The most common question I get from a caller after wanting to know what their case is worth is someone asking if they have a case at all. EVERY case is fact specific so I’d never assume you don’t or do have a case based on what you are about to read. You should always contact us or another law firm to get an opinion. You can talk with one of our lawyers for free at any time by filling out the contact form to the right or calling us at (312) 346-5578.
Here are some scenarios from cases that were recently decided at the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. Read the facts and see if you can tell if the injured worker won or not.
Facts: A woman found a tick in her hair. She ended up with a disability from Lyme disease. She works at a fish hatchery in a wooded and swampy area.
Verdict: She wins.
Why?: While you can get bitten by a bug anywhere, if your job exposes you to an increased risk of tick bites as compared to the general public and there’s no evidence that the tick bite did in fact occur somewhere else then you’ve established a winning claim.
Facts: A worker was cleaning up her desk in a slightly bent position. When she stood up her back went out on her. An MRI showed multiple herniated discs.
Verdict: She loses.
Why?: The act of standing up is an act of daily living that doesn’t present an increased risk of causing an injury. I question if the lawyer in this case blew it because the worker also did a lot of lifting in her job and I wonder if her surgeon was asked how that work contributed to the back problems.
Facts: A forklift driver stepped down about three feet or more from his vehicle when he felt a pop and immediate pain in his knee.
Verdict: He wins.
Why?: When you have to step down from a height in an awkward position, you are exposed to a greater risk of injury than that of the general public. Unlike the case above, this was not an act of daily living which most people deal with.
Facts: A janitor claimed that both his carpal tunnel and cubital tunnel syndrome were due to his job duties.
Verdict: He loses.
Why?: In this case, the Arbitrator felt that there wasn’t enough detailed information presented at trial or to the doctors about the work activities including the frequency, duration and how each task was performed. It’s important for doctors to have detailed information when making an opinion. You have to prove your case. I again suspect an inexperienced or lazy lawyer messed this one up. It seems like a dead bang winner, but if your attorney does not do their job you lose.
Facts: An injured worker on light duty was threatened with being fired and before that could happen they quit. They went to court seeking TTD benefits since they had restrictions.
Verdict: He lost.
Why?: If you are on light duty and get fired, your employer has to continue paying you TTD benefits. When you quit while being accommodated for light duty you have taken yourself out of the work force which means you lose your rights to TTD. This worker should have let himself get fired if he wanted benefits.
Facts: An injured worker filed for penalties and fees against the insurance company for repeated delays in authorizing medication needed to help treat the work related injury.
Verdict: She wins.
Why? An insurance company has to have a good reason to deny or delay medical care and if they don’t they should be punished. There was no reason for the delay at all in this case. As a result, penalties and fees of over $16,000.00 were ordered on top of what the case was worth.