I had a live chat recently with someone who had a back injury and was being released to light duty that they didn’t think they should do. They had a great question which was:
When should a lawyer be used for workers compensation claims?
What I told them is what I’d tell anyone. Hopefully, it doesn’t sound too “sales-y” because that is not my intention. What I always do is tell the truth in a direct and honest manner.
The reality is that the right time to get a lawyer is usually when you have something that is more than a superficial injury. In other words, if you get hurt at work, see a doctor, and are told it’s just a bad contusion and you won’t need more medical care, you don’t need a lawyer. There’s not much we can do for you there other than advise you on how to get your medical bill paid.
On the other hand, the more serious an injury is, the more likely you need a lawyer. The more treatment you have, the more likely a good attorney can benefit you.
This is true even when it seems like your employer and/or the insurance company are being nice or doing the right thing. It may seem that way, especially with the insurance company, but I promise you that they are looking for any reason they can to deny, delay or end your work comp benefits. It’s the whole basis of their business model.
The longer your case is going to drag on, the more likely they will try to mess with your case. They do this in a variety of ways including:
- Having nurse case managers talk to your doctor directly (that shouldn’t happen)
- Having nurse case managers attend your appointments (also shouldn’t happen)
- Trying to get you to sign medical authorization forms that allow them to access medical records which have nothing to do with your case (we can fix this)
- Sending you to an IME doctor to review your case and injury (a good lawyer will prepare you for this)
- Conducting surveillance on you via a private investigator
- Trying to take a recorded statement of you
- Searching your social media accounts
These are just some of the things that they will do to try to mess with your benefits. The truth is that having a good lawyer on the case can prevent a lot of these things from happening and also help you be on the lookout or prepare for these tactics. In other words, an experienced Illinois work comp attorney will protect you and increase the chances of your case continuing to go well.
And having a lawyer on the case will also allow you to get into court if something does go wrong. In other words, if the IME doctor says you don’t need surgery, but your doctor says that you do, you will have the ability to get in front of an Arbitrator much sooner by already having a lawyer in place.
So at best, a lawyer will protect you if they know what they are doing. At worst, it’s being proactive in case something goes wrong. And in the end, you will get a much higher settlement with a good attorney than without one.
This all may sound salesy as I said, but it really is the truth. If you have any questions or want to discuss a case, you can call us for free at any time. There’s no commitment and everything we discuss is confidential.