Illinois workers’ compensation law typically provides three things in every case, payment of medical bills, payment of lost time from work (TTD benefits) and a settlement (PPD or permanent partial disability) when you are all better.
Only the medical and TTD are mandatory by law unless the insurance company has a good reason to deny them. This is why we get a lot of calls from people who tell us something like, “I got hurt at work. They paid for my medical care and lost time, but when I called asking about a settlement they told me my case was closed.”
This is a trick by insurance companies, hoping that you will be thankful your bills are paid and move on so they can save some money. You see, if they don’t pay your medical and lost time they can be punished by the State. But nothing happens to them if they don’t make a settlement offer.
As insurance companies don’t like to give away money, more and more we see that they’ll either make a low ball offer or none at all. So what are you to do?
While having an attorney for the entire case is a good idea as in the least it’s a security blanket if something goes wrong, if you are hoping for a settlement offer and they lie and say your case is closed, you have to get an attorney.
We would formally file your case (as long as the statute of limitations for doing so hasn’t passed) and “magically” your case would no longer be closed.
In 99% of the cases the insurance company will then agree to negotiate a settlement because it’s worse for them usually if the case goes to trial. Either they will offer something fair and you’ll settle or if not, we’ll tell you it’s not a good offer and take your case to trial.
At trial, in cases where everything has been paid, it’s usually just a matter of arguing before an Arbitrator what your case is worth. Often they’ll recommend a dollar amount before trial and that will get the case resolved. If it doesn’t, a trial like this would probably take a few hours and then the Arbitrator would order the insurance company to pay a certain amount.
Lawyer fees are 20% of what is recovered and in almost every situation you’ll end up with more by getting an attorney.
Bottom line is don’t listen to the nonsense of them telling you the case is closed or that you aren’t entitled to a settlement. It’s insurance company nonsense that simply has to be pushed back against.
Questions on settlements? Want to talk to a lawyer for free? Call us any time at (312) 346-5578. We help everywhere in Illinois.