February 2008

What you tell your doctor immediately after your work injury is vitally important.

In Illinois, the Workers’ Compensation Arbitrator places a great deal of weight on what the medical records contain regarding the cause of your injury. This is often called a history of accident. If you do not tell the doctor what happened to you at work when you were hurt, the Arbitrator may decide against you. Of course, timely accident reports and witnesses may overcome this but the history is still important.

The theory is that the immediacy of your statements will be closer to the truth then statements that occur much later in time.

Remember, what you tell your doctors is very crucial to your Workers’ Compensation case.


In Illinois, every employer must have Workers’ Compensation Insurance. You can check the Workers’ Compensation Commission website to determine if your employer carries the insurance. If you are injured and your employer does not have the proper insurance, you should report it to the Commission immediately. Employers who do not have Workers Compensation insurance can be fined and in some cases face criminal charges. If the employer is solvent, it may be able to pay the claim.

In addition, you can file a claim against your employer and the State Treasurer. The State of Illinois has a new fund which may be used in certain circumstances to pay injured workers whose Employer’s do not carry workers comp insurance. The fund usually will pay only a percentage of the award, but the alternative is usually not recovering anything if the employer is insolvent or has disappeared.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation law is set up to stream line the trial process.

You do not have to prove your work injury was the fault of your employer. You only have to prove the accident happened and that it is the cause of, or aggravated your condition, and that you continue to suffer from the injury.

Usually this means you will have to testify and there will not be the need for another witness. However, if there is a dispute about whether the accident occurred then you may have to bring in an eye-witness to testify about the accident.

Your doctor will testify by way of his deposition. The transcript of the testimony will be submitted to the Workers Compensation Arbitrator for him to read.

Since the witnesses are limited in number a Workers’ Compensation trial will often be completed in less than one hour.

No surgical results are ever guaranteed, but back surgeries are especially problematic. There are often complications and lingering pain.

In Illinois Workers’ Compensation Law if you settle your case after a back surgery, then any further treatment you may need is no longer the responsiblity of the Workers Comp insurance company. The only way to cover future medical treatment is to have a Workers’ Compensation Hearing. The Hearing will result in a ruling from the Arbitrator that will award benefits and medical payments. If you win your workmans compensation case, you are automatically provided with the potential for future medical treatment.

The main thing to remember is that after a surgery related to a work injury, if you settle your workmans comp case, all medical stops.