A trucker who had already hired a Rockford work comp law firm to handle his case, called me because he wasn’t happy with his service.  He was upset because this lawyer has been on the case for two months and hasn’t gotten him any benefits.  He wanted to know if this was normal and if not, if an attorney in our network could straighten this case out.
It’s not normal.  Once you are hurt, you are immediately eligible for benefits.  Medical bills should be paid right away.  Lost time benefits kick in once you have been off work for four days.  In general, this lost time pay (TTD benefits) should be paid every two weeks.
So if you got hurt on May 1st and your doctor took you off of work right away for a month, you should get paid around May 15th.  If it’s June 15th and you haven’t been paid something seriously is wrong.  Quite honestly, come May 16th your lawyer should have been on the phone figuring out what’s going on and filing trial motions if necessary.  If by May 20th there isn’t a word as to what’s going on, a trial motion should be filed.  This is what a lawyer’s job involves.
Many people live paycheck to paycheck.  If you don’t get your benefits on time it can start a terrible cycle where you lose your home, hurt your credit or suffer unnecessarily.  In fact, the stress from running around like crazy trying to figure this all out can hurt the work injury recovery.  We also have seen clients who rush back to their job when they aren’t medically able to and end up making themselves worse.
So you should expect that benefits will kick in right away.  If they don’t or if there is a delay at some point during the case – it’s not unheard of for an insurance company to just cut you off without reason even if they’ve been paying you for a long time – you need to have your lawyer take action.  If they don’t they are selling you out or at least not earning their 20% fee.
A common copout if for a lawyer to say that things take time.   Sure they take time once we are in the court system, but that doesn’t mean that you do nothing.  The moment there is a problem your attorney should step up.

We are workers’ compensation attorneys who 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.

By Michael Helfand