Sometimes I read about a case that went to trial at the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission and think my readers would benefit from knowing about it, but I don’t want to do a full post on it. Here are three that fit the bill.
Case #1: A Village of Merrionette police officer left the station to go to his squad car. Instead of walking on the sidewalk, he took a shortcut through the grass. While doing this, he fell and hurt his ankle. This was a shortcut other employees also took and he was never reprimanded for doing so. His case went to trial and the Court ruled that he took an unnecessary risk that was for his own benefit and not part of his job duties. As a result his claim wasn’t compensable under the Illinois Work Comp Act.
The lesson: Don’t take risks that you don’t have to, but also don’t give a recorded statement. Whoever the insurance adjuster was on this case must have done a real thorough investigation and while I can’t say for sure, I’d bet this officer told them too much and it was used against him to beat his case.
Case #2: A candy factory worker was going down the stairs at work and slipped for no provable reason, resulting in an injury to her shoulder and back. Generally speaking an unexplained fall on a stair is not a case. In this claim, however, the worker testified that she went up and down the stairs eight times a day and it was the only way to get from the break room to the work areas. Since the public couldn’t use these stairs, she was found to be at an increased risk of injury because of the number of times she had to go up and down and won benefits.
The lesson: Don’t accept a denial of your case without talking to a lawyer. If your attorney knows what they are doing they will ask all the right questions to make sure they have all the information needed to see if there is a way to win. Also having a real trial attorney makes a big difference.
Case #3: A severely disabled man went to trial and won his case. He was found to be permanently and totally disabled due to a severe hip and back injury. Because he went to trial he kept his medical rights open. His condition got worse and his treating doctor recommended a Tempur-pedic adjustable bed, a La-Zy lift recliner and a motorized scooter. It might not seem like it, but those are medical devices because they are being recommended by a doctor to ease pain. The insurance company fought it even though they were recommended by several treating doctors. Ultimately the Court found that there was a change in the injured worker’s physical condition and ordered the insurance company to pay for these devices.
The lesson: If there is something that would assist you in either getting better or being more physically comfortable, talk to your doctor about it. If your doctor agrees then it’s a medical benefit and could be covered as part of your case.