When you are injured on the job while doing something related to your job, Illinois law says that you get workers’ compensation. This should cover all of your related medical bills and even pay you for workdays you are forced to miss because of your injury. In order to put yourself in the best position possible for getting all of the benefits you’re entitled to, try to avoid the following.
1. Delay. There are things you can do to get benefits more quickly. Don’t delay in telling your boss or supervisor about your injury. Don’t delay in seeing your doctor or filing a claim for workers’ compensation. If your benefits are denied or if you have a serious injury from which you don’t know if you’ll fully recover, then don’t delay in getting legal advice, as well.
2. Unsolicited advice. Avoid the advice of well meaning family and friends, at least when it comes to the legal stuff. Even if the person offering advice has been through the workers’ compensation system before and seems to know what they’re talking about, take it with a grain of salt. We say this because every situation is so different. Even two cases of the same injury can be different because of the way the law works. A lot comes down to how it relates to your job duties.
3. The insurance company. Unlike friends and family, the insurance company doesn’t even mean well. Don’t give a recorded statement. In fact, the safest bet is to not talk to them at all and get an attorney to speak with them on your behalf. The insurance company plays games and the game, for them, is to pay out as little in benefits as possible. An experienced attorney knows how to play this game. Unfortunately, that’s how it works in many cases.
4. The wrong lawyers. The wrong lawyers are those who make promises that sound too good to be true. If they guarantee that you’ll get a certain amount in settlement, be wary. It’s very difficult to predict this at the start of a claim. There are too many factors, including the details of a person’s job, the details of their injury and likely recovery, many of which are unknown at the start. If someone is promising you a big payday, you should wonder why they are doing that. They might just be trying to get your business.
5. Further injury. Follow your doctor’s orders and if you have work restrictions from your doctor, follow those as well. Obviously it’s not good to increase your injury or get a second injury. But we bring it up because it can also be bad for your workers’ compensation claim. If you do something to make your injury worse, the insurance company might try to deny your claim and stop your benefits. Sometimes they even do surveillance to catch people doing things they said they couldn’t do in order to deny a claim. Be careful out there.