A recent caller to our office blew out his back when he was bending down to get ready to lift a skid of paper.  Here is how he described his injury in an e-mail:
“I was bending down to lift some paper off of a skid when my back popped.”
Here is how he described it when I called him.
“I bent down to lift some paper, I grabbed the skid and as I adjusted to stand up, my back popped.”
Those are slightly different, but the first description isn’t a valid Illinois work comp case.  The second one is.
Getting injured simply in the act of bending isn’t a work related injury.  You bend everywhere in life and just because you were bending while at work doesn’t make it a case unless something about the job contributed to the accident.  In the 2nd description, he had grabbed the skid already.  That was unique to his job and part of the injury can be attributed to that.
This poor guy has a herniated disc and is probably facing back surgery.  An accurate description can literally be the difference between winning and losing and in this case it’s likely a difference of a few hundred thousand dollars or more given how expensive his medical treatment will be.
On another note, this is exactly why you don’t give a recorded statement.  An experienced insurance adjuster would narrow down what was said and end the case.  I was skeptical based on the e-mail, but when I talked to this worker I could tell he was sincere and just not very descriptive in his e-mail.  The fact that he had worked a labor job for over 20 years without filing a case only added to his credibility.
So if you are asked to give a statement, treat it like a criminal matter and exercise your right to remain silent.  Talk to a lawyer and let them speak on your behalf.

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