I’ve written before how there tend to be a lot of trends in the types of calls and e-mails that we get about Illinois work injuries.
The latest one has been from people who were hurt a while ago, went to the hospital and were told by their employer or the insurance company that the bills would be taken care of.
For whatever reason, some of these medical providers don’t send a copy of the bill to the patient. What ends up happening is that years later, when the bill hasn’t been paid, they eventually track you down.
For one caller to my office, he was hurt in January of 2011. The bill didn’t come in until February of this year. Because it had been more than three years since the date of the accident and no work comp benefits had been paid in the last two years, the Illinois workers’ compensation statute of limitations had been blown and there was nothing we could do for him.
Another caller was more fortunate as her injuries happened in 2013 and she called us this month. So not only should the lawyer we referred her to be able to get the bills paid, we should be able to get her a settlement too.
For you as an injured worker, whether you have a lawyer or don’t, there is a simple lesson in all of this. Never assume that any medical bill has been paid. We encourage clients to keep a journal of every medical visit they’ve been to. You should call EVERY medical provider and ask for confirmation that the bills have been paid and for a copy of the payoff.
This can be work that a lawyer does, but why risk it? I do know of one attorney in town that doesn’t do this for his clients (nobody we recommend of course) and on one case his client got stuck with more than $60,000.00 in unpaid bills!
And while we do think your lawyer should be looking in to this, ultimately it’s up to you to look out for you. So get every bill to your attorney and call every provider. If you wait too long you’ll have nobody to blame but you.
If you have questions about this or any other topic, please do not hesitate to contact us at (312) 346-5578.