One of the reasons shady insurance companies and greedy employers are able to continue to take advantage of people is that often injured workers let them get away with it. In many cases, I’ve seen workers apologize for getting hurt even when it was due to no fault of their own.
This thought occurred to me recently when I got a call from a Chicago doctor who got Covid while working at her hospital. It was in large part due to lack of PPE and severe under-staffing. Even though she got really sick and continues to have problems even back at work, this is what she asked me first:
If I file for workers’ compensation benefits, will anyone find out about it?
She was worried it would reflect negatively on her and also that people would gossip about her. Here’s what I told her and what you should know:
- Filing for work comp in Illinois isn’t a lawsuit, it’s a claim for benefits. Do you worry about using your health insurance, vacation time, FMLA, etc? Of course not. These are similar benefits that are earned and deserved by workers.
- While technically a work comp case gets filed with the State and theoretically someone could see it, that almost never happens. Have you ever looked up a work comp case for someone else? My guess is no and why would you. 99.99% of people don’t care.
- If you are injured due to them not taking safety seriously, it’s not going to get better if they don’t have to account for their error.
The people who will know you are pursuing work comp are likely an HR rep or maybe your boss. It’s not meant to be an adversarial process and it’s certainly not interesting enough for others to care about it. The only time, in my experience, that people talk about it is when you are a worker who is a faker and trying to pull a scam. If you are telling people you got hurt at work, but then posting on Facebook that you were injured when skiing, that will draw some attention.
The biggest thing we get told by clients who have to go to arbitration over disputed benefits is that they can’t believe how it was nowhere near as big of a deal as they thought it would be. There aren’t “aha” moments or screaming lawyers or even a jury. You tell your story and an arbitrator reviews the evidence and makes a ruling.
There can be a lot to worry about when it comes to Illinois work comp claims. Number one is your health. Far down the list should be what will others think.
If you are nervous or just have questions, call us any time for free and in confidence at 312-346-5578.