A very nice woman contacted our office via chat and shared that she had severely fractured her arm and is scheduled for an MRI. Depending on what the MRI says, she might need surgery. This had all happened in the six weeks before she reached out to us. What happened next is a really shady move by the insurance company that you need to look out for.
There is no dispute that she got hurt at work and that she needs more medical treatment. In other words, the case is nowhere close to being ready to settle. Despite that, the insurance adjuster offered her $10,000 to resolve the case now, telling her that half would go for her medical bills and the other half would go in her pocket. The injured worker didn’t realize that this isn’t how Illinois workers’ compensation law works and was worried that the adjuster was low balling her. She also relayed the following:
The comp adjuster told me that the longer I wait to settle that takes away from the money that I would get paid. The more I go to the Dr. and have MRI’s or x-rays they would take it away from my settlement.
To paraphrase a television commercial, THIS IS NOT HOW ANY OF THIS WORKS!!!
Under Illinois work comp law, 100% of your medical bills are paid for. There isn’t a certain amount of money that goes to you and the more that goes to the bills, the less you get. In fact in many cases, the more medical treatment you have, the more your case is worth in the end.
In a case like this, the medical treatment would certainly exceed $10,000 which means that the worker would be stuck with the rest out of her pocket and wouldn’t get compensated for her time off work or for her injury.
This strategy is one that insurance companies have used for a long time in car accident cases, but are now using in work comp. They know your case is worth more than they offer you, usually much more, but they hope if they dangle some cash in front of you, you will take it. It’s highly unethical.
You should never consider a settlement until you are done with your medical care. Doing so won’t cause you to lose out on anything. There is no cap on settlements or anything even remotely like that.
Bottom line is that insurance companies look out for themselves and as shown in cases like this, will sometimes lie even when it can greatly hurt you.
As always, if you have any questions about a case, call, click to chat or fill out our contact form. We help everywhere in Illinois and it’s always free to talk with us.