A caller asked a good question the other day that’s worth sharing. The question was:
I was hurt at work two weeks ago. I haven’t heard anything. By law does my employer have to file the case?
Most employers who have insurance have a motivation to report work related injuries. If they wait too long and cause an investigation to be delayed, the insurance company could deny coverage and not pay for your injuries. If that happens the employer would have to pay for all of your bills.
There’s a big difference between notifying the insurance company that an employee has been hurt and a case actually being filed. The insurance company can and often does, just ignore reports of injuries. Some of them take the approach of “Why should we make the life of this injured worker easier?” So they’ll make you chase down the phone number of an insurance adjuster and call them back while they “complete their investigation” which is often fancy talk for trying to frustrate you until you go away.
So technically yes the employer has to file the case with their insurance company and technically they are also supposed to notify the State of Illinois when an accident happens (that almost is never done). But neither of these things protects you or forces the insurance company to respond to you.
The way to look out for yourself and make the insurance company respond is to file an Application For Adjustment of Claim with the State of Illinois. It’s not a lawsuit, but the first step in you putting the State and employer on notice that you want benefits. It’s typically filed by a lawyer although nothing prevents you from filing one either. After it’s filed your case will be assigned to an Arbitrator and given a status hearing. As lawyers, by filing this form it gives us the ability to demand payment of work comp benefits from the insurance company and get a court order for them to be paid if they continue to jerk you around.
In the big scheme of things, you must remember that nobody can be more invested in your case and you getting healthy than you. If you expect the employer or insurance company to do the right thing, you are fooling yourself. If you expect a lazy, rude lawyer to change their ways, you are fooling yourself.
In general there is the way things are supposed to work and the way they really work. You need to be proactive and look out for yourself and not wait for others to help you.
Questions? Disagree? Want a free consultation? Call us any time for a free consultation.