When I was a little kid, I had a toy doctor’s kit with a stethoscope, little mallet for doing a reflex test and some fake medicine. I got to pretend to be a doctor and probably enjoyed doing that for at least a couple days (side note, does any kid pretend to be a lawyer? I sure hope not).
Kids can pretend to be doctors and come up with a fake diagnosis. When it comes to Illinois workers’ compensation, even though you know your body better than anyone, you can’t make your own diagnosis or take yourself off of work.
In recent weeks I’ve gotten a handful of phone calls from people who were upset that they haven’t received work comp benefits even though they missed work. When I asked if their doctor took them off work they said they hadn’t been to a doctor yet, but felt they should be paid because they got hurt at work and felt too much pain to work.
While I’m sympathetic, this is not how the Illinois workers’ compensation system works. You can’t make a diagnosis of what’s wrong with you and you can’t take yourself off of work. The reason is because you are of course biased in favor of you. It would be the same thing as if your boss or the insurance adjuster was allowed to say you are fine even if a bone was sticking out of your leg.
Doctors are supposed to be independent and of course because they are doctors they are credible when it comes to making a medical opinion.
The biggest reason people don’t go to a doctor is because they don’t have insurance. If you were hurt while working, you don’t need health insurance. Workers’ compensation will pay for 100% of any medical care that is related to a job accident and is reasonable. By not going to the doctor you are actually screwing up your chances of having a case. The longer you wait to get medical treatment the harder it is to prove that your problems are related to work.
So while you can’t take your self off work, a doctor can. Go see one, tell them how you got hurt, be descriptive about what your job duties are, tell them what pain you are having and ask them if you need restrictions at work or should take some time off. If they say yes, make sure to get it in writing.
And as always, if you want to talk to an Illinois work comp lawyer for free, call us any time. We cover all of Illinois.