One of the hardest things about getting hurt on the job is trying to educate yourself on what Illinois work comp laws and rules are while trying to deal with an injury and worry about having money to pay to live. You can’t and shouldn’t be expected to know everything or anything which is one reason why I write this blog and always offer free consultations to anyone who wants to talk about a case.
Right away after an accident, many injured workers have the same thought: “How am I going to pay for medical care?” Most people don’t know that if you are hurt at work, you don’t need health insurance because work comp pays for 100% of your care related to your accident.
The other big issue is that some people believe that their company has to send them to a doctor. This happens because many large employers contract with “company clinics” which is another way of saying doctor’s office that treats a lot of injured workers as well as regular patients. Companies send workers there because it’s usually cheaper and often they will say a worker is fine when an objective doctor would say more care is needed.
A caller to my office had a different problem though. He was hurt at a large employer and was waiting for them to tell him what doctor to treat with. He thought that is how Illinois work comp cases work. After getting frustrated he called me asking,
“Does my job have to send me to a doctor?”
The answer is that they don’t. But the bigger answer is you don’t have to go see their doctor for treatment unless you are in a union that requires it. You can see any doctor that you want to see and even if your union agreement requires you to also go to a company clinic, you can still see the doctor you want to see.
Whatever you do, you shouldn’t wait on anyone to send you to a doctor if you are in pain and need medical care. The longer you wait to get medical help, the harder it is to prove that your need for treatment is related to the original injury. When an employer or insurance company doesn’t let you know that you can get treatment, they often are just trying to delay you long enough that it will create a possible defense to your case.
Nothing is more important to your health. You also don’t want to go bankrupt because you saw a doctor. The great news is that if you are hurt at work, you can get the medical care you need with no co-pays and no out of pocket expenses and you can choose whichever doctor you want. Just be sure to tell them the truth about how you got hurt at work and make sure to notify your job that you were injured while working.