In 23+ years of being an attorney I’ve heard all sorts of crazy things. The one I hear a lot lately is from people who are hurt on the job, but can’t get benefits because their employer hasn’t turned the accident in to their insurance company.
When that happens you can’t get a claim number which means you will have trouble getting medical care. And of course it means that you won’t be compensated for your time off work.
Often this occurs by employers who lie and tell their workers to say they didn’t get hurt at work. They promise they will “take care of them” and handle the bills. This almost never happens, especially when the injury is serious. And they certainly won’t pay you a settlement.
So how do you handle this problem?
The only way to really force your employer to do the right thing is to file an application for adjustment of claim with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. This will get your claim assigned to an Arbitrator with a status date. If the company doesn’t report it then, they will likely lose their insurance. I’ve never seen this tactic not work.
The other thing you can do is look up your employer’s insurance company at the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission website. We’ve been involved in a bunch of cases where the attorney who handled the case was the first person to notify the insurance adjuster than an accident happened. Insurance companies like to be notified, but hate when that happens because they know their client isn’t trustworthy and it prevents them from doing the type of investigation they want to do.
As for any employer who tries to discourage you from reporting a claim to their insurance, ask what you’d do if you were in a car accident. Would you not report that you hit someone and were ticketed because you were worried about your rates going up? Of course not. The alternative would be that you get sued. This is what insurance is for.
The good news is that most employers don’t act this way, even if they think you weren’t hurt at work. The other good news as explained above is that it’s a really easy problem to solve. The bad news is that you have to even deal with this nonsense. Delays in medical care can make small injuries in to big ones.
As always, if you have concerns or want to discuss a case, call us for free at any time.