A brief checklist for injured workers to help them preserve their rights.
- Report your injury to your employer ASAP.
- Go to the doctor of your choice ASAP and give an accurate history of how your injury arose out of your work. Ask your doctor to put this in your records. Tell the billing department that your treatment is for a work injury so that the bill isn't sent to collection.
- Consult a lawyer experienced in workers' compensation claims.
- If you hurt, complain to a doctor! Faithfully continue treatment until you're release.
- If you still hurt, get a second opinion.
- Don't do anything outside your work restrictions.
- Talk to a lawyer before settling or giving up on your claim.
- Know that insurance companies want to close your claim as quickly and cheaply as possible and that adjusters often deny or under-pay claims.
- Talk to a lawyer if your employer mistreats you after an injury.
- Illinois Workers' Compensation website iwcc.il.gov contains great basic information but is no substitute for consulting an experienced lawyer.
How to Go Beyond the Checklist
A checklist can only go so far to help you. Workers' compensation rights are complicated and a work injury case often may involve other areas of the law including personal injury, medical malpractice, employment discrimination, rights to disability benefits, among others. A lawyer can also help negotiate the maze of the health care system and their billing departments. Even when a claim seems to be going smoothly adjusters often underpay workers because of their misunderstanding of the law. I can't stress enough the importance of consulting with an experienced lawyer if you've been injured on the job.