I got a call recently that was like any other calls I have received before.  It was something to the extent of: “My husband got hurt at work in Evanston and had to have wrist surgery.  The insurance company paid for his time off, paid for the surgery, but didn’t pay for his extensive physical therapy.  Now one year later we are getting threatened with collection efforts because the $5,000.00 therapy bill remains unpaid. I’m worried this is going to ruin my credit. What can I do?”

This is one of those insurance company tricks that happen to try to save them some money. They act all nice, but little do you know that they aren’t paying all the bills.  They make money by not paying everything they have to and since the physical therapist can’t sue them, they aren’t afraid of offering just pennies on the dollar to pay these bills.  Eventually the bill collector comes looking for you.  If you quickly settled your case without verifying that all your medical bills have been paid, you might be stuck with them.

The good news is that in most cases this is a problem we can solve with just one letter.  Once we officially file your case, which shows you are pursuing Illinois workers’ compensation benefits, it is illegal for anyone to try and collect payment from you or harm your credit.  This is thanks to a handy Illinois law which was enacted a few years ago.

In a case like this one, there is no reason for the bills not to be paid. A simple penalty petition filed at the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission will motivate the insurance company to make payments.  There shouldn’t be a dispute that this treatment was needed and the amount they have to pay is set by law.  If they don’t immediately pay once we get involved, the penalties petition will punish them for their bad behavior.

Big picture is that you have to worry about your credit an in no case should you be paying for needed medical care out of your own pocket if it’s related to a work injury.  And by that I mean not one penny.  No co-pays.  No out of pocket expenses.

Illinois work comp law can be tricky at times, but this part of it is anything but tricky.  Literally once the paperwork is filed we can get the collection agencies off your back and prevent them from attacking your credit.  It sounds almost to simple or easy to be true, but it is.  It’s a good law that protects workers and allows the Commission to sort things out.