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A reader asks:
I have been working at a warehouse and put in my two weeks notice because I found another job. A couple days after I did that I was lifting a box and strained my back. I’ve hurt my back before, but never like this. My boss thinks I’m faking, but I have a new job lined up that I can’t work anymore. What do I do? Do I have a case?
Under Illinois workers’ compensation law, you are covered if hurt on the job from the moment you start working until the moment you stop. Just because he had put in his two weeks notice did not stop him from being an employee nor did it take away his rights under the law.
So he can get all of his medical bills related to the injury paid like any other worker. If he’s completely disabled from working he will get TTD benefits. When he’s all better he can get a settlement.
The one issue that he’s created for himself is that if his doctor releases him to work with restrictions, the employer can lie and say that they would have accommodated those restrictions and given him a light duty job had he not quit. That’s an argument for another day though.
The other issue you can bet will be raised, because Illinois work comp insurance companies are ruthless, is that they will “investigate” this case because to an insurance company, if you get hurt after putting in your two weeks or your boss doesn’t believe you, then surely you are trying to pull a scam.
The way to counter this nonsense is to simply get an official claim on file at the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. Once that happens it puts the insurance company on a time limit to respond and their failure to do so could result in penalties against them.
For you the worker, the most important thing is your health so if you do get injured, even if it’s on your last day as you’re getting ready to walk out the door (we’ve seen that happen), just report your injury, get medical care and listen to what your doctor has to say. Your case is essentially like any other and your rights are the same as well.