Lots of drivers who get hurt on the job would prefer to try to handle it on their own for a number of reasons: want to save lawyer fees, don’t want to create problems with the job, etc …. and sometimes that actually goes reasonably well – for a while.
When you get hurt on the job, you get three basic benefits: (1) 2/3 of your average weekly wage while you are off work, (2) payment of your medical expenses, and (3) a lump sum payment for permanency associated with the injury.
When things go well (and they often don’t, but that’s a story for another day), the first two get taken care of without much difficulty. You get better, you go back to work, and life goes on, and you think, “They weren’t so bad to deal with after all, I am so glad I didn’t get a lawyer involved.”
And since things went well to begin with and you are back at work, you decide to not press the issue of the settlement on your case. You expect based on what has happened so far that they will get a hold of you before long with an offer ….
And time passes …
In the back of your mind, you start wondering when they are going to call you with an offer to settle your case.
The likely answer: never.
Keep in mind that your claim is being handled by an insurance company and they make their money by collecting premiums, investing their premium dollars for as long as possible, and then paying out as little in claims as possible. They know from experience that with some cases there is simply no way of getting around paying the first two basic benefits, and that if they take care of the injured worker to begin with, there is a decent chance they won’t get a lawyer or even ask for a settlement.
While this is going on, the clock is running against the deadline for you to actually file a case. That is known as the statute of limitations and it is the later of 3 years from the date of injury or 2 years from the last receipt of benefits. Once the statute of limitations expires, you will not be able to collect anything more on your case and they will get to close their file without paying the full amount due.
What does that mean? Time and silence is their friend. And the more time and silence there is, the more likely it is that they won’t have to pay.
We are available to answer any questions you have by e-mail or over the phone at 312-263-1080. There is no charge for calling us, and you are not obligated to hire our law firm.
I hope that this was helpful to you. You should feel free to share this tip with anyone who you think could benefit from this information.