A reader of my blog was upset at his attorney.  The reader had been injured on his full time job more than five years ago and received TTD benefits for almost three years based on 2/3 of his average weekly wage at the full time job.
The problem is that he also had a part time job at the time of his accident and he hasn’t been able to work that job since. He made about $300 a week working there, so he believes that he’s entitled to an extra $200 a week for the last five years.
He’s correct because his full time employer was aware of this part time job.  The problem is that his attorney has told him to forget about it because it’s five years down the road.  The caller actually wanted to sue his Chicago based workers’ compensation attorney because he feels that he’s out over $50,000.00 that he’ll never recover.
The bad news is that his lawyer has not been doing his job at all.  The good news is that the case hasn’t gone to trial yet.  And since it hasn’t gone to trial, they haven’t had an official ruling as to what the proper average weekly wage is.
So they can raise the issue of all the money owed at trial and based on what was described to me, should receive it.  Of course, the better way to handle it would be to make a demand for the payment and file a motion for penalties and fees if it’s not paid within two weeks.  He’s been the victim of lazy and incompetent lawyering, but it’s not a legal malpractice situation because the errors can be corrected.
The bottom line is that you are given many rights under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act.  If you fail to pursue one of those rights (assuming you don’t wait to long to file a case at all), you don’t lose them until an Arbitrator has rendered a decision on your claim.  It’s not the ideal way to handle a claim, but whether it’s five years of not getting what you deserve or five weeks, when you do discover that you have a right to a benefit, you can get it.
The same goes true for just knowing what’s allowed and what isn’t.  You might have given permission to the insurance company to assign a nurse case manager to monitor your claim, talk to your doctor, attend your appointments, etc.  But you don’t have to let them interfere with your case if you don’t want to.  Often the first thing we’ll do on a case is suggest that the nurse case manager be cut off completely.
We created a state wide network of like minded lawyers to stop these types of problems from happening and help people get the benefits they deserve right away.  But even if you’ve waited a long time, that doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t get what you are entitled to now.