Many Illinois companies make you feel like you aren’t a real employee until they say so. That can be done through probationary periods or a time of extended training. Often it’s a way to pay you less for a short time or to make firing you easier. It happens with small companies and even big companies like United as part of their flight attendant training program.
The fact is that whether you are “training” on probation or anything else, you are a full fledged employee and if you get injured during that time, you are covered by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. There simply is not an exception. You are covered the minute you start to do anything that benefits the company.
One caller to my office was falsely told that her ACL tear wasn’t covered since it happened during training. This lie was told by her boss as well as the insurance company and she believed them until she was fortunate enough that a friend told her to get ask a lawyer just to make sure.
Now the insurance company can try and defend the case by saying you weren’t hurt at work or you were high or any other defense they use on other cases. But to flat out say that you don’t have a case because you were on probation or training is not how Illinois law works. Unlike dental or medical benefits or vacation pay, work comp is a benefit that doesn’t have a waiting period. Every employee is covered.
The other thing we see happen with injuries during these periods right after you start work and get hurt are supervisors who tell you to lie about how you got hurt when you see the doctor. They try to intimidate you with your job status which is illegal and the reality is that they are looking out for themselves, not you. If you lie to your doctor it will make it much harder to win your case even if otherwise your case was a slam dunk. We’ve seen too many times where this happens including people with really serious injuries who end up homeless because they gave in to the pressure to lie.
No matter who you are or what has happened to you at work, don’t take legal advice from the employer or the insurance company as they have a motivation to lie to you. If you ever want to ask if you have a case you can call us at (312) 346-5578 for a free consultation with an attorney.