A caller to our office from the Rockford area had a question about his recent work injury.

He strained his back two days after starting a job and the pain hasn’t gotten better.  He reported the accident, but hasn’t done anything with it.  The reason for that is he was on a trial period at this job so he didn’t really think he was an employee.

While an employer can say you are trial or probation or some other legal term, they can’t take away your rights under Illinois law.  This means that no matter what they call you, the first second you start working you are covered under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act.

You still have to prove that your injuries are work related.  You can bet that an insurance company will strongly look in to someone who says they were hurt soon after starting a job. But it doesn’t change the fact that if you can show you were hurt while in the course of your job duties, you are covered.

It really makes sense if you think about it. Let’s say you are a welder and working on a “trial period.”  Your first day on the job you are on a scaffold that collapses and you shatter your leg.

Should you not be able to get medical care for that injury because you were new?  That would be ridiculous.

Don’t doubt for one second that a first day worker has the same rights as someone who has been on the job for 30 years, at least when it comes to job injuries.  Now a long term worker will have a much easier time proving a repetitive trauma injury, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t bring a case at all.

My advice in these situations is the same I’d give in most other cases.  Don’t listen to non-lawyers.  Don’t listen to someone who might have a competing interest with you like your boss.  It’s free to call any work comp attorney (even the bad ones) to ask a question about whether or not you have a case.

In general, Illinois work comp laws follow common sense.  So if something doesn’t seem right, ask around before you give up.