In my free time, I’ve coached soccer on and off for over 30 years. I’ve learned so much from other coaches. One of the best things I was ever taught was to look for cues. For example, if you see an opponent turn his hips a certain way, it can be a cue for how your positioning as a defender should be or where a ball might be going.
There are cues in Illinois workers compensation cases too. Sometimes knowing who your employer is can be a cue. An experienced lawyer will know the tendencies of that company. The same can be true depending on who the insurance company or adjuster is as many of them repeat behaviors, both good and bad on cases. Additional cues can come from knowing your medical history and job duties or in preparing for what questions to ask an IME doctor at a deposition.
There are some cues you can look for all by yourself. The most common one is when you were injured at work and aren’t getting paid benefits, and have an attorney.
The cue to look for is have they filed a 19(b) petition for an immediate hearing. This is the motion Illinois work comp lawyers file with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission when benefits are denied. It is basically a way to get your case to trial as fast as possible.
Recently, on the same day, I got two calls from two different injured workers who had both been without benefits for over a year. One was a heavy-duty laborer with a serious hip injury and the other was a driver whose knee popped when they stepped out of their vehicle.
Both cases seemed clearly compensable to me based on the descriptions of these injured workers. But even if there are potential defenses, they both hired a lawyer for one reason. The reason was to get the problem solved so they can get the care and compensation they need and get back to work.
In case #1, the worker, unfortunately, hired a very old attorney who literally has done nothing but file the case since he was hired. He has not filed the simple 19(b) motion nor has he taken a deposition of the worker’s doctor who agrees the injury is work-related. In other words, he’s not acting as a lawyer at all.
The second one has filed the right motion, but hasn’t taken the doctor’s deposition and doesn’t appear to be trying to schedule it. It’s a slightly better job because he can at least talk to the Arbitrator about the case. But without a deposition, they won’t be in a position to actually try the case which means the client will only get results if they are lucky.
We can check on the Illinois Work Comp Commission website to see if a motion has been filed as can you. And of course, your attorney should be communicating with you and discussing strategy with you. If that’s not happening, you can call us any time at 312-346-5578 to discuss switching firms to someone who will actually fight for you.