As a disclaimer, it’s impossible to predict the outcome in any case. We aren’t claiming that this is the secret formula for a “good” case. But these are the factors that we see again and again in Illinois cases that end in favor of the worker.
- A clear, work-related incident. In order to be eligible for benefits, your injury must arise out of and in the course of your employment. Basically, this means that it has to be work related. Injuries outside of the workplace, or injuries that happen at work but not while doing anything related to your job, can still qualify, but it’s trickier. A specific accident that happens while you are working is the surest situation.
- Credible witnesses. If you have a witness who backs up your facts, then the insurance company has much less room to argue that you weren’t really hurt, that you weren’t hurt while on the job, etc.
- A doctor with a good reputation. Your doctor has an extremely important role in your claim. Their opinion on how you were injured, why you were injured and the best course of treatment are key. If any of these issues are disputed by the insurance company, the arbitrator who hears the case will respond more favorably to a doctor with a good reputation.
- You listen to your doctor. If you follow your doctor’s orders, you are not only more likely to get better faster, but you are playing by the rules. The insurance company would love to claim that you are making your injury worse by not following those orders, or that you are not really hurt because you aren’t doing x, y or z. In some cases, they use surveillance to catch you going against your doctor’s orders. This gives them an opportunity to deny your benefits.
- You’ve met all the deadlines. The law says that you have to notify your employer within 45 days of the date of your injury. If your injury occurs over time, you have 45 days from the time you knew you were injured and that your job was the cause of injury. Also, the law gives you three years to file a claim for benefits. If you’ve received some benefits, then the deadline in your case is two years from the last payment of benefits.
If you don’t have these things, don’t panic. It doesn’t mean you’ll automatically lose. You might have to work a little harder and make sure your attorney has the experience to build a good case regardless of the challenges.