May 2008


Many injured workers would be glad to go back to work and get on with their lives, but the Workers Compensation insurance company refuses to pay their medical bills.

What is going on? Why does the Workers Compensation insurance company do this? I think many Insurance Companies believe that a certain percentage of people will let their health insurance pay for the bills and go away. This will save the Workers Compensation company money in the long run.

The only way to approach the problem is to file a Workers Compensation claim with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission and seek payment of your medical expenses. In addition, you are entitled to pay for time off work, and permanent partial disability which is payment for your injuries.

If you are having problems getting your work related injury bills paid please call me.

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I just returned from a seminar for lawyers. In Illinois, it is required that a lawyer attend 20 hours of continuing education over a 2 year period. Probably a good idea to require this. One of the speakers pointed out that a major complaint from clients is that their lawyer does not respond to their telephone calls. There are probably a number of reasons why this happens. None of them good, by the way. The lawyer is too busy, the people assisting him do not follow through, or he is too disorganized to the return the calls. In any event, I understood that your case is very important to you and I am willing to return all your calls and discuss your questions. Try it out and give me a call.

You may be entitled to a Workers’ Compensation check for the rest of your life if you cannot work due to your work injury. You must show that your restrictions keep you from working any job.

There are several ways to show that your restrictions keep you from working any job. One way is if your doctor provides an opinion that you cannot work due to your restrictions. Another way is if you have a Vocational Expert who provides the opinion that you are unable to work based on your age, education, experience and medical restrictions. Yet another way is conduct a job search that results in your inability to find a job.

If you have serious restrictions and you do not think you can work any job, please feel free to call me to discuss your case.

What increases the value of your Workers Compensation case is to be ready, willing and able to go trial. The insurance company knows that they have to pay their attorney and face the possibility of future medical expenses if you go to trial and win your case. Being ready to go to trial also gives you the option of settling or going to trial if you do not like the settlement offer.

You need to ask your attorney if they are ready and willing to take your case to trial. Suprisingly, not very many Workers Compensation attorneys are willing to take cases to trial. Make sure that when you have your first meeting with your lawyer that you get the commitment from them to take your case to trial if you make that decision.

It is always better to have the option to take your Workers Compensation case to trial. This gives you leverage with the insurance company and allows you to make the best decision regarding future medical needs and the compensation you need for your injury.

 

The way to get future medical treatment in your Illinois Workers Compensation case is often misunderstood.

As I have discussed before, usually the only way possible for future medical bills to be paid is to go to trial and win. This leaves open the avenue for you to collect on future medical needs.

There is not a medical card or insurance card issued. Instead you must request that the insurance company pay for the treatment needed. If they refuse, you must file a case with the Illinois Workers Compensation Commission.

For example, if you injured your back and had a surgery and went to trial and won, then 5 years later the doctor says you need a fusion. Assume the insurance company denies your request for the fusion, you then file for the Commission to review your case. Your doctor will have to testify that surgery is needed and it is related to your original work injury. You will also testify to your  condition, and the insurance company doctor will testify. A panel of 3 commissioners will review the testimony, documents and arguments. They will then issue a decision. This process can take anywhere from 1 to 3 years. So you can tell this process is far from perfect, but it is the only one in place to deal with future medical requests.