A truck driver called my office about an ankle injury. He rolled it while stepping out of his truck and immediately sought medical care and reported it to his boss. X-rays were negative, but he had a lot of swelling. As an aside, in my experience, sometimes an ankle can be so swollen that an x-ray will miss a fracture.
The doctor told him to rest and ice the ankle. He did that and while it got better to the point that he could walk on it and eventually return to work, it continued to bother him. Eventually, it started to hurt too much and he asked to go to the company clinic. He had a few visits and it was suggested that he get an MRI of his ankle. That’s when the insurance company decided that his need for treatment was no longer related to the job accident. They told him to use his own insurance.
He’s gone ahead and done that and is waiting for the MRI. The whole experience has him frustrated. He called me and asked if I could help him get a settlement since the case was denied.
I told him that I could, but I wouldn’t because if he settled now he’d be potentially leaving a lot of money on the table. He needs to get the MRI to find out what’s really wrong. If the answer is nothing, then it’s possible he could settle. And waiting until the MRI wouldn’t change the value much if any. On the other hand, if the MRI shows a big injury and he needs surgery, we’d want to talk to his doctor to learn if they feel that his current problem traces back to his work accident. If that doctor does, suddenly a case that’s probably worth a couple of thousand dollars is now worth somewhere in the five figures and possibly more if he can’t return to work.
There’s also the issue of paying for his future medical care. If he can’t work he might lose his medical insurance or at least would have to pay out of pocket a lot. But if it’s a work-related injury that would all be covered by the work comp insurance. Also if he misses time from work, a work comp case in Illinois would pay for his time off.
We see people considering settling for too little and too early when an insurance company says the case is closed. That is usually not up to them to decide and often is a strategy they deploy to try and keep money out of your pocket. I get how they can frustrate injured workers, but highly recommend that you at least get an opinion before making a final decision. If you’d like to speak with an experienced attorney for free, you can contact us any time at 312-346-5578.