You can find a lot of information and advice on what TO do. This post will focus on what NOT to do, and some of the reasons why.
1.) DO NOT work through the pain instead of reporting it right away. If you do this, at least a few main problems are created down the road:
Your memory of exactly how you were injured will grow more foggy as time goes on, and when it comes time to report your injury, you may give a cloudy version of the events to all parties (supervisors, bosses, doctors, insurance adjusters), raising a cloud of suspicion over your claim.
If you report your injury as having occurred more than 45 days in the past, in the state of Illinois, that in itself is enough to deny many workers’ compensation claims completely. You must report any work injury within 45 days, per the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. There are some exceptions and ways to still win a case that was reported late, and they mainly revolve around the phrase, “…within 45 days of when you knew or should have known that your injury was work related.” However, if you follow the rules and report your injury on time, you avoid complicating—or worse, destroying—your possible workers’ compensation claim.
2.) DO NOT trust that occupational clinics and doctors actually care about you, the patient, more than their income and livelihood, and that they will actually try to properly diagnose and treat whatever injuries you have sustained. (See: “Occupational Clinics: Gatekeepers for Insurance Companies,” https://www.cortilaw.com/
3.) a.) DO NOT trust what the insurance adjusters tell you
b.) DO NOT give a recorded statement to the workers’ compensation insurance carrier.
For an example on why you cannot trust a workers’ compensation insurance adjuster, they often tell the injured worker that he or she “must” give a recorded statement in order to receive workers’ comp benefits. This is an outright lie. If, for example, you contact a good workers’ comp attorney before this happens, the attorney will always tell you to NOT give a recorded statement, and to NOT speak with the insurance carrier anymore, if you plan to hire the lawyer. After you hire the lawyer, your claim could very well proceed to be fully accepted and paid for by the work comp insurance carrier, despite the fact that you never gave them the “mandatory” recorded statement. In most cases, you have already given at least two “histories” of the injury:
1) To the doctors / hospital workers at the first medical provider you went to after being injured, and
2) To your employer, on a written accident report that you filled out after being injured.
In trying to trick you into giving a recorded statement, the insurance carrier is simply seeking to build a case against you by making you give yet another account of the events of the injury. By recording the audio of your account, they can analyze your words to see if they differ in any way from your previous accounts of how you were injured. If you slip up and say anything in a questionable way, you can count on the work comp insurance carrier using that to deny your claim.
4.) DO NOT sign medical authorizations that release more information to your employer or their workers’ comp insurance carrier than they are entitled to by the law. They are not entitled to all of your medical records from birth to present, contrary to what they may claim, and contrary to what they may try to get you to sign.
5.) DO NOT quit or resign from your job with the employer you were working for while you were injured. If you do, you will lose:
A.) Your right to receive weekly workers’ compensation checks.
B.) Your right to unemployment pay.
C.) Your right to sue your employer if they retaliate against you or terminate you for filing a workers’ compensation claim.