Injured workers receive a lot of great benefits under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act.  And we always try to get the workers that we represent everything allowed under the Act.  But the one item not usually available is one that we are often asked for.
Generally speaking, there is no requirement for an insurance company to pay your travel expenses to go to and from a medical provider.  So if you have to drive 5 miles or 20 miles, unless it’s a provider that that the insurance company made you go to, you will have to pay for your travel related expenses.
It’s not what most callers and clients want to hear, but it is the truth.  There are some limited exceptions.  For example, if the type of treatment you need is so specialized that you don’t have any choices, you could get compensated for your travel.  The most common example of this would be if you had to go to somewhere like the Mayo Clinic for treatment that only they provide.  Another example is if you live in a really rural area in downstate Illinois and the only neurologist is more than 100 miles away.  An argument could be made in that case that your gas mileage should be reimbursed.
In general though this is not a benefit that is typically available.  For our clients in the Chicago area it’s not a huge concern given how many medical choices there are (although clients that have to pay to park at downtown medical offices certainly have something to gripe about).  It’s a much bigger deal for injured workers in rural areas.  We see this issue a lot because our statewide network of attorneys handle cases in every county in Illinois.
Even though it’s not an available benefit, if you do have travel concerns, I suggest you raise that issue with your attorney.  Often we can get the insurance adjuster to address these issues.  Our biggest success has been with clients who have physical limitations that impact their ability to travel.  Years ago we worked on a case where a worker was told to get out of the car every ten minutes to stretch.  So the insurance company actually hired a limo company in order to drive the guy to his doctor as it would allow him to move freely without having to pull over to the side of the road.  That’s incredibly atypical.
So in general this is not an available benefit for you, but like anything in life, it doesn’t hurt to ask.

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