A very nice woman called us, looking for help with her recently injured husband. He didn’t have a specific accident date but appears to have been hurt over a period of time due to repetitive work activities.

His doctor told him that his injuries were work-related and that he should talk to his doctor. He’s “not the suing type” (note, work comp in Illinois isn’t a lawsuit), but the next day he told his boss what his doctor had said and asked about starting a workers’ compensation claim.

His boss sent him to the HR department who told him that in order to receive workers’ compensation he had to fill out a bunch of paperwork (this is a lie). So she handed him a bunch of forms to complete and when I say a bunch, it was literally more than 25 pages of paperwork.

Within those forms were items asking him to release all of his medical records, waive HIPAA rights, describe his work history before this company (he had been there over ten years), history of medical providers, and many other questions.

The woman who called wanted to know what to say in these forms and what not to say. That was smart, but what would be even smarter is not filling them out at all. You as a worker aren’t required by law to fill out anything. You have to report your accident to your employer and you should then ask them for the name of their work comp insurance carrier. There are forms they have to fill out, but a claim can and should get started without that being done.

The goal in many of these cases is to get you to write something down that gives the insurance company a defense and a way to avoid paying you benefits that you are legally entitled to. You can authorize an insurance company to obtain medical records related to this specific injury but don’t have to give them your lifelong medical history. That includes not giving them access to anything, even if recent, that isn’t related to your work injury.

And by the way, for the most part there is no workplace HIPAA. They can talk about your accident and injuries in most instances. So don’t share anything with your employer beyond off-work slips. Almost everything else should go through the insurance company.

Bonus tip. Giving a recorded statement is the evil cousin to them trying to get you to fill out forms. Don’t give one of those in any circumstance. The goal is to trip you up and take away your legal protections. Never let them.

If you have any questions about any of this or anything related to Illinois work comp laws, you can contact us for free at any time.