Bills, Bills, Bills: Help Maximize Your Claim with Good Record Keeping

When it comes to work-related injuries, the medical bills can really add up. And on top of it all, you’ve also experienced a loss of income from time off work. Follow these tips to help Styka & Styka recover your compensation.

A little organization can go a long way in helping me maximize the compensation you receive for your personal injury or worker’s compensation claim. Your record keeping is one of the most important parts of your worker’s compensation claim. Accurate and thorough records help us not only move your claim faster but also assist us in recovering the maximum financial claim that your injury deserves.

Doctor Visits & Medical Bills

Be sure to keep copies of all of your insurance statements and medical bills, including receipts for over-the-counter medications as well as prescriptions. You can send copies of these to us on a monthly or regular basis.

When visiting a physician or medical office, pick up a business card and send it to us along with your most recent batch of bills and statements. We need the names and addresses of everyone who treats you.

For worker’s compensation claims, always make sure that hospitals, doctors, pharmacies, and other health care providers know that your injury is work-related. Give each health care provider your worker’s compensation claim number as well as the names, telephone numbers, and addresses of your employer and the worker’s compensation insurance carrier for billing.

For personal injuries, provide your claim number and insurance company contact information for medical billing.

Call or email me with an update after every doctor’s appointment. Be sure to contact me if your condition changes or you have a change in medical treatment. I also need to know when you are released back to work.

Communicate with Your Doctor

Using a journal to record your physical complaints will help you remember everything you need to tell your doctor since your last appointment.

Be sure to keep all of your medical appointments. If you absolutely cannot make an appointment, call the doctor before the apppointment to reschedule (ideally, 24 hours in advance).

Always be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions carefully. If your doctor changes your treatment or suggests surgery, call us immediately.

Recordkeeping Tips

  1. Send Us Copies—on a regular monthly basis—of your medical bills and the names of any new physician or medical facility that has treated you.
  2. Use a calendar to keep daily journal records of:
    • Lost work time and/or wages. Don’t forget time lost for medical appointments after you have returned to work.
    • Each doctor, lab, and hospital appointment on the day and time that it occurred.
    • Medical complaints as they occur.
    • The date you returned to work.
  3. Social Security Disability—If you will be off work, or have been off work, for 12 months or more, you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. Find your local office by calling 1-800-772-1213 or going to http://www.ssa.gov
  4. Call us immediately after each doctor’s appointment, if you have a change in medical treatment, or your condition changes. We also need to know when you are released back to work.

Cooperate with Your Employer

Don’t forget to keep your employer up to date on your recovery—but do not to discuss the circumstances of your case with your employer or any one else except your doctors and your lawyer at Styka & Styka.

Your employer’s insurance company may set up an evaluative exam. Bring your daily journal with you and thoroughly go over the history of your injury and all of your complaints. If you are released to a lighter-duty job that pays less than your regular job, keep track of lost wages. Try to work out any misunderstandings about your physical condition or your job with your employer.

If you have a serious problem with your employer, be sure to contact our office at (312) 357-8000.

Working with Styka & Styka, LLC

At Styka & Styka, LLC, we work hard to effectively settle work injury claims with maximum financial compensa- tion. To help us successfully handle your case, please do not discuss the circumstances of your case with any- one except the people in our office and your doctors. If you, a relative, or a friend suffer a work-related injury, call Styka & Styka at (312) 357-8000.

What to Do If You Are Injured at Work

The Most Important Steps to Complete Following a Work-Related Injury

No matter where you work or what you do for a living, you are at some level of risk for a work-related injury. Every injury at the workplace, no matter how small, should be reported to your supervisor or to a designated employee.

1. Immediately complete an injury report. The most common legal problem in an otherwise valid workers’ comp claim is failure to report an accident promptly. If your injury is from repetitive stress, such as carpal tunnel, you should state that “Overuse at my job caused pain.” Delayed reporting of accidents and injuries may result in denial of needed compensation for medical payments and lost wages.

2. Always request a copy of the report.

3. Seek immediate medical treatment! In the case of an emergency, you have the right to seek help from any ER of your choice. However, except in an emergency, Illinois workers no longer have the right to seek unlimited care from two doctors of their own choice if the employer provides–and notifies–its employees that the employer maintains a Preferred Provider Program (PPP).

If your employer maintains a PPP, you may seek medical care from a physician in the PPP, OR, only one doctor of your choice. However, your doctor may refer you to as many other doctors that may be reasonable and necessary to cure your injury, so long as those subsequent doctors are within the chain of referral from your first doctor.

If your employer does not maintain a PPP, then you may seek treatment from up to TWO doctors of your choice. These two doctors may also refer you to as many other doctors as may be necessary and reasonable to heal your injury, as long as the subsequent doctors are under the chain of referral from the first two doctors.

4. Always tell every nurse or doctor whom you see that an accident on the job caused your medical symptoms or problems. Tell them exactly what you wrote on the accident report or told the boss when you reported the accident. Keep your facts straight and be specific.

5. Start keeping an injury diary. See my article: Bills, Bills, Bills: Help Maximize Your Claim with Good Recordkeeping.

6. You are entitled to Disability pay (TTD) under Illinois’ Workers’ Compensation Act, if your injury prevents you from working. You must have a doctor’s written excuse for each day that you cannot work in order to receive this benefit. Always make sure that your company has a current “off-work” form from your doctor to continue to receive your TTD benefits.

7. File your claim with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission within 3 years of your injury in order to protect your rights. This is not the same as filing an accident report or signing insurance forms with your company’s HR department.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation laws are complex, and the changes signed into law in 2011 make the claim process even more complicated. Insurance companies train their insurance adjusters to understand workers’ compensation laws and procedures and to use those rules and procedures to manipulate the injured worker’s claim with the sole purpose being to pay the least amount possible on a claim.

I know that no one really wants to hire a lawyer, but many of the actions taken by insurance companies require an experienced worker’s compensation lawyer to protect your rights to full compensation. Insurance companies hire and pay defense attorneys to use their skill and knowledge of the laws to find factual, or legal, arguments to assist in defending claims and to convince the Workers’ Compensation Commission to deny a claim. You need a knowledgeable, experienced attorney to identify potential problems and help guide you through this system. Without correctly following all the rules and timelines dotting all the i’s and crossing all the t’s, you may see your compensation claim denied or reduced.

With 24 years of experience, I possess the skill and experience you need to obtain the compensation you deserve. I focus on compensation, so you can focus on life.

If you, a friend, or loved one has suffered a work-related injury, call me immediately at (312) 357-8000 for a free consultation. I will help you through each step of the compensation process and help you put your life back together.