If I File for Workers Comp, Does It Hurt the Company? Who Pays the Benefits?

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February 20  

Who Really Pays The Benefit?

Is it going to hurt my company if I file for workers comp? In other words, if I file for workers comp, is my company going to go broke? is it really going to hurt them? and who really pays the benefits?

The short answer and the real answer is that, every employer in the state of Illinois is required to buy workers compensation insurance to cover their employee. That means your employer too. There is a small percentage of employers out there who do not buy worker's comp insurance. That can sometimes cause a problem. There's also a bigger percentage of companies that when an employee gets hurt, they tell the employee that they don't have workers comp insurance. But they actually do. The reason they tell employees that is, they want to discourage them from filing a worker's comp claim.

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There IS Insurance

Just because your employer or somebody at the company tells you that there's no insurance, it doesn't mean there really is no insurance. So that's one to think about. But what's the implication of that? It means that 99.9% of employers in the state of Illinois have workers comp insurance. When they're paying you two-thirds of your salary while you're off work with a doctor's note, and they're paying your doctor's bills, they're paying a lump sum settlement, they're paying for vocational retraining or they're paying you some other amount of money that they're required to under Illinois workers comp law.

Not Company's Own Money

That money is not coming out of the company's pocket. That's what they pay insurance for. It's just like if you were in a car accident you ran into somebody and it costs two grand to fix their car. That's why you have insurance. Your insurance steps in your shoes and pays it. That's what Illinois workers compensation insurance is for. If you get hurt as an employee, the employers workers comp insurance comes in and pays the benefits.

Insurance Premiums

You're not really hurting your company. They expect a certain amount of the number of claims depending on what the job is. And they charge them premiums for the insurance to reflect that. So the idea is, you do not really have to worry about it. You're not going to put your company out of business. They may cry poor, they may tell you there's no insurance. But it's likely they're just doing that so you don't file a claim.

I tell a lot of people this. You may get hurt or may have a chance to sue somebody or have a lawsuit several times in your life. But you only get one body in this life. So if you get hurt on the job and you need medical care and you need some time off work to heal don't take your company's work for it.

You can always go find another job, but you only get one body.

Do Not Delay Your Medical Care

And all the medical conditions out there, it's certain that there's not a single medical condition that benefits by a delay in going to the doctor. A delay in getting a diagnosis, a delay in getting the medical care you need. That's something to think about. 

The answer is, no. You're not hurting your company by filing workers comp even if they tell you that you are.

Now, what are case costs?

Well, while the case is going on the lawyer must pay to order your medical records, pay to order a police report. We might need to consult a doctor, and get a doctor to write a report for us or a liability expert like a structural engineer or an architect—like that all those things are case costs that the lawyer pays out of his or her pocket. The way it works is if you win the case, the lawyer gets paid back just the amount of money that he or she advanced to push your case forward. Because after all, if we need a doctor to prove your case, we have to pay the doctor to come in and be a witness. We can't really proof your case without ordering the medical records for example so those are costs that are like things that we have to spend money on and you only pay the lawyer back the case costs that they incur.

In my office, I'm very tight with case costs. I don't spend money on unnecessary things, I've seen some law firms that spend thousands and thousands of dollars on stuff that I think is pretty much not necessary. I keep my case costs very low because my goal is to put as much money in my clients pocket not in an investigator, or God knows, what else people spend money on. So, I'm very tight, I only spend the money I absolutely have, technically you owe the lawyer to be paid back whether you win the case or lose the case.

But, this is what I'll tell you, it is common practice that if the case goes south you don't pay the money back, like in my office I don't think I've ever asked a client for case costs even if the case goes south. Even if you know, I withdraw on the case or you know we go to court and we lose which virtually never happens, but it's always a risk. I don't think I've ever ever asked a client for a penny of money, either while the case was pending or afterwards, it all just comes out of the settlement. So, case costs are definitely set separate from the attorney's fee, but they're really nothing to worry about at my office and in most reputable lawyers offices, most reputable lawyers write off it, case cost is a business loss if the case doesn't result in a recovery for the injured person.

I hope this clarifies the difference between case costs and legal fees. I'm happy to talk to you, you can reach out to me if you have any question, give me a call 312-500-4500.

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