but that alone is not enough to win a case.
We don’t enjoy turning away clients, especially nice ones with good injuries. But we always tell the truth and the truth in this case was that the client couldn’t prove his job contributed to his problems. Without that you have nothing.
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