One of the most common questions I get from callers/readers is “How can I make my case go faster?” I get that concern as most people I talk to want to get better, return to work, settle the case and move on with their life. I’m a lawyer and even I don’t want to spend my time talking to attorneys. I can’t imagine that you do either. And nobody in their right mind would want to deal with an insurance company if they didn’t have to.
You don’t want to settle your case before it’s too early. By that I mean you want to be done with medical treatment and returned to work before you think about what the case might be worth. You also don’t want to not settle for years after you could have had the money in your pocket. That just allows the insurance company to collect interest on your money. So with that in mind here are some tips to make your Illinois workers’ compensation claim go faster.
1. Keep a journal. Write down how you hurt yourself, where you were, who witnessed it, who you reported the injury to and when, what you told the first doctor you saw, what they recommended, etc. A nice outline of the case can really help your attorney and can assist your memory if it’s a long term injury and you have to go to trial years down the road.
2. Communicate with your lawyer. If you are authorized off work by your doctor, make sure we get a copy of an off work slip. If you receive a medical bill, send it to us. If you have questions let us know. I can tell you that if we don’t hear concerns, we tend to assume everything is fine. You don’t want to wait until you’ve been without benefits for six months to give us a call. Some clients have said “I didn’t want to bother you.” This is our job. It’s not a bother, it’s a pleasure. If an attorney is bothered by your calls, unless you are calling ten times a day you have the wrong lawyer.
3. Listen to your doctor. If they tell you to go to physical therapy, do it. If they tell you not to lift anything more than 25 pounds, don’t do it. You can bet that on a bigger injury the insurance company is doing surveillance on you. If you are disobeying your doctor they will go after you. And even without surveillance they are looking for a way to cut off your benefits.
4. Listen to your lawyer. The biggest mistake clients make now is going on social media to discuss their case. Don’t do that. It won’t help you and I promise that the insurance company is looking for your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. And if we give you other advice (e.g. don’t embellish your pain to your doctor or the IME doctor) know that it’s because we have your best interests at heart. If you get cut off benefits it makes the case longer for you.
5. Figure out your goals so we know what you are working towards. For most people that means getting back to work and going on with their normal life. For others they were hoping to retire before this injury. If you want to move out of town to a warmer city or to be closer to family or anything else, we need to know. Sometimes the best settlements aren’t about the dollars, but about getting you happiness in life. If I can settle your case for $150,000.00 today and allow you to move to a warmer climate, that might be better than getting an extra 25k six months down the road. Not better for me, but better for you. And you are all that matters in these cases.
This isn’t an exhaustive list and every case is unique enough. Faster usually doesn’t mean better, but our goal is always to get the best result possible as soon as it makes sense. You can certainly help us do that.
For a free consultation about your Illinois workers’ compensation case, call us at (312) 346-5578 or complete our contact form online. We are a statewide network of experienced attorneys who will listen to the details of your situation and give you straightforward advice.