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Here is a part of a live chat we recently had with an injured worker:

I believe I’ve hurt myself pulling and carrying items at work. My back and shoulder hurt and I can’t lift my right arm. Do you think I have a case?
The worker was in the emergency room when he contacted me. It’s amazing how speaking to injured workers has changed. The live chat feature allowed us to speak about his injury even though a lot of people were around.
In order to determine if he has a case or not, I needed to learn more about his job duties. What was he carrying? What did they weigh? How often did he carry them? What did he notice when he was doing this work? Does he have any prior problems with his back or arms?  All of these things are relevant. It’s also important to know what he does outside of work and if anything there could have contributed to these problems.
Learning that he is a laborer and that he’s been doing the job for two years and that often the items weigh more than 50 pounds, it sounds to me like he has a case. I think it’s a common-sense evaluation. But to win a case, he’d likely still need a doctor to state in writing that his injuries are work-related.
To aid his efforts, at the ER he would be smart to tell the doctors what he told me:  that he noticed pain while lifting and then be descriptive about his job duties. As long as it’s the truth, the more detailed it is, the better. He’d then want to get a referral to an orthopedic doctor and tell that doctor the same things. Most doctors, hearing this type of history, would agree that it’s a workers’ compensation case.
If those things happen, the only way you don’t win benefits is if new evidence pops up (like you were in a car accident the day before) or if the insurance company sends you to one of their doctors and they find against you. Even then, with a strong opinion from your treating doctor, you are likely to win the case and get work comp benefits.
Every case is different. But generally speaking, if you were legitimately hurt by your job activities, you should get Illinois work comp benefits. Insurance companies will play games, but they can’t make up facts. And if the facts are clean, like in this case where a laborer has done heavy lifting for years, we almost always can help you win your case.
Our strong suggestion is that you never listen to the insurance company if they say you don’t have a case. They will often tell you that you don’t have a case or send you a denial letter when there is no good faith basis to do so. Talk to an experienced lawyer who can give you an honest evaluation. Only someone without an agenda can tell you if there’s a case or not. We are happy to do that for you at any time.