Every week we are fortunate to talk to 30-40 Illinois workers about their cases. We love helping people no matter what stage of their claim, even if it’s just offering some free advice.

The truth is that the sooner after your accident/injury that you reach out, the more we can likely help you avoid mistakes that can hurt your case and your health in the long run.

I thought of this recently when discussing a case with a really nice woman who hurt her shoulder on the factory line. Her company has a policy that if you get hurt at work, you go see their on site nurse and follow what they say.

In many cases these on site nurses are nothing more than a rubber stamp for the wishes of the company. Usually that means they’ll tell you to put some ice on it, take a day and get back to work. This nurse was not looking out for the company and told the worker to take two weeks off and see how she feels from there.

While it sounds ok, the reality is that even though this company nurse appears to have meant well, she was well on her way to causing a problem for this injured worker.

We love nurses and have helped thousands of them over the years. But if you, like this caller, hurt your shoulder and can’t lift it above your head, you need to get to an orthopedic doctor. And this nurse should have mentioned that right away. The longer the shoulder goes without proper care, the bigger risk of making it worse. And in this case, the company insisted she try to return to work after the two weeks even though she felt that she couldn’t do it.

There’s a lot of value in having an onsite nurse. They are great for minor sprains, cuts, some burns, etc. It sure beats having to go to an ER and wait around. In this case and many others though, they need to let injured workers know their rights. You have a right to go see a medical doctor of your choosing and don’t have to wait two weeks or any other amount of time to do so. In fact you can go right from work to the doctor and usually should.

I believe most of these company nurses are well intentioned and want to help people. But they do often face pressure from the higher ups that view their employees as disposable and don’t think about your health, long term future or much else that should matter to you.

So there’s nothing wrong with seeing the company nurse. But if you are really hurt or worried that you might be, get to a medical doctor, preferably a specialist, ASAP.

And as always, if you have any questions, you can call us for free any time at 312-346-5578.