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One of the basics of the legal system, no matter what your case is, is that if you are bringing the case, you have to prove you deserve to win.  The defendant generally speaking doesn’t need to disprove anything.

So how do you prove in Illinois that your injury is related to your job?

Like most work comp questions, the answer depends on the facts of your case. In general though, these are the factors that Arbitrators consider in deciding whether or not to say you won your case. They are the same factors that insurance companies consider when deciding whether or not to accept your case or offer you a settlement.

  1. What do you say happened? If you hurt your back lifting a box, is your version of what happened credible. In many cases you are the only witness so your reliability is a big issue.
  2. Did anyone see what happened to you? If you slip on a wet floor, did someone see it?  If they did, their statements can help or hurt you.
  3. When did you report the accident to your employer? While under Illinois law you have 45 days from your accident to report your case, telling them about it right away enhances your credibility. Not doing so gives them a potential defense.
  4. What did you tell your doctor about how you were hurt? Insurance companies will look at your medical records when making a decision to accept or deny your case. If you tell your doctor on your first visit that you were hurt on the job, it enhances your credibility. If you say you don’t know how you got hurt, even if you change your story later, it will hurt you.
  5. When claiming that you are injured due to the repetitive nature of your job duties, you prove you were hurt at work by your doctor stating it’s true. In those cases, it comes down to their credibility. You enhance that by making sure they have an accurate job description of what you do, how often you are doing it, how heavy the stuff you lift is, how much force you use when using your hands, etc.  The number of cases that are lost because workers don’t tell their doctor an accurate description is shocking. Often it’s a sign of a bad lawyer representing them.
  6. What is your medical history?  Pre-existing conditions don’t prevent you from getting Illinois work comp benefits.  But you still have to prove that your work injury was more than a temporary aggravation. If you’ve been treating for a back injury continuously for months and then say your job made it worse, the only way to prove that is likely through a new MRI. On the other hand if you last had treatment for your back a year ago, if a new work injury causes you to need medical care, your old problems won’t likely be a huge factor. The insurance company might try to make it one, but in most cases it shouldn’t be a problem.

These are in my opinion the six big issues in proving you did get hurt on the job and are entitled to benefits.  As always, please call us any time with questions or concerns about your case.