If you are injured while working for the City of Chicago, your case will be handled a bit differently than those of almost every other employee in Illinois. First off, they contract with Mercy Works to see all of their injured workers. You still can and should see your own doctor, but at least initially you’ll have to head on over to Mercy Works too.
The biggest difference though is for injured workers who have serious injuries or cases that are valued at over $100,000.00 or should be. That’s a lot of cases because many City workers have high wages and big injuries due to the risky nature of their jobs.
The people who run the City work comp cases are allowed to settle any case for up to $99,000.00. By that I mean they don’t need permission to go above that amount. However, if the case is worth 100k or more the City can’t pay that amount without having a hearing before the City Council and getting their approval. Needless to say that almost never happens because the City Council doesn’t want to deal with it and the people that handle work comp don’t want to be questioned about these cases.
So what happens in City cases to seriously injured workers?
If you have a crappy lawyer they’ll tell you the City never pays more than 99k and even though your case is worth more, you should just take that amount. That’s the lazy way out and a sign your attorney isn’t really fighting for you.
A good attorney will get you your money by getting your case ready for trial and actually going to trial. It’s work, but that’s what they are getting paid to do. If your case is worth $150,000.00, isn’t it worth it to go to trial and get that extra money even if it means some work and six months more time until you get paid? I sure think that it is.
The only reason to take the 99k offer when you think it’s worth more is if there’s a chance you could lose if you go to trial. But if you are a boilermaker or streets and sanitation worker or someone else who blows out their back while lifting and there’s no dispute that your surgery is work related or that you can’t go back to your normal job, not going to trial is likely a huge mistake.
While City cases are different than other cases, they are also the same when it comes to your attorney. They either know what they are doing or they don’t and they do their best for you or they don’t. You’d think that everyone knows how to handle these cases and cares about their work, but sadly that’s just not true.
If you have questions about any work related injury, call us at (312) 346-5578 for a free consultation. We cover all of Illinois.