Most of the injured Illinois workers we talk to want to work. They want the medical care they need, to get better and then get back to life as they know it.
Insurance companies on the other hand, also want injured workers to work, but don’t always want them to get the medical care that they need. And they certainly don’t want to pay for you to sit at home while you get better.
So a common scenario is that a worker gets hurt, their doctor says they can’t work, an insurance company IME doctor says that they can do a light-duty job. Potentially the injured worker risks having their benefits cut off if they don’t go back to the job. Or they could get injured worse if they go ignore their own doctor and go back to work.
So what can you do?
First off, a lot of times this happens when an insurance company meddles but doesn’t talk to the actual employer. In one case I recently consulted on, a truck driver was told by an insurance company to go back to work after an IME doctor said he could do light duty. In this case that meant that he could only drive short-range trips with no lifting of materials. The problem was that the IME doctor agreed that he needed to continue his medications which by company policy prevented him from doing any driving. So his benefits continued despite the attempted nonsense by the insurance adjuster.
In other cases, we look to see how credible the IME doctor is. Perhaps they didn’t have access to all of your medical records. Maybe they are known as a hack or don’t have a specialty treating your type of injury. We’ve on occasion been successful in convincing the insurance adjuster that if they cut off our client’s benefits that they will get destroyed at trial and hit with penalties.
Sometimes a worker will decide to try and go back to work with a good-faith effort. If they do and are unsuccessful, we advise them to immediately go back to their doctor and report what happened. This is usually enough to get TTD started.
And in some cases, we draw a line in the sand and take your case to trial. The insurance company does have a right to make a good faith dispute and if that happens, it’s ultimately up to us to prove to an Arbitrator that your doctor is more credible than the IME doc who saw you for five minutes. If you are credible on the witness stand you’ll win way more often than you lose.
Bonus scenario. Every now and then an insurance company will call up your doctor, usually through a nurse case manager, and try to get them to say you can work light duty. If you haven’t given them permission to talk to your doctor it might be illegal. If that’s the case, any opinions the doctor makes from talking to them will get thrown out of court.
Bottom line is that each time you try to work but can’t or are asked to work but shouldn’t, it’s a different scenario. We are happy to consult with you for free about this at any time. Call us at 888-705-1766 or fill out our contact form and we will call you.