I have referred work comp cases to some great Florida attorneys when I’ve had calls for people who are injured down there. For some reason a lot of them are in Orlando. I’ve always known that work comp laws are different by state and that Illinois has the best laws for workers in the nation.
Florida, as you can imagine, has some crazy laws. Unlike Illinois, you aren’t guaranteed (essentially) a settlement. In Florida, you are usually required to quit your job (or get fired) if you want to get one. That is nuts.
Insurance adjusters for work comp often handle claims in multiple states. So it’s not unusual for some of them to try to do things in Illinois that happen in other states. So I wasn’t too surprised recently when a caller told me that he was offered a work comp settlement, but it was contingent on him resigning his job. No resignation, no offer they said.
That fortunately is not how the law works in Illinois. They can’t make you quit your job. They aren’t required to offer a settlement and they can say it’s contingent on you resigning. But if you don’t like that, a good Illinois work comp attorney can still get you paid for your case by simply taking the case to arbitration. And once your lawyer makes clear they will do that, a settlement offer usually comes anyways.
The question is, why do some insurance companies and employers try this tactic?
The most common reason is that you are a risk of getting re-injured if you return to work. If that happens, it’s another work comp claim and more money out of their pocket. Essentially they want to make you someone else’s problem. We see this a lot with back and neck injuries especially. Other reasons could be that they don’t like you or they want to discourage others from filing for work comp so they do it in this possibly illegal way.
And in some cases they try to get you to quit so it will reduce the value of your case. NEVER quit your job while on work comp without talking to an attorney first. Quitting could literally lower the settlement value by hundreds of thousands of dollars.
In some cases injured workers actually want to quit and sometimes that is OK. That’s usually when you have a great job lined up elsewhere or want to move out of State. And sometimes you know that the company also wants you to resign. Sometimes we can talk to the defense attorney or adjuster and get the settlement increased based on you not going back to work. Sometimes it’s a handshake agreement and other times a separate document is created called a release and resignation. This could put a lot more money in your pocket for doing something you wanted to do anyway.
Bottom line is that insurance companies will try anything. Don’t take their word for it if they tell you something has to happen. Always consult with an attorney. It’s free, confidential, no commitment and it will protect you.