We’ve happily seen an uptick of callers who have been injured on the job for the first time. While we wish you weren’t injured at all, I say we are happy because these workers are seeking out information on their rights as workers in Illinois rather than being told what they can and can’t do. Educating yourself is the best thing that you can do in these situations. Well that and getting medical care.
A few recent callers were very nervous because they had injuries serious enough that they were recommended to see a specialist. Their concern was that they don’t have health insurance so there would be no way to pay their medical bills.
The bad news is that they are hurt. The good news is that under Illinois law, if you are injured at work, your employer’s work comp insurance has to pay for 100% of your medical bills. No co-pays. No out of pocket expenses. You choose your doctor.
I realize this is basic stuff for someone who has read my blog for a while or been involved in a claim, but I also want to make sure we are a good resource for those who are new to the system. I find that those are the people who get taken advantage of more than anyone else and we want that to stop.
Few other tips:
- You don’t have to give a recorded statement and you shouldn’t. It’s only used to trip you up.
- You have to report knowledge of a work related injury to your employer within 45 days of it happening or if it’s a repetitive injury like carpal tunnel within 45 days of when you knew your problem might be related to the job.
- You don’t have to prove negligence. Illinois workers’ compensation is a “no fault” law.
- It’s probable that a nurse case manager will be assigned by the insurance company to monitor your case. Without a lawyer in your corner they might try illegal things like talking to your doctor directly or trying to block your medical care. Don’t sign anything that gives them this permission. If you do we will revoke it as soon as you hire us.
- It doesn’t cost anything up front for a work comp lawyer. Fees are capped by state law at 20% of the settlement we get for you.
- While you can choose your own doctor, you can’t go from doctor to doctor to doctor. You should get a referral any time you are seeing a new physician or you might end up stuck with the bills.
- If you are unable to work, you should get 2/3 of your average weekly wage, tax free, for your time off work. If you are not in a salary job you can bet that the insurance company will play games and try to say you were earning less than you were. That’s a problem we can solve too.
- If you work two jobs, in most cases the wages of both places should be included in your wage calculation.
Those are just a few of the basics. Whether you are experienced or new at this, we are always happy to talk to you. You can fill out our contact form and we’ll call you right away or call us at (312) 346-5578. We are based in Chicago, but have lawyers in our network for accidents everywhere in Illinois. You’ll never have to travel to see us and it’s always free to talk.