1. Fail to notify their employer
Many people failed to notify the employer fact that they had a work injury. Frequently, this is because they believe they are not seriously injured. People frequently believe that they will get better. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. The ones who do are fine. The ones that don’t may not have given notice to the employer. There is a statutory requirement, which is jurisdictional, meaning that it is an absolute defense for the employer, that the worker notify the employer within 45 days the injury. This does not have to be in writing. However, failing to provide it in writing frequently leads to litigation. The employer denies having known of the injury. Sometimes the worker is afraid to tell the employer because they’re afraid the employer will retaliate. Employers are not allowed to fire people for reporting work injury. Unfortunately, current law, Illinois, provides that they can do things to the employer that are not reasonable. Employers can cut a workers hours significantly. They can be assigned to less pleasant duties.
2. Failing to go to the doctor to document their injury.
This is similar to the first mistake people make. Many people believe they will tough out the injury and do not need to go to the doctor. They may fear going to the doctor. They may not want the expense. Nevertheless, if a person fails to notify the doctor the insurance company then claims the person was not injured or was not seriously injured at the time of the injury. While I, as a lawyer, do not recommend going to the doctor just frivolously, once there’s an injury, the defense will use any opportunity it can to claim a person is not injured.
3. Failing to tell the doctor about all their symptoms.
I find that sometimes people will report an injury, for example, to their neck, and think that another part of their body, the hand they landed on, is just sprained. Their neck is the only symptom they tell the doctor about. They do not tell the doctor about the hand they landed on.
4. Failing to get photographs of the accident scene.
Frequently the accident scene changes after an injury. Sometimes the employer will clean up the area to make to make it safer. Once this happens, valuable evidence is lost. Always take pictures of the accident scene. If it is repetitive trauma scene, like a workstation, the employer may very well change workstation to make it safe. Once that happens there is no evidence of what the worksite had looked like.
5. Failing to get a list of witnesses
Often you will need witnesses to substantiate the fact that there was an injury, or that there was notice to the employer. Frequently by the time the issues go to court, people have moved. Get their names, addresses, and phone numbers.
6. Failing to get a lawyer right away
If your injury is substantial enough to warrant getting a lawyer you should have one from the beginning. The fee, at least at Ackerman Law Office, is the same, whether we represent you from the beginning of the case or if we start later. The insurance company has lawyers on staff so they do not make a mistake. You should too.
At Ackerman Law Office we are familiar with all the things need to be done to preserve a work injury. If you have a work injury please do not hesitate to contact us. We give our clients the best service we can. We give our clients prompt action and personalized attention and handle these cases on a contingent fee basis.