Work injuries are some of the cases in need of the most immediate attention by a lawyer of any injury or accident case. Financial planners will tell us all until they are blue in the face that we are all supposed to have savings of 1 or 6 months of our monthly expenses. But for most people, that is just not easy to do.
When someone is hurt on the job, their company may, or may not, pay TTD or Temporary Total Disability benefits. This is being paid for your time lost from work while you are injured so that you can continue to pay your rent or mortgage. Increasingly, I have seen more and more injured workers come to me with a work injury case, and they are telling me that their companies are NOT paying TTD. That can put you in a real bind-because now, you are injured and worried about your future, and you ALSO have no money coming in while you heal from your injuries. And, they may also refuse to pay the doctor bills.
In my opinion, too many lawyers do nothing when their client tells them they have no money coming in. Most people do not know this, but the Workers’ Compensation Act in Illinois is a law that covers all work injuries in Illinois.
Rule 19 of the Workers Compensation Act allows for an expedited hearing, even if it is shortly after the accident, to get in front of the Arbitrator assigned to the work injury case, to let the arbitrator know the facts, and to let him or her know that you are not getting paid. The Arbitrator can then order the company to pay.
Sure, there are requirements before going before the Arbitrator-you have to have the medical records in the file and be ready to try the 19(b) or 19(b(1) Petition if the company refuses to be reasonable. And sometimes, it can take several weeks to get in front of an Arbitrator for scheduling reasons. But a knowlegable and aggressive Workkrs Compensation lawyer in Chicago or Illinois knows how to do all of this, and DOES IT WHENEVER HE NEEDS TO FOR HIS CLIENTS.
Another common issue I see in Illinois Work Injury and Chicago Workers Compensation cases is companies or claims companies hiring Nurse Case Managers. These Nurse Case Managers are being paid by the company to-do what, help you? Wrong. They will TELL you that they are trying to help you. But the company hired the nurse case manager to try to influence your doctor against you, to take down notes of any damaging thing you might say, and to push you to return to work, even if you might not be ready to go.
Nurse Case Managers are being paid by companies in Chicago Work injury cases to LIMIT the recovery and save the company money. No other reason. Some of them are very nice and personable-or appear to be. Never forget that their only goal is to hurt your Workers Compensation case.
Here is something that most Workers Compensation lawyers will not tell you: Workers Compensation cases are driven by (1) how much money you earn per hour; and (2) what doctors say.
First, be aware that as a general rule, the more hourly money you make, the bigger compensation you get in a Workers Compensation case. In other words, a guy making $20 per hour is going to be compensated about twice as much as a guy making $10 per hour for the exact same injury, and exact same treatment. It is the way the entire Illinois Workers Compensation Act is set up.
Second, no matter how bad you are hurt, if your doctor does not back you up, we are going to have a fight on our hands. That is why I always tell clients to make sure that they have a good relationship with their doctor. If your doctor is a jerk, treats you bad when he finds out you have an injury case, then choose a different treating doctor. I have literally seen people get less compensation than they deserve, and get sent back to work before they were really ready, all because their doctor torpedoed their case because they did not like lawyers or lawsuits. I see this very often when an employee decides to treat with a company doctor. Treating with a company doctor occasionally is okay, but generally, it is risky and one of the worst things you can do.
Under the Workers’ Compensation Act, you can choose your own doctor to be your treating doctor. You can pick up to two doctors to treat you for your injuries (this actually gets alot more complicated). However, the company can request that their doctor examine and evaluate you. If they request this, they have to make the arrangements, inform you, and pay for your transportation to and from the doctor's office if it creates a problem for you. You must attend the exam and cooperate or you risk hurting your case.
Of course, these are not all of the pitfalls and dangers facing a Illinois Workers’ Compensation injured worker, but are some of the most important things you need to be aware of. The best way for you to level the playing field s to hire an experienced, aggressive, and ethical Workers Compensation lawyer to handle your claim.
Chicago Personal Injury lawyer Scott D. DeSalvo has been in practice defending the rights of people who have been injured for many years. More information about Mr. DeSalvo and information about how to protect your rights can be found by clicking here: Chicago Injury Lawyer