September 2007


Workers’ Compensation cases in Illinois can not be settled until you are done with your medical treatment.

The Arbitrator will not be able to determine the value of your case until the nature of your treatment is clear and your restrictions are outlined.

Sometimes this takes several years. If you are not being paid, you can have an emergency trial to decide whether money is owed to you for time off work.

Once treatment is complete you will also need to compile all your medical bills so they can be presented for payment.

Let me know if you have any questions regarding settling your Workers’ Compensation case.

Dirk May, Workers’ Compensation Lawyer 309-827-4371.

In Illinois there has been a relatively recent change in the Workers’ Compensation law that protects the injured worker who has unpaid medical bills.

You must file a claim with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission and let the medical provider know you have filed the claim. Once the provider is notified of the claim they are supposed to stop collection efforts until the case is resolved. The provider is allowed to request updates regarding the status of the claim.

This change in the law provides important protections for the injured worker, especially in disputed cases. It keeps off the pressure of the bill collector, and allows you to focus on recovering from your injury.

If you are receiving medical bills and Workers Compensation is not paying the bills, you should contact a Workers’ Compensation lawyer immediately.

If you have work injury in Illinois, and are not being paid you must file a request for hearing before the arbitrator in your venue ( area where you were injured and where the case is assigned). Since the injured worker has to prove every thing in the case, you must have a doctor’s statement indicating the work accident and your current condition keeping you off work is related. Often the insurance company lawyer will require a deposition of the doctor. A deposition is simply a meeting with a doctor where your lawyer and the insurance company lawyer ask the doctor questions and the answers are transcribed on paper.

This usually takes several months due to the doctor’s scheduling requirements. Once the deposition is taken a trial can usually take place within a short period of time.

The key is to notify your Workers Compensation attorney as soon as possible that you are not being paid. This will allow the meetings with your doctor to be scheduled without delay.

Last time I discussed how to decide if your offer was good enough. This time I want to explain how an arbitrator (Judge) determines benefits for your injury.

In Illinois, benefits are based on your wage. This means if you work at a minimum wage job and the person across the street who makes $50,000 a year has the same injury as you, you will receive a much smaller settlement.

The arbitrator takes your average weekly wage (based on the 52 weeks before your injury date) times 60 percent times a certain number of weeks. For example, in Illinois a hand is worth 205 weeks. If the arbitrator decides the injury is worth 10 percent of the hand, you will receive 20.5 weeks.

In Illinois Workers’ Compensation law, there is no schedule describing a certain number of weeks for each type of injury. The arbitrator decides based on a trend of cases over time involving similar treatments and restrictions.

The workers compensation insurance company has made you an offer, is it the right amount?

You can always check with a lawyer who concentrates in Workers Compensation law.

In Illinois if you have a written offer from an insurance company, the attorney can only charge you a fee on the amount you recover beyond the written offer.
That means you do not have to pay any of your settlement to the lawyer unless they can come up with a settlement or award beyond the original offer.

It really is a no lose situation for you to have an experienced attorney review the offer and your case.

Access Allies of Bloomington-Normal Illinois is holding a Parenting and Disabilities Expo on September 26, 2007 from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm at One Normal Plaza.

There will be a number of exhibitors. The site is wheelchair accessible and refreshments will be served. I will also be there.

Plan to come out.