August 2007


In Illinois Workers’ Compensation cases the only way to have lifetime medical benefits is to have a trial. The reason is that very rarely will an insurance company agree to settle a case and offer medical coverage for the rest of your life. Insurance companies do not know what the cost would be for future medical.

When you go to trial and win you are automatically entitled to what is called open medical. This is not an insurance card or automatic authorization of future medical treatments. The insurance company can continue to deny coverage of future medical, and then you would have to file another case before the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. At this stage, you must prove your current treatment needs are related to your original injury. It is a time consuming process, but necessary if you want to enforce your rights.

Many people think this second step to obtain your future medical is unfair, however, this is the procedural framework the Illinois legislature has established. In any event, the only way you have an opportunity for lifetime medical pursuant to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act is to take your case to trial. If you settle your case, then any future medical problems are your responsibility.

If you have any questions regarding whether to try for lifetime medical benefits or settle your case please feel free to call me.

Often, someone will be injured at work and it will aggravate a condition that had been in existence before the work accident. Such as a bad back, arthritic knees, or fibromylgia. In Illinois, you can still recover Workers’ Compensation benefits for such an injury.

In Illinois, the rule is that you must have been injured in the course of your employment, or you must have aggravated a previous condition. The aggravation must be considered permanent in order to recover compensation. Some other states have a stricter requirement, however, if you have jurisdiction in Illinois you can use the more liberal rule.

The nice thing about attorney fees in Illinois Workers’ Compensation law is that you do not have to pay anything up front to your lawyer.

Fees are limited to 20% of your recovery. To be paid at the end of the case.  Or if the attorney gets your time off pay started, the lawyer can charge 20% of what is called temporary total disability.

This fee arrangement is extremely helpful to the injured worker because you do not have to come up with money when you are injured and you know exactly what percentage the lawyer will receive at the end of the case. 

In Illinois, you have three basic rights when you are injured on the job.

1. You are entitled to have your medical bills paid. If your group health insurance has paid some medical bills you have the right to have Workers Comp repay your insurance company. The medical providers must also wait to collect their money until your case is resolved.

2. You are entitled to Workers Comp pay if you are off work due to your injury. Sometimes the only way to enforce this right is to go trial. I will represent you in a trial if the insurance company refuses to pay you.

3. You are entitled to fair compensation once you recover from your injury. Workers Comp is based on 60% of your average weekly wage times a number of weeks either determined by an Arbitrator(judge) or negotiated by the parties.

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