We’ve helped a lot of people over the years from all walks of life. In one day recently I talked to a plant worker at Ford Motor Company in Chicago, a CTA driver, a downstate convenience store worker and an Arena League Football player. The following day I talked to a mechanic shop owner, dental assistant, teacher and union plumber. The day after that I only had calls from two new people, but one was a doctor with carpal tunnel and the other was a salesman from out of state injured on business in Illinois.
I love speaking to people from all walks of life. It makes my job more interesting. At the same time though, most people that I talk to do not know very much about the Illinois workers’ compensation process. One of the most common concerns is “what do I do when I can’t afford to see a doctor?”
Doctors can be expensive. Even with insurance, out of pocket costs and co-pays can lead to thousands of dollars of responsibility for you. But if you were injured and have an Illinois workers’ compensation claim, 100% of your medical care will be paid for by the work comp insurance carrier. Nothing out of pocket and no co-pays.
A reader of my blog had knee troubles and sought treatment at the company doctor back in early 2014. He was then fired and continued to have knee pain. He didn’t know that work comp would pay for his medical bills so he just took pain pills and tried to stay off his knee. Now almost two years later the pain is unbearable and he wants to bring a case. His argument to me was that he shouldn’t be blamed for not being able to afford medical care or for not knowing what Illinois workers’ compensation laws are.
I was sympathetic to his situation, but like everyone I talk to, I told him the truth. The truth for him is that it’s almost impossible to prove that his knee condition today is related to a job he hasn’t worked at in almost 24 months. There wasn’t a MRI before he got laid off and if I put him on a witness stand, the defense attorney would shred him apart over the gap in medical care. It’s not as if he’s been bed ridden for the last two years and in fact he’s working a new job. So to place blame on the old job would be nearly impossible.
I had to turn his case down and as I told him, I don’t make money by turning cases down, but I always tell the truth. And the truth is that because he didn’t know the law and get timely medical care, he pretty much screwed himself over.
There’s nothing more important than your health so if you are having problems I can’t suggest enough that you get medical care. If you aren’t sure if you have a work comp case, call us and we can help you figure that out.