I started my law firm over 21 years ago and have been a licensed Illinois attorney since 1997. One thing I’ve heard a lot from people about Illinois work comp cases is, “I really wish I knew that earlier.” In fact, I’ve heard it so much that I thought I would make a list with the hopes that some future injured workers will see it and it will make their case go smoother or help them to avoid any mistakes.
1. You don’t have to give a recorded statement to the adjuster and shouldn’t.
2. Illinois work comp law is a no-fault law. That means you don’t have to prove negligence.
3. Failing a drug test doesn’t mean that your case is over.
4. Insurance companies will often say your case is closed. That can only happen in reality if you settle the case or wait too long to file it.
5. Almost every case has some settlement value.
6. It costs nothing to switch attorneys.
7. The insurance company can conduct surveillance on you which includes filming you in public places.
8. Unless your company has set up a preferred provider program (PPP, Jewel is one company that has done it), you get to choose your own doctor.
9. Payment for time missed from work is based on calendar days missed, not work days missed.
10. Once you have a lawyer, the insurance company isn’t allowed to talk to you.
11. The nurse case manager has no right to talk directly to your doctor, nor can they attend your appointments.
12. There is a maximum amount for weekly off-work checks depending on your accident date.
13. While AMA ratings are a consideration in settlements, they are not binding or even a main factor in my opinion.
14. Most work comp trials take less than a day.
15. Doctors typically testify via deposition before you testify.
16. While you can’t sue the insurance company, you can file for penalties and fees against them.
17. You have to notify your employer of an accident within 45 days of getting hurt. The sooner the better.
18. While it’s advisable to formally file a case with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission as soon as possible, you have three years from the accident date or two years from the last payment of compensation to do so.
19. It’s not unusual for multiple insurance adjusters to be on your case if it lasts a while. Those are high turnover jobs.
20. If you are on social security or soon will be, there is language your attorney can add to a settlement contract which will limit the amount your SS benefits get reduced by you receiving a big, lump-sum payment.
21. It doesn’t take years to get to trial. Some Illinois work comp attorneys lie to their clients about that.
22. If you were hired in Illinois, you can file your case in Illinois even if you mainly work out of state.
23. You are eligible for work comp benefits the minute that you start working. There is no probation period.
24. If your boss says they will pay for your bills and time off work out of pocket they are likely lying and it’s a terrible idea for you to lie to your doctors thinking that your boss will be honorable.
25. Work comp settlements are tax-free.
26. While any attorney licensed in IL can take your case, you are best served by working with someone who primarily does nothing but work comp cases all day, every day.
27. While the thought of going to trial sounds intimidating, everyone I’ve worked with has told me after that it wasn’t nearly as bad as they thought it would be and most feel like they can’t believe they were worried about it.
28. There are certain times of the year when an insurance company is more interested in settling because insurance adjusters get bonuses based on how many cases they close. So usually toward the end of the year, you’ll get their best offer.
29. There are some attorneys who advertise a lot in the Chicago area who aren’t themselves licensed to practice law in Illinois.
30. Just because the insurance company pays your benefits or medical bills doesn’t mean they can’t fight your case later on.
Hopefully, none of these items are making you more confused. If you have any questions please call us at 312-346-5578 to talk with an attorney for free. We cover all of Illinois.