You should always notify your employer of any work injury. It’s common sense, but it’s also how you start the ball rolling on getting workers’ compensation benefits. Under Illinois law you are entitled to payment of your medical bills, as well as a portion of your lost wages if you are unable to work while you recover.
An important aspect of getting these benefits is understanding the role of the insurance company. Your employer likely has workers’ compensation insurance, which means that the insurer is going to be the one paying, and possibly negotiating, your benefits. The most important thing to know is that the insurance company’s goal is to pay out as little as possible; it’s how they make money.
What we’re getting at is that you shouldn’t talk to the insurance company. If they ask you to give a statement, politely decline. If they ask to talk to your doctor, say no. If they want to come to your medical appointments, absolutely not. If they offer you a settlement, it’s probably low.
Hiring an attorney to deal with the insurance company is one of the most important things you can do if you suffer a serious or permanent work injury. An experienced injury attorney (someone who focuses on helping injured workers) knows these games that the insurance company plays. They understand how to advocate for you and get you the benefits you need. What’s even better is that the insurance companies know that lawyers know their tactics, so if you have a lawyer you are less likely to get taken advantage of by the insurance company.
In the end, it’s about you and not the insurance company or your lawyer. You need to recover from your injury, get the financial support you are legally entitled to while you do, and get back to work and your normal life.
We believe that one of the most important things your lawyer can do is keep you informed. We like to help people understand the process, including the role that the insurance company has when it comes to your claim. We will speak with anyone about their work injury and what to expect when it comes to work injury laws in Illinois. And we do it for free.