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My grandma was my favorite person. I got to spend a lot of time with her and was really fortunate that she was an incredibly healthy and vibrant person. She lived until 97, and I’d say up until 92 or so she had almost no health issues.

When she did finally have some health issues I’d let her know that I was worried about this or that and her reply was always, “Are you a doctor?” My wife and I still say that to each other all of these years later.

So what does this have to do with Illinois work comp injuries?

Well, recently I had a call from an injured worker in Chicago who told me that he hurt his back lifting a box and had multiple herniated discs in his back. He then went on to state that he would not be able to ever return to his job again. When I heard this story I assumed his injury was more than six months ago, but to my surprise, it was only a week old.

I then learned that not only had he not had an MRI on his back which would prove the injury, but he’d also only been to the emergency room where they gave him painkillers and told him to follow up with his doctor.

He self-diagnosed based on doing medical research online, but never actually got medical proof of what he was saying. He might be right, but of course, he might be wrong.

This isn’t a one-off thing. I’ve had multiple people over the years tell me that they have a concussion after getting hit in the head, but not actually have any doctor supporting that belief.

To win an Illinois workers’ compensation case, you need medical treatment that proves an injury. Your testimony can prove you had an accident, but it can’t prove an actual injury. That requires an unbiased medical doctor, usually an orthopedic or neurologist.

I hate going to the doctor and I get why you wouldn’t want to go either. But of course, it’s best for your long-term health if you do so ASAP and follow their advice. And if you want to have a successful work comp case, going to the doctor creates evidence. And without this evidence in your favor, you have no chance of winning a case.

The only real exception to this is when you have a cut or burn. Of course, you’d want to have medical treatment for that, but the value of those cases is the scar that develops.

Bottom line is that if you are injured, get to a reputable doctor and see what they have to say. Things will fall in line from there.