There is an Illinois law that says when a worker is injured at work, the company has to fill out an incident report and file it with the State.

I can tell you that this law is like speeding five miles over the limit and getting a ticket. It’s a law on the books, but it’s ignored way more often than it is enforced.

A caller to my office was upset that her temp agency boss wouldn’t fill out an accident report because he didn’t want to ruin the relationship with the client where she was staffed.  Her boss made her feel like if he didn’t fill out a report that she couldn’t pursue a case for her injured back.

This was frustrating for her and is frustrating for any other worker that goes through that.  The good news is that not filling out an accident report has no impact at all on your ability to bring a case and receive benefits.  The real purpose of these reports has gone from the State collecting data to the insurance companies investigating a case.  In other words, the inaction of your boss might end up helping you in the long run.

To solve this problem you simply have to formally file a case with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission by filing a form called an Application for Adjustment of Claim.  Doing so and having it sent to your employer has the same practical effect that an accident report has and more importantly, it puts the insurance company on a timeline to pay your case or explain why it is denying it.

In general, the accident report is a perception versus reality situation and if you let it bother you, you are either being told incorrect information or over analyzing the situation.  Should you ask your employer to fill out an accident report?  Absolutely.  But if they refuse it’s really their problem, not yours, as long as you deal with it by formally filing your case.

This can be confusing and aggravating and in a perfect world the employer and insurance company would do the right thing, but the truth is that doesn’t usually happen.  No sweat. The law is on your side and while they might be looking out for themselves and their best interests, if you do the same and look out for yourself, everything will be fine.