If you searched this blog, the phrase you’d see me say more than any other is “there is nothing more important than your health.”
I say that over and over because it’s true and the best thing that can happen in any Illinois work comp claim is for you to get ALL of the medical care you need and get as healthy as possible. The settlement at the end is a nice bonus for what you’ve had to go through, but all the money in the world won’t make you feel better if you are in constant pain or your lifestyle has changed drastically.
I’m not a doctor and don’t pretend to be although I’ve seen thousands of similar scenarios over the years which allows me some insight on certain medical conditions. One thing that is plainly true is that if your medical care is delayed, your chances of the injury getting worse greatly increase. Another is that if you are forced to work through an injury when a doctor has you on a work restriction, you are likely to make your recovery take a lot longer and often will make a minor situation require surgery.
I mention all of this because of a recent call from an injured worker. Great guy who hurt his back on the job and wants nothing other than to be healthy and back at work. Has been with the same company most of his adult life and never filed a claim even though he’s had bumps and bruises over the years.
He trusted when he was more seriously hurt that the workers’ compensation insurance company would do right by him, so he didn’t get a lawyer. While they were nice over the phone, they worked to screw him over behind his back. First they did a common trick where they refused to return his phone calls to get approval for medical care. If he did reach someone they’d tell him that his adjuster was on vacation or there was a new one on the case who would call him. They never did.
He had a MRI ordered which eventually showed a herniated disc in his back. Problem is that this MRI didn’t take place until more than three months after it was requested by the doctor because there was “confusion” as to who was handling his case. Total lie.
Eventually there was a recommendation for surgery that was approved after numerous phone calls. The day before the surgery the doctor had to cancel because of an emergency and it was re-scheduled for a month later. Now the insurance company which wouldn’t approve medical care was furious that the surgery didn’t take place and blamed the injured worker for it not taking place!
Yes, they blamed him even though the doctor wrote a note saying it was his own request to cancel it. The insurance company then cut off his TTD benefits which is completely against the law. He has work restrictions and while he didn’t cancel the surgery, even if he did the law doesn’t require any injured worker to have a surgery so cutting off TTD is illegal.
The good news is that a lawyer can easily fix this problem and likely get penalties and fees assessed against the insurance company. The bad news is that it got to this point just like so many other cases. If they cared about his health he would have had surgery months ago and might even be back to work by now. He’d certainly be on the road to recovery.
Not every injury requires a lawyer, but most serious ones do. Cases like the one I described above are sadly common. Whether it’s us or any other quality firm, I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to get a good law firm in your corner to stop these games. It’s not a game, it’s your life. But the insurance company doesn’t treat it that way.
If you have questions about a case or want help anywhere in Illinois, fill out our form to the right of this page or call our lawyers for free at (312) 346-5578.