Insurance companies are always coming up with different ways to try to trick people out of their Illinois workers’ compensation benefits. The problem usually is that when an accident is initially reported, it goes in to the hands of an insurance adjuster who gets to call all of the shots on a case unless the injury turns out to be really severe.

As a result, some of these insurance company employees have free reign to try and  lower the value of a case or eliminate it all together. Doing a “good job” at this is how they get bonuses.  So some of them will get creative in their attempts to look out for their bonus efforts and not for you.

I heard a new one the other day from a caller who had fallen on some wet stairs and injured her leg.  It was a clearly compensable case and her doctor had recommended physical therapy for her.  She went to a couple of sessions and then suddenly the insurance company told her that they wouldn’t pay for any more physical therapy.  Was it because one of their doctors said that she didn’t need it?  Nope.  Did she fail a drug test?  Uh-uh.  Did someone dispute how the accident occurred?  Wasn’t that either.

What it was is that the adjuster wanted her to sign some forms and said that without the forms being signed she was not allowed to have a case.  I don’t know what the forms were, but I do know that there is no law that requires this to happen just as you don’t have to give a recorded statement as to how your injury took place nor do you have to sign a medical authorization which allows the insurance company to see any medical record from any doctor you’ve ever seen.

Many of these insurance companies operate under the “it can’t hurt to try” theory of business and sadly they are right because too often they bully around injured workers until a competent work comp lawyer steps in to stop them from taking advantage of good people who just want to get better and get back to work.

The other reason this type of stuff happens is that it’s legal in other states as many places like Indiana and Texas seem to have laws that give workers no rights at all.  Some adjusters work in multiple states and take the approach of “if I can do it there, I’ll do it in Illinois.”  That of course makes no sense either and doesn’t change what our laws are.  But it should let you know what you are up against and provide a warning to be aware and not assume that what they tell you is true.