I recently had a call with the sweetest nurse I’ve ever spoken to. Nurses in general always seem to be great.

The reason for her call is that she was doing a blood draw on a patient and accidentally had a needle stick injury. These types of accidents happen all of the time. The good news is that usually, they end up being nothing but a bad scare. The bad news is that they are scary as you don’t know right away if the patient had any diseases and you have to imagine the worst.

In some cases that can mean months of testing until you are in the clear. In other cases, like this one fortunately, the patient can agree in writing to have their blood analyzed for any diseases such as HIV, Hep C, etc.

With this nurse, the patient’s blood was drawn and sent to a lab affiliated with the company, but it’s been two weeks and she doesn’t have an answer yet. When she went to her supervisor with her concerns about the delay, she was scolded and told something to the effect of, “Do you really think an old lady like that has HIV? Give me a break.”

It was the rudeness of this boss that led this great nurse to call me. This happens all of the time when someone from the employer just acts like a jerk and the injured worker realizes that getting legal advice is a good idea.

In this case, the nurse was hoping to sue over the lack of empathy and the rudeness. Unfortunately, that is not something you can do under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act.  For workers with confirmed injuries like a torn rotator cuff, it’s a sign that the employer not only doesn’t care but will also try to screw you over on your case. For this nurse though, there’s only really a case if the patient in fact does have a disease.  Hopefully, that is not the case.

So for her, her option is to hire a labor lawyer to try and sue to get the test results faster.  My advice was to not spend money on that as it had only been two weeks and it’s not likely that an attorney will get her an answer before she can on her own. And of course, I told her that if God forbid something is wrong with the blood work she should call us back.

It can and should be frustrating when you are going through something like this and the employer doesn’t care or is just plain awful about it. The reality though is nothing in the law requires them to be moral or good people.  The good news for most injured Illinois workers though is that the work comp laws protect you and will compensate you. And in those cases, getting a client a big settlement feels extra great.