Can You Move Out Of Illinois If You Are Hurt At Work?

A reader asks:

I’ve been on comp for a while and want to move out of Illinois for a couple reasons. First, I’m not happy with my doctors. Second, I have some family issues to take care of in the state I want to move to. Will it hurt my case if I leave Illinois?

The answer is it depends.

If your biggest concern is your case you need to ask the following questions:

1. Are you getting TTD benefits right now? If you are any have any restrictions, you risk that a phony job will be created once you move and if that happens your TTD will get cut off.

2. Are your restrictions going to be permanent and will that require you to take a job making less money? If so then you might risk your ability to get a wage differential settlement if the State you are moving to has a labor market that is worse than Illinois.

3. Are you on your second choice of doctors?  If so, and even if not, when you do move you should get a referral for a new doctor to take over your case.  If you exceed your second choice of doctors there is a good chance the insurance company won’t have to pay for any more medical treatment for you.

4. Is there a chance there will be another IME? Even if you’ve already had one, they can schedule another.  When you move out of state, the insurance company doesn’t have pay you to travel back to Illinois for an IME.  So if you can’t get yourself back here and miss the appointment, your benefits will be cut off.

5. Are you taking a new job? If your injury gets worse in that new job it can blow up your Illinois case.

The bottom line is that there are risks to both your medical, TTD and settlement.  There is no guarantee that it will, but it’s smart to have a consultation with an attorney who knows what they are talking about before you make any decision that could hurt your case.  This isn’t to say family needs or other issues aren’t important, but you need to make a fully educated decision and then make a decision where you can live with the consequences.

As always, if you want to discuss moving out of Illinois or any other issue, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Spanish Speaking Illinois Work Injury Attorneys

We are Chicago based work injury attorneys who cover all of Illinois.  If you would like our help fill out our contact form or call us at 312-346-5578 for a free consultation.

When it comes to hiring a lawyer for a work injury, the most important qualification for them to have is that their focus be on handling work injury cases.  In our opinion, hiring a lawyer who does work comp, but also divorce or traffic or bankruptcy is a bad idea. It’s not that they can’t do a good job for you it’s that they don’t give you the best chance of success.

It’s also important to have an attorney who does a good job at communicating. While that usually refers to returning phone calls in a timely manner and explaining things, it can also have to do with you the client being able to understand the attorney.  If they don’t speak your language and you don’t speak English it can be a problem.

When it comes to those who speak Spanish, the good news is that there are many experienced workers’ compensation attorneys who are fluent.  We have clerks on staff who are fluent in Spanish and work with many lawyers throughout Illinois who are fluent Spanish speakers.  So this allows you to get great representation without having to hire a lawyer who doesn’t know work injury law.

Bottom line is that you shouldn’t just hire an attorney because they speak Spanish, but instead should hire a qualified, experienced attorney with a great track who you can also communicate with.  If you would like our help please get in touch any time.

Somos abogados de lesiones laborales en Chicago que cubren todo Illinois. Si desea nuestra ayuda, complete nuestro formulario de contacto o llámenos al 312-346-5578 para una consulta gratuita.

Cuando se trata de contratar a un abogado por una lesión en el trabajo, la cualificación más importante para ellos es que se centren en el manejo de casos de lesiones laborales. En nuestra opinión, contratar a un abogado que trabaje en compensación, pero también divorcio o tráfico o quiebra es una mala idea. No es que no puedan hacer un buen trabajo para ti, es que no te dan las mejores posibilidades de éxito.

También es importante tener un abogado que haga un buen trabajo al comunicarse. Si bien esto generalmente se refiere a la devolución de llamadas telefónicas de manera oportuna y a la explicación de las cosas, también puede tener que ver con que el cliente pueda entender al abogado. Si no hablan tu idioma y no hablas inglés, puede ser un problema.

Cuando se trata de personas que hablan español, la buena noticia es que hay muchos abogados con experiencia en compensación laboral que hablan con fluidez. Contamos con empleados que hablan español con fluidez y trabajan con muchos abogados en todo el estado de Illinois que hablan español con fluidez. Esto le permite obtener una excelente representación sin tener que contratar a un abogado que no conozca la ley de lesiones laborales.

La conclusión es que no solo debe contratar a un abogado porque hablan español, sino que debe contratar a un abogado calificado y con experiencia con una excelente pista con la que también se puede comunicar. Si desea nuestra ayuda, póngase en contacto en cualquier momento.

IL Work Comp and Urgent Care Centers

I love urgent care facilities. For me.  That’s because it’s cheaper than a regular doctor or the ER and of course quicker too.  So if my kid is sick, but not too sick, it’s a great option.

For anyone injured at work in Illinois, these “minute clinics” are a terrible idea.  I had one reader tell me that she had been off work for two weeks with a back injury and was set to see her own doctor in three more days.  The company was pressuring her to go to one of these facilities and get released to work.  She did that against her better judgment, got released back to work and now is in worse pain than ever.

It’s not that these are bad doctors, it’s that often they aren’t doctors at all and no matter who they are, they aren’t specialists.  If you have a back injury you need to be with an orthopedic doctor.  If that keeps you off work for a few extra days or costs a little more that’s just too bad.  This is about you and what is best for your long term health.  My reader had complaints of shooting pains down her legs.  No experienced doctor would have told her to go back to work.

Now she’s worse off and possibly aggravated the problem to the point where she needs surgery when a little more rest and physical therapy could have solved her problem.

100% of your medical bills are covered when you are hurt at work.  No co-pays. No out of pocket expenses.  ZERO.  So while we don’t encourage people to get treatment they don’t need, we also want you to get the best care you can.  That means you choose the doctor you treat with. Simply put, the insurance company shouldn’t have a say.

And whatever you do, don’t go back to work before you are ready.  21 years of experience has shown me that when people do that, they usually make their injury much worse.

Bottom line is that you need to look out for you.  Urgent care centers are great for the flu shot, sore throats and tick bites.  I wouldn’t go there with a back injury or if I hurt my arm or knee.  They would probably tell you that they aren’t the best place for you either.

As always, please get in touch if you have any questions or have a free consultation.

When A Defense Attorney Tries To Represent A Worker

I get calls all of the time from business owners.  I try to politely tell them that I only represent injured workers and can’t answer their questions. Some offer to pay me and I decline.  It’s just not what I do.

At least one Illinois work comp defense firm doesn’t work the same way. I know this because a client of theirs called me with a major injury.  There is a huge offer on the table to settle the case but it doesn’t cover all of his medical needs.  The client is savvy and knows that if he goes to trial he will keep his medical rights open. Problem solved, right?

Unfortunately the lawyer told him that if he goes to trial he will likely get nothing and that he has to settle.

I’m used to lawyer lies, but not from attorneys who normally represent insurance companies. Lots to unpack here:

1. This lawyer likely only took this case on because they thought they could make a quick buck.

2. The lawyer is looking out for themselves and not the client.

3. The attorney probably doesn’t want to go to trial because a defense firm can’t be seen advocating for injured workers.  It would be used against them by other defense firms.

4. The lawyer is completely lying to the client. Insurance companies don’t offer hundreds of thousands of dollars on cases that they think could eventually be worth nothing.

It’s really shady that this attorney took this case at all. I can’t think of a bigger conflict than having to worry if you’ll lose other business because of doing a good job for a client.

Bottom line for you is that if the law firm you are thinking of hiring represents workers and companies (or in a case like this, they are usually only for the insurance company) don’t hire them.  It’s not in your best interests and like happened here you could really be screwing yourself to no fault of your own.  Even if they do a good job the thought has to be in your head wondering if they could have done more.

 

IL Work Comp – There Is No Good Excuse For Bad Lawyer Communication

As attorneys, we are required to take continuing legal education classes (CLE), 30 hours every two years.  The other day I was listening to a webinar and the topic was customer service.

It’s a topic I write about a lot because I get so frustrated by work comp firms in Illinois that don’t deliver customer service.  They don’t return phone calls, don’t answer questions, don’t treat the clients with respect, they lie, etc.  It works out OK for me because we take over many of these cases, it sucks for the client and makes the legal profession look bad.

While the CLE was talking about billing, which I don’t do because there is no cost with our firm until the case is over, the presenter talked about why clients become unhappy.  One of the top reasons was the service the attorney provided.

A great point was made that is obvious, but blows away any attorney who says that they are too busy to respond to a client.  With texting and e-mails, even if I’m on trial or vacation or otherwise busy, an attorney no longer has an excuse for not getting back to you.

While a phone call might take 30 minutes or more and a meeting might take an hour, texting or e-mailing takes a few seconds to a couple of minutes at most.  So if you get a phone call from a client and can’t return it or don’t want to return it, you can still deliver some level of service very easily.

In fact, it’s so easy to communicate with clients that I’m shocked how many law firms have trouble with this.  There is one Chicago work injury lawyer who advertises a ton and seems to have more trouble with this than anyone.  How hard can it be to e-mail something like “Got your message, sorry I couldn’t get back to you by phone.  The next status date is the 20th. We are waiting on medical records from Dr. Jones and once I get those in I will call you to discuss settlement strategy. Let me know if there’s anything else you want to talk about.”

That took me about 45 seconds to type.  While I’m a phone call guy usually, if I take the train home I could send out about 30 e-mails like that before I got home if needed.  I could do it while working out.  I could do it while watching TV or while laying in bed.  It’s really not hard.

Bottom line is that there is NO EXCUSE, short of a death or major illness, for not getting back to your clients.  It’s lame and you don’t have to take it.

If you have questions about a case and want to talk about it, give us a call or fill out our contact form. We cover all of Illinois and there is never a fee.

Uber, Lyft Accidents In Chicago

We are very experienced attorneys who can help you with your injury case.  If you would like our help fill out our contact form or call us at 312-346-5578 for a free consultation.

The biggest growing job in the last five years has to be driving for Uber and/or Lyft.  I’ve gotten a couple of calls lately from drivers who were injured in an accident while driving for these companies.  It’s a good news, bad news situation.

The good news is that we can help.  The bad news is that it’s not work comp because those drivers aren’t employees.

We work with attorneys that are niche in their practice.  We are just work comp, but we work with attorneys who not only focus on car accident cases, but understand how to deal with Lyft and Uber cases when the insurance of those companies comes in to play.

So whether you are a driver of one of these ride share vehicles or a passenger, it’s important to know that if you are injured, there are certain attorneys who give you a better chance of success than others.  Having dealt with Uber and Lyft cases countless times gives the attorneys we partner with a much better chance to get a good result for you.

These cases usually get fought so it’s really important to have someone in your corner who can show a track record of getting good results.

Bonus tip, if you are a passenger in a ride share car who is traveling in any way for work, even if you are in town for business, but taking the car to meet a friend for dinner, then you could also have a workers’ compensation claim.

Bottom line is that we’d be happy to talk to you for free, help you sort out your options and if needed introduce you to one of the law firms we work with on car accident cases.  Call or email any time.

Are Amazon Injured Workers Being Made Homeless?

We’ve helped a lot of Amazon employees over the last few years.  They are working so hard and moving so many products that they sustain a lot of injuries. In fact Amazon was named one of the 12 most dangerous places to work.  We’ve been a part of numerous recoveries for many Illinois Amazon workers.

So I was shocked to read an article recently that says Amazon is refusing to file claims for injured workers and some of them are ending up homeless as a result.

While this article isn’t “fake news” it does require some context and understanding of laws.

While every State has a workers’ compensation system, they are all very different.  Texas, which is one of the States mentioned in this article, is known as one of the worst for employees.  In Illinois if an employer doesn’t carry work comp insurance, it’s a felony.  In places like Florida and I believe Texas it happens all of the time with basically no repercussions other than the injured workers getting screwed.

In Illinois Amazon can’t refuse to file a claim and if they somehow did, we could file a case that would get benefits going.  In the article they mention a worker who was essentially held hostage without pay or treatment.  They could try that here, but if they had not good reason for denying benefits we’d have them punished with an order of penalties that would increase what our clients would get.

So while I don’t doubt that Amazon is doing these terrible things to employees in Texas and other States and while we’ve seen first hand that they aren’t always the best to their Illinois employees, the fact that Amazon is a huge company that controls much of the goods that are moved is of no significance.

If you are injured at work at Amazon it’s not a team of lawyers that we deal with because they are a huge company.  That’s not how Illinois work comp works.  If you get hurt, report your injury, get medical treatment and go from there.  It’s a no fault law so if you are lifting a box and your back goes out on you, unless they can prove you are lying it’s not a case they can fight.

If you have questions on cases against Amazon or any other employer, call us at 312-346-5578 for a free consultation. We cover all of Illinois.

Some Illinois Law Firms Are Hypocrites When It Comes To Work Comp

One of the first classes I took in law school was on criminal defense.  It wasn’t the area of law for me, but one of the principles taught really resonated with me.  The professor emphasized that everyone has a right to have their case heard.

Lawyers should get this and if there is any employer that shouldn’t resent a legitimate workers’ compensation claim it’s a law firm.

And yet in the last month I’ve talked to multiple law firm employees who were hurt at work and have law firm bosses that seem put off that they are pursuing a claim.  These aren’t bogus claims either.  One was a 25 year employee who types 40+ hours a week and has carpal tunnel.  One was a bad knee injury from tripping on torn carpet.  One was a car accident while traveling to meet a client.

The law firms may be disappointed to have an employee out of work, but they are lawyers and should remember that justice is served by laws being followed.

One of these was getting push back more so from the insurance company than the law firm and that is typical.  No matter how good or bad your employer is, the insurance company is looking out for their bottom line and nothing else.  So even if your boss is supportive, the insurance company doesn’t go along with that.

If you work at a law firm in Illinois and get hurt on the job your case is like any other employees.  Report your injury, get medical treatment and go from there.

While I find it maddening that some plaintiff’s law firms treat their employees like garbage when they get hurt, I more so find it amusing when defense attorneys get hurt on the job and then file claims.  One strong defense attorney who regularly blogs about bogus claims and in general rails against Illinois work comp laws of course had no problem bringing his own case for a leg injury many years ago.

Bottom line is that I should know better by now than to be disappointed in some law firms act.  I see it every day with how so many of these firms treat their clients like garbage.  So I shouldn’t be surprised that the don’t look out for their employees.

Why Aren’t I Getting A Settlement Offer?

Under Illinois workers’ compensation law, the insurance company is not required to give you a settlement offer.  We’ve had a bunch of questions lately from people wondering why that haven’t gotten one and there are a ton of reasons why it could be happening.  Here are some scenarios.

  1. High wage earner has been getting TTD benefits for a serious injury that prevents her from going back to work.  She’s done treating and her lawyer made a settlement demand six months ago with no response.  She continues to get weekly benefits.
  2. A worker without an attorney broke her leg.  All medical bills and TTD were paid. She’s asked for a settlement offer and the adjuster doesn’t call her back.
  3. A construction worker tore his rotator cuff, is all better and the insurance company has told him they won’t make an offer.

So what’s going on here???

Under the first example, it could be a lot of things.  The worker is older and while it sounds morbid, they might have made a calculation that it would be cheaper to pay her by the week than give a lump sum as they hope she might die.  That would save them money.  It could be that the case has so much value that multiple people and/or insurance companies have to get involved so it’s just taking time.  It also could be as simple as the insurance adjuster gets paid for settling cases for low amounts and since this will be a high amount she’s just ignoring it.

Under the second example it’s likely that the insurance company is hoping that by ignoring her she will go away. This is an insurance company strategy that actually works some times.  Another version of this is telling an injured worker their case is closed.

Under the third example, most likely the issue has to do with the law.  It likely will change soon, but essentially when you get a settlement, your injury is assigned to a body part. If you tear your ACL your settlement is a percentage loss of the leg.  If you have a broken wrist it’s a percentage loss of your hand.  For any actual body part, if the insurance company settles with you and you hurt that body part again in the future, the insurance company gets a credit for the first settlement.  They don’t for injuries to what’s called “man as a whole.”  This used to only be for back and neck injuries, but now applies to the shoulder too.  So the insurance company is waiting on the legislature to change the law.

So what’s the solution to not getting an offer?

Under the first example the only way to push them is to get the case ready for trial.  That stops an insurance adjuster from ignoring the case and in the least will get a defense attorney to make a recommendation as to what the case is worth.

Under the second example, they have to hire a lawyer and formally file the case. Once they do an offer will likely happen.

Under the last example, if a case hasn’t been filed yet with a lawyer it needs to be.  If that doesn’t do it then you actually have to go to trial. An Arbitrator will award damages there and that’s how you’ll get your money.  You don’t have to allow the insurance company to wait until it’s in their best advantage to pay you.

Bottom line is that being aggressive solves most of these problems.  If you have questions contact us any time for a free consultation.

IL Work Comp – A Back Injury Just Sitting In A Chair

We are Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys who help with cases all over Illinois. If you want our help please fill out our contact form or give us a call for a free consultation.

I had a conversation with a very nice woman recently who has a sad situation.  Long story short is that when she went to sit down in her work chair, she felt a pop in her back. It turns out that she has a herniated disc.

Unfortunately I don’t think she has a case. In order for her to prevail she’d have to show that something about the job contributed to her problem. Since people sit in chairs every day, what happened to her isn’t enough.  If the chair had broken that would be a case.  If it rolled when she sat, that could be enough.  If she did a lot of lifting for the job we might win.

But in this case there was nothing about the job that caused the back to give out.  Just because you are at work when hurt does not mean you have a work comp case. Something about the job must put you at an increased risk of injury for you to prevail.

It’s not just sitting where this applies.  If you are walking and your knee gives out for no reason, then no case. On the other hand if you are running to a meeting or step in a hole then you do have a case.  If you are walking down the stairs and fall, but have no idea why, then no case.  On the other hand if you are walking down the stairs and slip because the carpeting gives way then you have a case.

Facts and specifics really matter.  Of course when you fall and are in tremendous pain, you aren’t always thinking about why you fell.  That makes sense.  At the same time, as soon as you can you should inspect the site where you fell to see if any defect (wet floor, broken chair, hole in carpet, etc.) caused you to fall.

Bonus tip, this is a big reason why you never give a recorded statement.  Often it’s not until after the fact that you can put together why you fell. If you say you don’t know why you fell, you lose.  If that’s the truth then so be it, but if you really meant to say you don’t know why you fell, but the floor was slippery or the chair moved then you could be talking your way out of a legit case.

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