I really, really can’t stand shady insurance companies. I also have disdain for employers who act like the rules don’t apply to them. This happened recently to a caller of mine who unfortunately had a common problem.
He badly injured his knee in a work-related accident. He has no medical insurance, but somehow managed to get an MRI and needs surgery. Under Illinois work comp law, 100% of medical bills should be paid by the work comp insurance and he should be able to focus on his health. It’s a no brainer.
He went to his boss and asked who to talk to about the bills. His boss told him that he didn’t want to turn the accident into his insurance company. Usually, when this happens the boss tries to get the worker to lie to the doctor and say the accident didn’t happen at work. It usually is accompanied by a lie that they will pay the bills which never happens.
In this case, he’s just blowing off the employee and not doing anything to help him even though he wasn’t at fault at all.
The good news is that this is a really solvable problem. By hiring a lawyer, an injured worker will formally file their case with the state through a simple form called an Application For Adjustment of Claim. Once that is filed it basically forces the employer to turn the accident in because if they don’t, they’d lose their coverage. Either way, it empowers us to contact the insurance company directly.
My bigger concern when this happens is that the company will try to do something shady once you file. Maybe they will lie about how you got hurt. Maybe they will pressure a witness to change their story or testify against you. Perhaps they won’t turn over wage information without a fight. Shady people will be shady.
We can protect you against those actions and make sure you don’t get screwed over. I don’t want to act like these types of employers are nothing to worry about. They can be. But on the list of things to freak out about, this is pretty low on the list. A good lawyer will more than level the playing field and allow you to focus on getting healthy.
Bottom line is that you don’t need your own medical insurance if you are hurt on the job. Work comp is your insurance whether you work for a good person or not. As always, you can contact us any time for free to discuss any concerns you have.