Overview Of Amazon Workers’ Compensation Claims

Amazon is a thriving business that delivers to consumers at an unmatched rate. The downfall to this convenience is a constant occurrence of injuries to their workers. Amazon is found to have an abnormally large influx of work-related injuries. This could be due to anything from poor work environments, employee overexertion to high-pressure working conditions. It’s why we have helped with more cases against Amazon than any other employer.

Employees that work in warehouses commonly suffer from repetitive stress injuries possibly due to the demanding production rates and low employee appreciation. On top of that, any employee that works in a warehouse is commonly faced with being hit by falling objects, equipment malfunctions, or an injury from a simple trip or fall.

Another area of employment that sees a high influx of work-related injuries is Amazon drivers. They have been known to sustain injuries from collisions, physical assaults, and/or dog attacks while carrying out their deliveries. Drivers directly employed by Amazon can recover from these work-related injuries however, Amazon flex drivers cannot.

Flex drivers are considered ‘independent contractors.’ This means that they aren’t employees of Amazon and are considered self-employed. Since they aren’t directly employed by Amazon, they are unable to file a workers’ compensation claim against them. Injured flex drivers must file a claim through a personal injury lawsuit. This is likely the only mode they can recover from.

Workers employed by Amazon that file a workers’ compensation claim may be entitled to several different types of benefits. These include temporary or permanent disability payments, rehabilitation, medical care, vocational training, lost income, etc.

Amazon warehouse workers and drivers have the option to recover from a third-party injury claim as well. This allows recovery of benefits that they should, but did not, receive from their workers’ compensation claim, as well as additional benefits related to the third party. A third-party claim requires that the accident was caused by an individual or party not employed by Amazon. This could include, forklift manufacturers, outside vendors, drunk drivers, etc.

After an employee files a workers’ compensation claim, it is reviewed by a Sedgwick adjuster. Sedgwick is the insurance company that handles Amazon’s workers’ compensation cases while adjusters are the individuals who work for Sedgwick that directly interact with claimants and attorneys. Adjusters are known to be distrustful individuals whose goal is to get all claims dismissed or forgotten about. It is likely that the same adjuster will consistently interact with the same group of attorneys. Certain attorneys are likely to have standing relationships with these adjusters thus knowing their tricks. It is extremely helpful to have an attorney that is experienced with handling Amazon workers’ compensation claims because they know how things work and where they are leading to.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss a case, please call us for free at any time at 888-705-1766.

Your Work Comp Accident Doesn’t Have To Be Witnessed

We recently had a phone call with a guy who had been injured on the job in 2019 when a box fell on his head. He went to the doctor right away and told his employer about it two days later. He was eventually diagnosed with a concussion and a small facial fracture.

Unfortunately, he never hired a work comp attorney and in this case, it’s too late to bring a claim. The reason he didn’t do it was because his employer told him that the security cameras in the area he was doing his job weren’t working. They said that because he was working alone and they couldn’t verify what happened, they weren’t able to give him work comp benefits.

Sadly, he listened to them and didn’t come to us until 2023 after a friend suggested he look into it. The statute of limitations for filing a case in Illinois is blown and since a bill hasn’t been paid related to his case in the last two years, we can’t get around the time limits.

The worst part is that the employer lied to him. You don’t need a witness or video camera surveillance in order to bring a work comp case. All you have to do is report an accident or injury and see a doctor. Illinois work comp is a no-fault law and it doesn’t require you to prove negligence or have a witness.

Does this open up the possibility that someone could lie and say they were hurt at work when they weren’t? I guess, but I don’t ever see that happen. If you did that you’d be committing felony insurance fraud. That and the fact that most people are good is why this doesn’t happen. And no lawyer I know would represent someone they caught lying about getting hurt at work.

The big takeaway from this is to never ever take legal advice from your employer or the work comp insurance company. They aren’t looking out for you and don’t care about you, even if they act like they do. In this case, it cost this worker payment of tens of thousands of medical bills and probably a tax-free settlement worth more than $25,000. He also didn’t get paid for his time off work.

We are always happy to discuss with you if you have a case or not. Please feel free to reach out to us at any time.

IL Work Comp – Can They Drug Test You A Week After The Accident?

Some employers are the worst. There’s a factory just south of Chicago that would fit that description.

The story I was told by one of their employees was that he hurt his shoulder while working on a machine. Nobody disputes that. When he talked to his boss about it, he was told the company protocol was ice and ibuprofen and then if it still hurt in a week they’d send him to the company clinic. Oh and by the way, that clinic is over an hour away from the factory.

So here it is a week later and the worker tells his boss he wants to see a doctor. The boss says he can do that, but would have to take a drug test first. This worker was sober when he got hurt, but, as is legal in Illinois, has taken some marijuana gummies to help him sleep with this shoulder pain.

He wanted to know if they could legally drug test him a week later.

Before I answer that, this company is violating the law. The worker doesn’t have to follow their protocol after getting hurt. He could have and should have gone to the doctor. Even now he doesn’t need their permission to see a doctor and isn’t limited to their far-away clinic. All of this bad behavior by the company is designed to help them save money and screw the hard-working employees.

Now back to the question at hand. Yes, they can drug test you, but it won’t have any relevance to your work comp case. A drug test seven days later doesn’t show that you were inebriated when you got injured. And in this case, the employee was toward the end of their shift when it happened and was around other people the whole time.

So even if he fails the drug test, he has a right to work comp benefits in Illinois due to the fact that he can prove the drug test is worthless and that other evidence shows he was sober at the time.

It’s all a sham and they are basically trying to scare him. He’s understandably worried he will get fired if he fails the drug test. That makes sense. But his situation will be way worse if he doesn’t go to a doctor, has a major injury, and suddenly can’t work effectively or at all. The longer he delays care, the harder it is to prove his problems are work-related. So if he doesn’t go to the doctor, he might end up with no job, no way to pay for his medical care, and no income.

Illinois work comp laws protect you and don’t reward scummy employers like this one. Focus on your health, be honest, and go from there. In 98% of cases when you do that, things work out best for you in the long run. And if you have worries, you can contact us any time for a free, confidential consultation.

No, Your Lawyer Isn’t Going To Take All Of Your Money

A caller to my office hurt her knee while working. It seems like a very compensable case, but she’s not been paid her TTD benefits for three months even though the insurance company is paying her medical bills.

She’s owed that money but isn’t getting it because insurance companies play games. She had been thinking about getting an attorney to help her out, but had delayed doing this because her husband said if she does then the lawyers are going to just get all of the money.

Some things in Illinois work comp law are misunderstood, but this one is just flat-out wrong. No, a lawyer isn’t going to take all of your money, not in a work comp case at least. Our fees can never exceed 20% of what is recovered by you and in most cases, our expenses are less than $250.

People think this because of a perception created from TV, the movies, or bad experiences that they have had with lawyers in other types of cases. Maybe you had a divorce that cost a ton of money or were in a car accident where the attorney and the hospital got most of the money. This doesn’t happen in Illinois work comp cases.

The reason it doesn’t happen is because when you are injured on the job in Illinois, attorney fees are capped at 20% of what is recovered by you. That almost always means 20% of a settlement. In other words, at the end of your case, if we negotiate a $50,000 settlement for you, our fee is $10,000 and you get $40,000. We literally can’t take more than 20% by law. If a work comp lawyer did that they would lose their law license.

Even before the settlement, your lawyer typically doesn’t get a penny unless they have to put in substantial effort to do something like get your owed TTD benefits. And even then, the fee is limited to 20%.

Beyond all of this, if you have a really big injury, attorney fees eventually get capped. So for large accidents, the fee ends up being much less than 20% in the end. And of course, you get the most money in your pocket with an attorney who knows what they are doing.

So while I’m not saying that there aren’t some areas of Illinois law where attorneys rip people off or aren’t worth it, I promise you that work comp isn’t one of them.

If you have any questions or need clarifications, please call us any time at 312-346-5578.

The Difference Between An Injury Attorney And Work Comp Attorney

I recently had a live chat with an injured worker who told me that he wants to hire the best workers compensation attorney in Illinois. That’s a request we get a lot. Because he was injured in southern Illinois, we referred him to a great lawyer down there. It’s important, in my opinion, to get a lawyer who regularly handles cases in the area of the State where you were hurt.

When I explained to this worker that this lawyer was great for work comp, he responded with a question I hadn’t been asked for, but that I bet a lot of people think about. He asked me if being a work comp lawyer is the same as being a regular injury lawyer.

The best way to explain it is that all work comp attorneys in Illinois are injury lawyers, but not all injury lawyers are work comp attorneys.

Workers compensation is a part of injury law. The laws and rules for handling those cases are unlike any other area of injury law. We have Arbitrations, not trials. There are no juries. Doctors testify via deposition, not in person. There isn’t discovery. Fault doesn’t matter. Negligence doesn’t matter. The attorney fees are different. I could go on and on.

Because of how different work comp law is in Illinois, most attorneys I know will say they are a work comp attorney, not an injury attorney. When I hear someone say they handle personal injury, to me that means car accidents, slip and falls, helping sexual abuse victims, and other accident/negligence situations. It’s not that those lawyers couldn’t handle a work comp case. They could. But I think you will find that if a lawyer is handling a lot of car accident cases, they likely only dabble in work comp if they handle it at all.

And when it comes to your case, you don’t want a dabbler. You want an attorney whose main focus is helping injured workers. As I said, the law and how it is handled is different than other accident claims and the laws are constantly changing. So if your lawyer isn’t really paying attention they might not be aware of something that can really have a big impact on your case.

I have sadly seen too many injured workers in Illinois lose out on tens of thousands of dollars in their settlement and had their case not go well because they hired the wrong type of injury attorney. If your lawyer isn’t mainly or exclusively handling work comp cases, they aren’t the best choice for you.

As always, if you want to speak with an attorney for free about a case, you can call us any time at 312-346-5578. We help everywhere in Illinois.

When You Pass Out At Work

One really misunderstood aspect of Illinois workers compensation law is the belief by many that just because an injury happens while you are on the clock it’s a work comp case. That’s not true. You have to show that your injury arose out of your job. That means your job duties contributed in some way to your accident/injury happening.

So if you have a heart attack or stroke at work, you have to show that something about the job contributed to it happening. The same is true when you pass out or faint at work.

Sometimes people just faint. If I get up too fast I will often get dizzy. Some people have vertigo. Others pass out because they have an underlying illness, are dehydrated, or have some other reason. If that happens to you and there is no explanation as to why you passed out, that’s not likely a workers’ compensation case in Illinois.

On the other hand, we’ve helped a lot of people who have passed out and been injured because they were working outside on a really hot day. Clearly, in those cases the job conditions, working in the heat, contributed to them falling down. We’ve seen similar situations when it’s hot inside, a worker isn’t allowed a water break, or a worker passed out after a 20-hour shift.

But there is one circumstance that is more common than any other for successful Illinois workers comp claims when someone passes out and the work didn’t cause you to pass out. How is that possible? I just said something different.

The answer is you have to remember that it’s a case if something about the job duties contributed to the injury. So the case we see a lot is someone fainting while on a ladder, or coming out of a truck, on a platform, etc. When your job requires you to be in an elevated position, it increases your chance of injury if you were to fall, faint or pass out.

So if you are five feet high up on a ladder at work and faint and break your wrist, your job duties increased the chances of that happening. If you are a truck driver and open your door and get up quickly and pass out, if you sustain a concussion from hitting your head that’s a work comp case. That’s because the height increased the risk of injury.

The bottom line is that if you ever get hurt at work from passing out or anything else, you should have a case review with a lawyer to see what your options are. If you’d like a free one with one of our attorneys, you can start a chat, fill out our contact form, or call us any time at 312-346-5578. We help everywhere in Illinois with our state-wide network of attorneys.

Pros and Cons Of Hiring A Work Comp Attorney

A bold student contacted me looking for help with a school project. Their question was:

Can you tell me the pros and cons of hiring a workers compensation attorney?

It sounded like they wanted me to do their work for them. I barely did my work when I was in school 30 years ago, but I was happy to provide them with insight. And I think that insight can be valuable for any Illinois injured worker. I’m not a list maker, so I’ll go back and forth between some pros and cons and weigh them against each other.

Pro: You have a trained attorney in your corner that is looking out for you and making sure you don’t get taken advantage of.

Con: Some law firms will assign young lawyers to your case who don’t know what they are doing which can make your case go sideways.

Verdict: An experienced attorney will almost always make a case go smoother. When you hire a law firm, clarify who will be working on your case and insist that the primary lawyer in charge has at least ten years of experience.

Pro: It doesn’t cost anything upfront to hire an Illinois work comp lawyer and they only get paid if they make a recovery for you.

Con: They take 20% of any settlement they get for you.

Verdict: Unknown, but true, the insurance company doesn’t have to offer a settlement at all and when they do and you don’t have a lawyer, they usually deduct 25-40% of what you’d get with an attorney. We almost never see a case where you’ll get less money with a lawyer even with their fee. In some cases that difference has resulted in more than $100,000 in the pockets of our clients.

Pro: Having a good attorney should give you peace of mind.

Con: There’s no guarantee of success. Every case is fact dependent.

Verdict: Although nobody can promise a result and if they do you shouldn’t hire them, a good lawyer does greatly increase your chances of success.

Pro: My employer will take me more seriously if they know I have an attorney looking out for me.

Con: My employer hates lawyers and will take this as an act of aggression on my part.

Verdict: In our experience, employers only get mad at bullshit injuries or cases. We don’t take on liars or fake injuries. So while every situation is different, if you are legitimately hurt this shouldn’t be a worry. Plus if you are injured at work, you have to look out for yourself. The insurance company hires an attorney because it’s in their best interests. You should do the same.

Pro: If your treatment and benefits are denied, having a case on file already with a lawyer allows you to get into Court faster.

Con: Court? I don’t want to go to court! I’m scared of a trial and testifying.

Verdict: Illinois work comp claims aren’t lawsuits. They are claims for benefits. There is no Judge or jury, just an Arbitrator. Trials are mostly basic and bland. But even if you don’t want to testify, having the appearance that you will go to trial often leads to a settlement. Most cases never go to trial.

I could go on with a lot of other pros that don’t really have any cons. Some examples include making sure you get proper mileage reimbursement, making sure the nurse case manager doesn’t interfere, stopping the insurance company from playing games, etc. In the end, though, you have to decide what is best for you.

If you would like a free, no-commitment consultation to see if getting a lawyer makes sense for you, you can call us any time at 888-705-1766.

Miranda Rights and Illinois Workers Comp Law

If you’ve ever seen an arrest on a TV show or movie, you’ve heard the saying, “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you. You have the right to an attorney …”

This is called a Miranda Warning and it’s done in real life when the police arrest you and want to question you. If they just arrest you they don’t have to do it, but if they want to ask facts about what happened they do.

So why is an Illinois workers comp attorney writing about this?

It’s not part of Illinois work comp law, but it should be a part of your thinking if you get injured on the job. While you have to notify your employer of an accident or injury within 45 days of it happening, it’s the insurance company that you should view as the police.

It’s likely that you will get a call from an insurance adjuster after you report a claim. Just like a criminal attorney would tell a client not to talk to the police, even if they’ve done nothing wrong, we are here to tell you not to talk to the insurance company. Why? Anything you say can and will be used against you!

But why does it matter if I clearly got hurt at work? Because they aren’t interested in the truth. They will ask questions to trip you up or twist the facts if they can. They will ask about irrelevant things such as really old injuries. They’ll talk to you while you are hopped up on painkillers and are open to suggestion or may not even know what you are saying.

They will also ask to record a statement from you. You don’t have to do this and absolutely should not do it. It’s often a hail Mary from them to try to get your words misinterpreted and use that to deny the payment of any benefits.

In an ideal world, the work comp insurance company would want to simply know the truth and do what they can to help you get healthy and back to work. That’s not how insurance companies work, unfortunately. They are worried about their bottom line. Insurance adjusters get compensated in part based on how many cases they can deny like yours.

And as the Miranda Warning says, you have a right to an attorney. That warning exists because courts want you to know what is in your best interests. And it’s in your best interests to have a lawyer. You need someone who knows the law and will look out for you. It costs nothing to hire an Illinois workers compensation law firm and they will do the talking for you so no mistakes get made. They will protect you throughout the process.

If you have any questions about this or would like to consult with an attorney for a free case review, you can contact us any time at 888-705-1766. We help everywhere in Illinois.

Illinois Workers Compensation Cases In Wheaton

If you are injured at work in Illinois and pursue a case through the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, your case will be assigned to an Arbitrator. Which Arbitrator you get is typically determined by what city you were hurt in.

For injuries that happen in DuPage County, your case will be assigned to the Arbitrator in Wheaton. Currently that Arbitrator is Gerald Granada. He was admitted to practice law in 1994 and became a work comp Arbitrator in 2011. Although his background is mostly from defense firms, he also worked for a well-known injury firm. He is viewed as competent and fair. That said, the Arbitrators rotate locations so by the time you read this, there very well may be a new one there.

The hearings in Wheaton take place at the DuPage County Government Center on County Farm Road. It’s kind of a bland, unexciting building, but you don’t go there for the excitement. You go there to get your case resolved.

Although the Court is open every business day, there are actually only four days of trial hearings in Wheaton every month (with some overflow going to Elgin for two days of trials). That means that if 25 people want to go to a trial this month, not all of them will get their wish. While it’s possible to do 2-3 trials in a day, some take a whole day or more. This is probably one of the most misunderstood facts about Illinois work comp law. Getting to trial is hard in many cases because it becomes a numbers game.

In the old days, there were two main Arbitrators in Wheaton and they were there for years and years. One of them was notoriously difficult so it was important to get a lawyer who was on his good side. Now with Arbitrators rotating so much, the biggest factor in your case’s success is usually getting someone who is aggressive and focused on work comp law. If they know the law and will fight for you, you usually stand a good chance.

The reality is that even though the hearings are in Wheaton, most of the attorneys that go there are going to be from Chicago. That’s because most of the cases take place in Chicago so attorneys who specialize in work comp want their office to be downtown. It’s where most (not all) of the best lawyers are located. For you as an injured worker, you won’t have to travel downtown. Many firms have suburban offices too or will meet with you closer to your home.

We have helped thousands of people who have work comp cases in DuPage County and would be thrilled to help you too. If you’d like to speak with an attorney for free, call us any time at 312-346-5578.

Who Do You Call When Your TTD Checks Are Late?

About once a month or so, we get a call from an injured worker who thinks they are contacting the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. We politely let them know that we are a law firm, but also ask what the issue is to see if we can help them solve it.

While we’ve heard all sorts of things from people who make this phone call, the number one reason people seem to call the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission is because their TTD (temporary total disability) checks are late or not being paid at all. It’s their belief that the Government is there to solve this problem.

The Commission does not typically take phone calls and if you are lucky enough to get someone on the phone, they won’t give you legal advice and are not there to solve your problems.

It’s the insurance company for your employer who issues the TTD, so they would typically be the first place to call. That said, they aren’t on your side and aren’t looking to make you happy. Quite often they will simply not pay your benefits without good reason. They’ll either ignore you, tell you that they are still investigating the case or say that they are denying your case for some bogus reason.

The solution to these problems is a simple one. You have to call a lawyer and they can file a case for you. It costs you nothing to do so and many times a good Illinois work comp attorney can make a phone call and solve the problem.

One thing to know about insurance companies is that many of them take the strategy to just not pay benefits and hope that you go away. It works enough that they keep doing it. Workers of course are the ones who get hurt by this, but they don’t have to.

And even if they aren’t paying benefits with good reason, an experienced lawyer can evaluate your case and let you know what options you have. We have a lot of tools at our disposal including getting your case to an Arbitrator.

If you’d like to know why your benefits aren’t being paid and more importantly, solve that problem, we’d be happy to speak with you any time. You can call us at 312-346-5578. We help with cases everywhere in Illinois and all calls are free and confidential.