I was called by a truck driver in Chicago who got in an accident while driving in the rain.  A woman cut him off and slammed on her breaks.  He had two choices: 1. Crash in to her and probably kill her; or 2. Slam on his own breaks and risk jack-knifing.
Thankfully he chose choice number two.  Unfortunately he did jack-knife and crashed his truck.  In the process he severely injured his back.
He went to the hospital right away and told the doctors what happened.  His employer notified the workers’ compensation insurance company.  They promptly sent him a letter stating that they had investigated his claim and have determined that his accident did not arise out of and in the course of his employment so they were denying his claim.
In plain English that means that they concluded he was not injured while working.  Now they never talked to him and there is a police report that shows what happened.  He was freaking out because his hospital bill is huge and he’s been without pay for six weeks.  “How is this even possible?” he asked me.
The insurance adjuster had simply sent him a form letter.  There was, of course, not investigation at all.  But this is what these guys do.  It’s unethical, creepy, disgusting, etc.  You wonder how they can sleep at night when they treat people like this.
But the reality is that Illinois workers’ compensation laws are fair and good for a legitimately injured worker.  This truck driver simply needs to hire an attorney and have his case formally filed.  There is no rational for their actions other than to try and frustrate you.
It’s just so disgusting and maddening on so many levels.  Our job though is to take the emotion out of a case and focus on getting you results.  In a case like this it means getting the caller the medical care he needs as well as all of the back and future pay he is entitled to.  For something this egregious, a simple phone call after the case is filed will usually do the trick, but if not we’d file for a petition for immediate hearing before an Arbitrator to force their hand.
So the answer as to what to do is not to panic.  Just recognize that it’s a solvable problem and then work toward making that happen.  That sounds overly simple, but it’s the reality of how this business works.

By Michael Helfand