I had the pleasure of talking to a police officer in the Rockford area recently.  He had two injuries on the job.  In one, he was shot in the leg.  In another he was hit by a car.
For the physical aspect of his injuries, he received all of the medical treatment that he needed.  But now he was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  He came to us because he knew that the attorneys in our state wide network had represented a lot of officers and that we also have great experience with PTSD.
The problem for him is that he had already hired an attorney for these two cases and received a lump sum settlement.  Once you settle a case, that closes out your medical rights as relates to that injury.  If you have a new accident that aggravates your old problem, that’s a new case.  But unfortunately for this guy, his PTSD relates back to cases that are now closed.
It’s no different than if he had torn his ACL, had surgery, settled his case and then later on developed an infection in his knee or hurt his back because he suddenly walked funny.  If it traces back to the closed case, you are finished.
It wasn’t a fun conversation to tell him that there was nothing we could do for him, but it was the truth.  It’s a pretty unique problem he has because these types of problems don’t usually show up later on without some sort of triggering event.  For example, we once represented a sheriff that had war flashbacks after having to dig up a grave on the job.  The digging itself was a new injury.
For you, even if you don’t think you are going to have psychological problems at a later date, make sure you are 100% confident that you won’t need medical care in the future for your injuries before you settle.  If you think that you might or just want to keep your medical rights open, you can always go to trial and know that if some unforeseen problem arises in the future, your bills will be paid.


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