September 2008

Carpal Tunnel syndrome is one of the more difficult injuries to prove in Illinois Workers Compensation law.

The insurance companies can find doctors who will testify that many work activities do not aggravate carpal tunnel syndrome. These doctors will say that only running a jack hammer or working a highly repetitive line job will aggravate carpal tunnel.

It it important that you tell your doctor what kind of work activities cause problems for you. What seems to increase the numbness and tingling in the hands and fingers. This information will show up in your medical records and help your case.

You should also get a copy of your job description if at all possible.

Finally, it helps to let your plant medical or personnel office know as soon as you are diagnosed with carpal tunnel.

Questions about carpal tunnel? Call Attorney Dirk May at 309-827-4371.


Often people will call and ask if the Workers’ Compensation insurance company can stop paying them or refuse to authorize medical treatment?

In Illinois, not only can they stop paying you Temporary Total Disability benefits and refuse to pay for medical treatment but they will unless you do something about it.


The only way to stop the Workers Compensation insurance company is to prepare for trial.

This puts the pressure on the insurance company because their attorney will tell them either they must pay you or allow your medical treatment, or this case is going to be decided by the Arbitrator.

You, as the injured worker, must be willing to push the case to trial or suffer the consequences. In many cases if you do not push, then you will be shut off.

Isn’t it better to know the answer even if it is bad, then to have to wait and wait and wait while the insurance company says no.

If an offer is made and you have some weaknesses in the case you should carefully weigh the options, but if there is no offer or negotiations you must push back and seek your day in court.

Questions: call Attorney Dirk May at 309-827-4371.

Advertising presents lots of clutter and is often difficult to sort through. Of course, legal matters and representation are even more confusing.

Some of the major themes for Workers Compensation lawyers focus on getting you in the door and promising you some major benefit.

For instance, you have seen the offering of “free consultation”. In Illinois Workers’ Compensation law, all fees are contingent. Meaning no lawyer can charge a fee unless he settles or wins your case. All meetings with a client must be free. Including the initial consultation and all following meetings. You cannot be charged for any meetings, telephone calls, or letters. So a lawyer offering a free consultation is following the law and nothing more. In other words, if the lawyer charged you for a meeting then he could be subject to ethics charges.

Some lawyers emphasize that they can get you lifetime benefits. The only way you can get lifetime benefits under Illinois Workers Compensation Law is to go through a trial. Lifetime benefits are very rare. It means you can no longer work, or you are only able to work a lower paying job due to your injury. Make sure you ask the lawyer if they will take your case to trial to get your lifetime benefits. Make sure they explain to you in detail why you are entitled to lifetime benefits.

Many ads tout the aggressiveness of the lawyer. What exactly does this mean? Will the lawyer listen to you, or is it all about him and his plans? Are they willing to go to trial if you do not want to settle? There is a real difference between advice and control. Some lawyers want to control you, others will give you their opinion and advice and let you make the final decision.

Make sure you are a wise consumer and feel comfortable with your choice.

In Illinois, your Workers Compensation settlement and award revolves around your wage. Low average weekly wage, low settlement; high wage, higher settlement. 

You can count overtime if you get overtime on a regular basis, and if it is mandatory.

If you have a second job, you can also count the income from the second job toward the job you were injured on if your employer was aware of the second job.

You should tell your lawyer about possible ways your wage may be increased. You also need to check your records for W-2 forms, check stubs and other documents that support your wage history.

Let’s be honest. Not every client and lawyer get along. When choosing your lawyer it is important  to make sure your personalities and expectations match. Here are some important things to keep in mind:

  • Does your lawyer return your calls within 24 hours? There really is no excuse for not returning calls. If your lawyer is in court, then the attorney will have to leave you a message and call when available.
  • Does your lawyer take your input? A Workers’ Compensation case is really a partnership between attorney and client. This does not mean the lawyer will always agree with you, but you should at least be able to discuss your views and understand why your attorney takes certain approaches and positions in your case.
  • Is this more than a business relationship? In other words, it is not just about money. There must be trust and ability to work together to put your best case before the arbitrator. If you decide you want a trial instead of settlement, will your lawyer take the case to trial?
  • Is your lawyer familiar with the Arbitrator who will decide your case, and is your attorney willing to travel to the arbitrator’s docket site? There are numerous arbitration sites throughout Illinois. It is very important to know what the Arbitrator looks for, and the insurance company will not take you seriously if your attorney is not willing to travel to the Arbitrator’s site if necessary.

Any questions about choosing an attorney, please call Attorney Dirk May at 309-827-4371.