I’ve been blogging for more than a decade and I try to not throw over legally terms out there, but instead talk in plain English. That’s how I like to be talked to and I’ve found that most injured Illinois workers appreciate that.

I’m going to violate my rule for a second. I’ve noticed many employers, especially downstate, are violating something called the Petrillo Doctrine. It’s something you should worry about if you have a work comp case.

What is the Petrillo Doctrine? It’s a law that developed from an old court case. It basically says your employer, their attorney, the insurance company or anyone else can’t talk to your doctor without your permission or you being present. And you don’t have to give them permission.

It goes on to say that if they violate the Petrillo rule, any information that comes from those conversations is barred from evidence. So if they get your doctor to state that your injury isn’t work related or that you can return to work, if they violate the Petrillo Doctrine, they won’t be able to use it against you.

That said, this rule does get violated a lot. It usually happens when an injured worker doesn’t have an attorney in their corner to protect them from nonsense like this. Most doctors don’t want to deal with the nagging or badgering that these insurance companies do. So often they’ll just roll over and go against their better judgment to get a nurse case manager or someone else off their back.

Or as in the case of a recent caller to our office who had a major injury, they agreed the worker could return to the job with certain physical restrictions. Of course no such job existed within those restrictions so the employer ended up trying to bully the worker to do work that wasn’t safe for them. Their strategy was to get the injured worker back to the job site and make their life miserable.

Now if push comes to shove, we can get that doctor’s note thrown out, but it shouldn’t be an issue any worker has to deal with in the first place. Your doctor should just give you the treatment they think you need and not be pressured into doing anything at all. Sadly, many companies do violate this law and get away with it because workers just don’t know any better.

If you see this happening, you have a right to make clear to your doctor that they don’t have your permission to talk to anyone about your care or your case. And please call us any time for clarification on how this law works. We help with cases everywhere in Illinois.