At some point, everyone who is hurt at work will be thinking about settling their Illinois workers’ compensation case. A recent call showed some pretty bad lawyering and a warning sign of the one thing you must know when settling your case.
A woman had been hurt more than three years ago and was upset because it had taken her employer a year to file her case with the insurance company and while they paid her medical bills, she hadn’t been paid for her time off of work. After some investigating we discovered that her bills were paid in 2016 which meant she still had time under the Illinois statute of limitations to file a case.
That was the good news. The bad news is that we looked her name up at the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission and discovered her case was actually already settled. She was a bit confused and it’s mostly because she had a terrible law firm in Chicago as her representation.
Her lawyer got her a quickie, low money settlement. He never explained what that meant including the most important part: Once you settle your case it’s over and you can’t get any more money.
That sounds pretty basic to most people, but not everyone and you shouldn’t be expected to know that. Whether settling a case for $500,000 or $5,000, a lawyer should sit you down and make sure you are 100% aware that you can’t go back at a later date and re-open your case if you decide that you aren’t happy with the settlement or realize that you weren’t paid for all of your time off of work.
So it turns out in this case that she was really upset that her attorney hadn’t tried to get her compensated for the month she was off of work. He took the quick buck and kind of sold his client out.
The bottom line for you as a worker is to know that if you aren’t happy with the settlement, don’t sign. Once it’s done, it’s really done unless the contract somehow requires them to pay more compensation. If you aren’t happy with what’s being offered or are worried about future medical care then you need to go to Arbitration.
Confused? Any questions? Call us any time for help with cases throughout Illinois at 312-346-5578.