One Illinois workers compensation truth is that reasonable people can disagree about a case. I might think a case is worth $70,000 and the other attorney may think it’s worth $60,000 for example. Your doctor may think your old back injury has nothing to do with your current back problems and the IME doctor may disagree. For the most part these are reasonable differences that can be solved via negotiation or going to trial.
What I can’t stand is when people in power knowingly lie to injured workers in a way that will hurt those workers. This happened to a recent caller to my office.
He was working a temp job and on the second day there, they lifted an object and hurt their shoulder. The worker did everything correctly including reporting it to their supervisor at the factory and temp agency and going to a doctor right away.
Responsibility for payment of the work comp case rests with the temp agency since they are the employer. More than any other employer, temp agencies, in my experience, view their workers as disposable and often as less than human.
So when my caller reported his injury he was essentially told, “That’s too bad, but unfortunately you are not eligible for workers compensation because you haven’t been with us long enough.”
This is a bald-faced lie and the person who said it certainly knows it. Under Illinois workers’ compensation laws, EVERY worker is covered the moment they start working. There is no probationary or waiting period. There aren’t any exceptions to this. I’ve seen cases where people clocked in on their first day and get hurt within 15 minutes of starting. That’s a case.
What we had here wasn’t a reasonable disagreement, it was a lie so the manager could improve their own numbers and maybe get a bigger bonus. Doing this of course put the worker’s health at risk, but like many temp agencies, this one just didn’t care.
There aren’t different rules or laws for temp agencies or any other Illinois employer. It’s their job to create safe working conditions and when workers get hurt due to the job, it’s their job to provide the benefits as provided by law.
Fortunately this worker contacted us, but sadly it was more than two years since the original accident. So much more could have been done if they reached out earlier. But even then, it doesn’t change the fact that the employer acted in a gross way to try and deprive them of their rights.