Tips on Talking to a Lawyer about Your Work Injury
What to expect when talking to a Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Hiring a dedicated and knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney will increase your chance of obtaining the benefits you deserve under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. An attorney will inform you of your rights under the law, will communicate with the insurance company on your behalf, will gather medical and vocational evidence, and will negotiate a settlement or represent you in a hearing at the conclusion of your claim.
During your initial consultation, an attorney will ask you a series of questions to determine whether or not he or she is able to represent you. The following is a list of information the attorney may need to understand and assess your workers’ compensation claim. Please be aware that because workers’ compensation claims are time sensitive, it is often beneficial to contact a workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible, even if you do not yet have all of the information listed.
- Employment Information
- Basic information regarding where you worked when you were injured, how long you have worked for that employer, and what your job title is.
- Information about what state you were hired in, what state your employment is based in, where you spend the majority of your time working, etc.
- A detailed description of your job duties to determine whether your claim is compensable under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act as well as to determine what effect your injury will have on your ability to return to work in the future.
- Average Weekly Wage Information
- In Illinois, the amount of benefits you are entitled to under the law is based on your salary/wage rate information.
- Your marital status and number of children under 18 may also affect the amount of benefits you are entitled to.
- Accident Information
- Detailed information regarding your injury, including when you were injured, where you were injured, and how the accident/exposure occurred. If you suffered from a repetitive trauma injury, this may include information regarding your work duties and when you first noticed the injury, when you first sought treatment, and when you realized the injury was caused by your job duties.
- When you notified your employer of the injury and who it was that you notified.
- Whether you wrote or gave an oral report of the injury. The attorney may wish to see the report if you have it in your possession.
- Any witnesses to the accident and the contact information of those witnesses.
- Medical Treatment
- Detailed history of the medical treatment including: when and where you first sought medical treatment and a timeline of your treatment since the initial visit. If possible, having any/all medical records in your possession readily available may be helpful.
- Contact information of your medical providers
- How you chose your doctors and/or how you were referred from one doctor to another.
- Whether you have seen an “independent medical examiner” or “Section 12 examiner”, which is an examining doctor to whom the workers’ compensation insurance company sent you to for an evaluation.
- Correspondence with Employer or Insurance Company
- Whether you have been receiving weekly benefits, how your medical care has been paid for, and any outstanding medical bills that you are aware of.
- Contact information of anyone you spoke to at the insurance company regarding your workers’ compensation claim.
- Any offers made on the case prior this consultation.
- Pre-accident Information
- Information regarding previous injuries and health conditions. Please be aware pre-existing injuries and conditions do not prevent recovery under the Illinois workers’ compensation act, however may be relevant to your claim.
- Information about previous workers’ compensation and personal injury claims.
- Other Information
- While most injuries which arise out of employment are limited to recovery under Workers’ Compensation, in some situations, third party lawsuits may be possible. At Katz Friedman, there are attorneys who may be able to pursue these third party claims for you at the same time as your workers’ compensation claim.
- Whether you are receiving social security/disability or plan to apply for social security/disability in the future. At Katz Friedman, there are attorneys who can represent you in their social security/disability claim at the same time as your workers’ compensation claim.
Every workers’ compensation claim is different and the attorney may need more or less information depending on your unique circumstances. At Katz Friedman, we offer free consultations for all workers’ compensation claims. Even if we are unable to represent in your claim, we may be able to help you.