So many workers regrettably wait too long following a work injury before retaining qualified counsel. They invariably wait for a crisis to first “hit them”. This is a huge mistake! So many cases these days are won or lost in the early minutes/days following a work injury.
The employers today are much more keen in “stacking” the building blocks to defend a case, thereby limiting their ultimate payout for disability, time off of work and the medical needs of the worker. Unfortunately, for employers insurance carriers it’s often only about the money and not about the workers’ recovery and financial and medical well-being, nor preservation of his or her job.
So be especially wary of any types of physical exams requested by your employer whether by company policy or federal law. These are not exempt from the Workers’ Compensation Act in Illinois and can be required by the employer and its insurance company at any time during the course of a case. These are exams such as Occupational Health and Safety Administration physical exam, (OSHA); Department of Transportation medical exam (DOT) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Employers now recognize that these can be suggested or directed to be done in a way that an unaware employee may not fully and fairly address and respond, thereby causing additional complications in the work injury case thereafter.
These type of exams have the worker pretty much at the mercy of the employer as to how and when they should be accomplished at a time when a worker is often without counsel and without legal advice to best handle them. They are not part of any litigation and they are frankly sometimes postured as necessary for compliance with safety regulations, and yet with the motive to build conflicting evidence and findings inconsistent with what might have already been generated by the treating physicians for one’s work injury. This information is also not typically fully disseminated to others and is only maintained by the employer. They may be conducted in a friendly atmosphere by the employers’ staff and in surroundings which the employee/worker is familiar. Lawyers representing and protecting the rights of workers are not present.
The Lesson: Workers’ Info Can Be Used against Them
The real lesson to be learned here is that any and all information given either orally or in written form by telephone, in person, via written questions and answers or by virtue of in depth interviews/examination, may all be used against an injured worker where to do so would be beneficial to the employer and its insurance company. Please do not make the fatal mistake of waiting to consult with counsel. You can do so confidentially and without others being made aware. Do not retain counsel or seek out the advice of counsel only when it becomes urgent and critical, and oftentimes too late to overcome problems and issues that have already arisen.
Please also do not be fooled by the timeframes and language to give notice of an injury or within which to properly and timely file an application for adjustment of claim, as both of these timeframes do not necessarily guarantee that work injuries will have timely medical treatments upon which doctors can fairly and reasonably relate the injuries sustained to the work incident hat actually caused the workers’ injuries in the first instance. The biggest fear of so many workers in retaining counsel is that lawyers will either delay the process or cost too much. These are largely rumors spread by employers and their insurance companies to avoid anybody else having qualified and aggressive counsel, but themselves. Retention of qualified counsel at the first available opportunity is the only true way to avoid the multitude of road blocks that often develop later, and preventing the responsible insurance companies from avoiding or at the very least reducing their legal obligations to their workers.
Contact a Mount Vernon workers compensation lawyer at Hassakis & Hassakis today to find out more about your rights and how we can help you after a work incident. Call us at (800) 553-3125 or email us using the contact form on this page.