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Illinois workers’ compensation laws are designed to provide medical treatment and payment for time off work for injured workers. To receive that, you need to show that you sustained an injury that arose out of and in the course of your employment. In other words, you were hurt doing your job duties due to a risk of your job. It’s a no fault law which means that you don’t have to prove negligence and making a claim for benefits isn’t a lawsuit.
Insurance companies for your employer can’t deny your case and refuse to pay benefits unless they have a good reason. Despite that, we see insurance companies all the time telling injured workers that they don’t have a case and the claim is denied.
They do this because insurance companies aren’t about your health, but instead about their bottom line. If they wrongly turn down your claim and you accept that, it saves them money. It’s a strategy that works because most of these insurance companies make billions.
The good news is that if you know the law, they won’t get away with it. And beyond that, Illinois workers’ compensation laws can actually punish them or their bad behavior. This was shown in a recent court case.
In that claim, a grocery store worker at Jewel Foods was collecting carts when he was struck by a car. He fell, hit his head and received treatment at the scene. The next day he was found slumped over and it was determined he had a brain injury. Emergency surgery took place.
Despite the obvious nature of his injury being related to the job accident, Jewel did not pay his time off or bills. The worker got a lawyer and went to arbitration. Not only was all of his time off awarded and the bills paid, the Arbitrator awarded penalties and fees due to the unreasonable denial of benefits The employer had surveillance video that showed how the accident happened and presented no medical evidence that the problems were anything other than the work place injury. They simply denied the case without explanation or reason.
When that happens, the insurance company/employer can get punished which includes extra payments for time off work, extra money to the worker for the unpaid bills and payment of lawyer fees.
The problem is that only the best Illinois work comp attorneys pursue this strategy on a regular basis. Too many lawyers let insurance companies get away with this nonsense.
The good news is that the law is on your side. It can be very frustrating when cases are denied for no reason. We know experienced, aggressive work injury lawyers who will fight for you. If you want a recommendation or just have questions, contact us at any time.