A reader emailed me and asked if her injury was even big enough to file an Illinois workers’ compensation case. In this case it clearly was as she had 20 stitches to her face. A case like that will ultimately have some decent settlement value. It will also likely require some significant medical treatment.
The reality is that almost every work related injury in Illinois is worth reporting to your employer and making sure 100% of your medical bills are paid for. Until we have some sort of universal health care in this country, if you are hurt while working, you shouldn’t have ANY out of pocket expenses. So even if you just cut your pinky and need three stitches, if it happens at work that bill should be paid by the work comp insurance company.
The bigger question is, is your case big enough that you need a lawyer?
The answer to that depends. If you strain your back, go to the doctor, do three weeks of physical therapy and feel great, if you make a return to work successfully, the only reason you’d need a lawyer is if your bills don’t get paid or they won’t offer you a settlement.
On the flip side, if you have a longer term injury, that’s when getting an attorney makes sense. Even if it appears that the insurance company is doing everything fairly, often they are not. Some red flags to look out for include: Being asked to give a recorded statement; Getting sent to an IME; A nurse case manager being involved on your case; Late TTD checks; Delays in getting any medical procedures approved; Surveillance being done on you (you probably won’t know this is happening);
Even when there are no red flags, if your injury is long term, having an attorney to ask questions of makes sense. If something suddenly goes wrong on the case they are up to speed and ready to file a court motion to solve your problem. And in the end you will never get more on a settlement by yourself than you would with a lawyer.
We don’t get involved in small injury cases. We feel our resources are best used for clients that need them. That does not mean you don’t have a case if you cut your finger or get a bad bruise on your leg. Different law firms have different standards.
I’m not sure that I’ve made this any less confusing. So what I can tell you is that if you want to know if you should file a case or just have any general questions about Illinois work comp law, you can call us any time, for free at 312-346-5578.