The first thing I tell any injured worker who is looking for tips on how to win their case is to be honest.  That doesn’t mean to overshare information (e.g. don’t give a recorded statement). But it does mean tell the truth whether it’s telling a doctor how you got hurt or not making your injury seem worse than it really is.

A well meaning plant worker could have used my advice before he got hurt. He was lifting heavy machinery when he felt a big strain in his groin area. It was suspected right away that he had a hernia and he headed to the ER right away. His boss gave him a ride and asked him to say he was hurt at home. The boss promised to pay any unpaid bills and for his time off work.

As you can imagine, the bills came in and were quite large as he had surgery. The boss then changed his story and eventually fired this hard worker.

So he came to us looking for help. The first thing we asked was, “Why did you lie?”  The answer he gave was that he wanted to “do the right thing” by his employer, so he went along with it.

He of course was not “doing the right thing.”  He was set up by his lying boss who knew that if he lied to the doctor, it would hurt his chance of having a successful work comp claim. This has led to thousands in unpaid medical bills and no compensation for his time off of work as he recovers from surgery.

You aren’t screwing your employer by telling the truth. If they ask you to lie, they aren’t doing the right thing for you.  They are putting your health and livelihood at risk. I’ve seen people lose work comp cases because they agreed to lie and end up homeless.  It’s simply not worth it and at worst could lead to health care fraud charges against you.

Workers’ compensation claims in Illinois aren’t lawsuits.  You getting hurt isn’t going to harm the long term viability of your company.  Their “worst” case scenario is that their insurance rates go up a little bit.  In this case, the worker was asked to lift hundreds of pounds with just one other person. The employer didn’t do the right thing by getting more people to help.  They certainly didn’t do the right thing by asking him to lie.

So if “doing the right thing” is going to cause you problems, you absolutely should not do it.

Bonus tip: I’ve never seen evidence of any employer paying for medical bills out of pocket for a work related injury that required more than one visit.  And if they did that would be way more expensive to them than just letting you file a claim with their insurance.