Read FAQs about Workers’ Comp, Personal Injury & More
When it comes to the law, sometimes questions go unanswered or opportunities unexplored because of the complicated nature of the field. While nothing can replace the knowledge and experience of a personal conversation with a qualified attorney, we’d like to provide some background information to help you better understand some of the details surrounding the most commonly faced legal questions. Below, you’ll find frequently asked questions. Please feel free to contact our staff for even more specific details pertaining to your case.
Workers’ Compensation FAQ
Should I get medical treatment from a doctor associated with my employer?
Whom you seek medical care from is a personal choice, but it’s best in these situations to receive medical care from a doctor that’s not affiliated with your company. Additionally, Illinois workers’ comp laws have changed recently and have affected the rights of injured workers.
Previously, an injured worker was allowed to choose two doctors of their own choosing and would be able to be treated by any specialists that they were referred to for that specific injury. This is no longer the case, although injured workers do have some choice in their care. Here are the changes:
Employer maintains a Preferred Provider Program (PPP):
If an employer maintains a PPP, the injured worker has the right to choose a doctor from the PPP, or they have the right to choose one doctor of their own choosing. The doctor of their choosing can refer them to as many specialists as needed that are related to the injury.
Employer DOES NOT maintain a Preferred Provider Program (PPP):
If an employer does not maintain a PPP, the injured worker may choose two doctors of their own choosing. The doctors of their choosing can refer them to as many specialists as needed that are related to the injury.
Can my employer or the workers’ comp policy administrator refuse my medical treatment?
Yes, your medical treatments can be refused for a variety of legal reasons including failure to file your claim in a reasonable amount of time, fabricating details of your claim, etc. However, a claim may also be denied due to a medical opinion that was skewed towards the employer’s best interest. If your claim is denied, it’s best to consult a knowledgeable workers’ comp attorney to help you work out the details.
How are disputes between workers and employers resolved?
Disputes between employers and employees on the subject of workers’ compensation are decided by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. When a claim is denied, the employer must provide a written explanation for the denial. After hiring an attorney, a hearing will be scheduled with an arbiter to hear the claims. The company will prepare testimony and evidence for the denial. You also should employ a qualified attorney to prepare a fact-based, compelling case for the approval of your claim.
Do I need to hire an attorney for this?
It’s never too early to consult a lawyer in your workers’ compensation case. While your claim may be approved without any problems at all, consulting a lawyer at the outset will ensure that you make the right moves to give your claim the best chance to succeed. Should a hearing be needed, the lawyer will be familiar with your case, and you’ll be ready to put together a compelling argument.
What steps should I take if I’ve been injured at work?
If you’ve been injured at work, the first step is to notify your employer that you have been injured. In the State of Illinois, you must notify your employer within 45 days of your injury. It’s best to submit this in writing, accurately describing the nature of the injury, the location and anyone that was present or witnessed the injury. After your claim has been filed, consult a workers’ compensation lawyer if the claim gets denied.
How long does the workers’ comp claims process take?
This depends on a number of factors depending on the severity of the injury, the length of medical treatment and more. Cases should not be settled before medical treatment for the injury has ceased, meaning cases could drag out years if needed. Your lawyer can give you a better timeline of how long this process should last based on your injury.
Is my employer required to pay me if my injuries prevent me from working?
In short, yes the employer is required to pay 66 2/3 of the employee’s weekly average if the injury obtained at work renders them unable to work. This is referred to as ‘temporary total disability.’ However, there are some things to note:
- A worker does not have to be completely unable to work to receive TTD payments.
- Workers on ‘light duty’ or ‘off work’ status by a physician are still entitled to TTD payments
- The employee must be able to work for at least three days before TTD payments begin
Can my employer refuse to pay temporary disability payments?
Yes, your employer can refuse TTD payments if there is a ‘good faith’ reason that they believe the injury didn’t happen as alleged. An employer may also refuse TTD payments if they have a medical opinion from a physician stating that the incident was not related to the injury. Even with a medical opinion, the employee still has the right to present their argument to the Workers’ Compensation Commission to prove their claims.
Why do workers’ compensation claims get denied?
Workers’ comp claims can be denied for a variety of reasons including failure to notify the employer at least 45 days from the time of the injury, filing false claims, making paperwork errors, etc. Even if a claim is denied, all workers have the right to hire an attorney to help them prove their claims.
How much compensation will I receive?
The compensation that you receive for your injuries will be based on a variety of factors including the following:
- The impairment rating
- The severity of the injury
- The effect on their job duties
- The remaining work life
- Any continuing symptoms
What if my injuries prohibit me from returning to my old position?
If you’re medically cleared to return to work, but you’re unable to perform your job duties, your employer is obliged to provide you with vocational training. If no vocational training is provided or you’re unable to take part in vocation training, you may be found to be permanently disabled and, thus, eligible for corresponding compensation.
Personal Injury FAQ
How does the personal injury claims process work?
The process works, first, by bringing a summons and complaint to the court where you’re filing the claim. The clerk will accept the filing and return copies that then must be served to the defendant. Your complaint must include all grounds on which you’re accusing the defendant and all damages being demanded.
What should I do after a personal injury accident?
- Document injuries in writing, pictures, etc.
- Seek proper medical care for your injury
- Make a list of witnesses with contact information
- Reach out to witnesses to ask for a statement
- Hire a qualified personal injury attorney
- Follow all instructions from your attorney
Will my case go to a courtroom trial?
It might, but not always. The fact is that most personal injury cases don’t go to trial. In cases where the evidence is clear, it’s not uncommon for the other side to agree to the demands. However, if the defendant denies the claims, you must go to trial to prove your claims!
How much compensation will I receive?
There’s no way to no precisely how much your claim is worth. However, the amount you seek in damages usually has to do with factors such as the cost of medical treatment, lost wages, cost of assistance and more.
What happens if I’m found to be partially at fault?
If you’re partially at fault in the incident, you still may be able to recover damages. Basically, you have to prove that the other party was more at fault for the incident. In these cases, you won’t recover full damages, just a proportional amount based on your fault in the matter.
How long do personal injury suits take?
This depends totally on the details of your case. Clear cases with lots of evidence can be resolved in a matter of weeks. However, when the claims are disputed, and you must go to trial, there’s no telling how long the case can drag on.
How long after an incident do I have to file a personal injury claim?
The limitation is two years for a personal injury claim. If you haven’t filed a claim in that period of time, it will be denied based on the statute of limitations.
Should I hire an attorney?
If you’ve been injured at the fault of someone else, it’s a good idea to at least explore the option of trying to recover damages, especially if you’re experienced great physical hardship, loss of wages or other problems since the injury. A qualified lawyer will help you evaluate your case and help decide if it’s worth bring your claims forward.
Medical Malpractice FAQ
What is medical malpractice?
Essentially, medical malpractice is claiming negligence by a professional health care provider. It alleges that the treatment went outside of standard care for those that have the same condition or illness. Doctors, nurses, technicians, hospitals workers and others can all be sued under medical malpractice law.
Does someone who is unsatisfied with surgery results have a claim against their doctor?
In general, there is no guarantee of medical results when you go to a doctor or receive a surgical procedure. To prove medical malpractice, you must prove that your injuries or illnesses resulted from a deviation from the standard medical care for that procedure or condition.
What should I do if I have a claim?
The first thing that you should do is talk to a lawyer that’s experienced in medical malpractice cases. You’ll need to tell the attorney exactly what happened and provide medical records and documents that prove your claims. The lawyer can also help you recover some of these things if the doctor is withholding them. Also, act quickly – there is a statute of limitations to be aware of.
What is informed consent?
Informed consent, loosely defined, means that a physician or health care provider must provide you with an explanation of the potential benefits, health risks, alternatives and other aspects of the care that you’re receiving.
Do I have a claim against a doctor who failed to notify me that a drug I was taking was experimental?
Under informed consent law, yes, your doctor should have told you that the drug was experimental – withholding this information robbed you of your ability to make a proper medical decision. If this happens, you may have a case.
If I signed a consent form, can I still recover some damages?
Even if you signed a valid consent form, you still may be able to recover damages. The consent form doesn’t’ release the physician from liability laws governing negligence. If you can still prove that the doctor when outside of the standard of care, you still have a claim to pursue damages.
How is a doctor found to be negligent by a jury?
A jury hears testimony from doctors and medical professionals that provide insight as to whether or not the doctor in question followed standard medical practices or if their actions fell below the accepted standard of care in the medical community.
What is a ‘Certificate of Merit’?
In some states, you must obtain a ‘certificate of merit’ to even file a medical malpractice claim. A certificate of merit means that the details of your treatment have been reviewed by a medical professional and your actions in filing suit are valid.