Lower Back Injury At Work
I live in Iowa and worked in Illinois for over twelve years. I have worked in the insurance industry for over eight years. I am currently employed by another insurance company out of Wisconsin. I have had the extreme misfortune to be injured at work in June of 2001 while working in Moline, IL. I am currently still disabled and I am unable to work.
Have you ever been hurt at work and gone through the system? Well I have and I now believe the laws do not protect the injured disabled worker at all. My advice is do not get injured at work especially if you work for an insurance company.
Unfortunately, I was injured at work on June 19, 2001 and I am still in recovery, under a doctor’s care and receiving physical therapy. During my recovery I was surprised at the way I have been treated by my employer. Some of the tricks are as follows: Discontinue paying without notice, deny any fault, drag it out in court, change attorneys, ignore the treating physician restrictions, send patient to an independent IME over 350 miles away, force employee back to work when the patient is still under the care of the treating doctor.
When the treating doctor has not yet released the worker to go back to work. These are just some of the bullying tactics that employers use to get the employee back to work at all cost regardless of the pain the injured worker maybe suffering. Also, the employer has not made any special accommodations in job requirements. I was forced back to work at the request my employer while I was still injured and not released from the doctor, and I was injured again. Before I even filed the second worker compensation injury report, my employer sent me a letter denying any benefits or medical payments.
It has been my extreme displeasure to see how the current workers’ compensation issues do not show any compassion for the injured worker while they receive care and go through painful recovery.
I see families suffer emotional, physical and financial pain during this period of time when the employer refuses to follow the laws. The employer further complicates the system by non- compliance of the workers’ compensation rules. The disabled employee then becomes another statistic for the food stamp program.
I have read the Illinois Industrial Commission’s handbook on Workers’ Compensation and occupational diseases. I would like you to know the rules that are written in the handbook do not exist or the commission may not enforce them. I want to have faith in the system, but most of the problems are with the employer not following the rules. Please find below some of the issues facing the disabled worker:
Chapter 1 – pg. 3. Item #`1. Workers compensation benefits are paid regardless of fault. (In my case the payments have been stopped two times in the last 12 months without the notification required by law or reimbursed.)
Pg. 6 Item #8. Are W/C subject to taxes no., (In my case the taxes were taken out of some payments and not reimbursed from September of 2001.
Chapter 4 – pg. 13 Item #1. TTD benefits- If employer stops or withholds payments of TTD benefits before the employee has returned to work, the employer must give the employee a written explanation for this action no later than the date of the last TTD payment. The first time my last TTD payment was 9/28/01 and I did not receive written notice until October 16, 2001 the payments were discontinued.
Chapter 5 – pg. 26 Item #3 – Payments of compensation benefits to an employee does not represent the employer’s admission of liability. Even if a claim is filed with the commission after some compensation has been paid, the employer still has a right to contest its liability to pay any compensation at all. (This is were the employer uses the system against the disabled worker they start then stop payments when the employer feels the disable worker ready to go back to work even though the treating physician has not release the worker and the doctors have taken the worker off work indefinitely.)
Chapter 5 pg. 30 Item#13 – Do the employer & employee have additional rights after an award provided by the industrial Commission has been or is being paid? – Yes if an award is paid in installment and there has been no lump sum settlement contract approved an employee may be entitled to the following: Additional medical, surgical or hospital services reasonable required in curing or relieving the effects of the injury or disease. (In my case they pick and choose the bills they want to pay and did not notify me of any denial to pay any medical bills. This then puts the injured worker into a collection state for overdue bills from hospitals, doctors, physical therapy etc.)
This list of discriminating against a disabled worker goes on and on. You may find that this issues are epidemic in the insurance companies and their lawyers. These companies are loading down our justice systems with useless claims while the injured disable worker continues to be the victim of the workers’ compensation system. The insurance company’s claim this is was not a work injury, but just another disgruntled worker that was insubordinate to their supervisors.
The insurance companies seem to be writing their own rules. Do you have any statistics on workers compensation that you could share with me? There should be a better process to help protect the injured worker from financial disaster when the employer puts the disabled worker at such a disadvantage.
Worker's Compensation is insurance just like dental, health, vision, etc. This in an insurance and payments should not be denied by the employer, they should be paid without any question. The injured worker is treated as a criminal without due process of the law.
Is this truly the way the laws are intended to work? The employer does not have to follow the rules, but the disable worker does?
At this time, I am hoping that the elected officials in the State of Illinois look at the current laws and start to track some of the workers’ compensation claims to see that all laws are enforce and the disable worker is provided all rights required by law. Your help is greatly appreciated.
Here is a list of how these laws are unfair to the disabled worker
They stop w/c payments without notice
The insured caseworker gets a pain doctor to release the still injured worker back to work while still in pain and under care of treating doctor.
The employer will not approve continued medical treatment or care for the injured party if the disabled worker does not heal fast enough for the employer.
Disabled workers are not given handicapped accessible to doors at their work building.
Private Investigators watch injured party and their family.
No accommodations for disabled worker when unable to work and earn an income.
I understand there maybe a law coming up in front of Congress that might protect the injured worker. Please do let another disabled person become another member of the food stamp club.
Your help in this matter is greatly appreciated.