One recent trend that has many Illinois worker advocacy groups concerned is that fewer workers' compensation cases are being heard. If it were a matter of fewer work injuries occurring so that workers don't need to file any workers' compensation claims, this would be one matter. However, many are worried that the reason why more workers aren't filing for benefits is because they are scared that the claim will take too long and leave them a period of limbo during a very harsh economy.
Such is the case for one Illinois man who had loaded freight trucks for years. By the time he was 50, his back and neck were causing him to be in such agony that he finally contacted his supervisor to report the incident. Afterwards, he lost his job at job at the Wal-Mart Distribution Center. Eventually, an arbitrator awarded the man monetary damages; however, it will likely take another two years of appeals and further hearings for him to finally conclude the hearings process.
While this man's story is atypical, many are afraid that workers' compensation cases will decrease, even though worker injuries may stay stable. This trend is partly attributed to fewer jobs and partly because many workers are too afraid to approach their employers and get what is rightfully theirs. Instead, they may have fears that they will not be able to continuing working their jobs and support their families.
It can be a daunting task for any worker to file a workers' compensation claim. This may be especially true in such a difficult economy. However, for those who are seriously injured, filing workers' compensation may help provide invaluable monetary support to the employee at a time when it may otherwise seem financially impossible to survive. The right advice and assistance may help a seemingly complicated process easier to navigate in a timely fashion.
Source: News Tribune, "Workers comp cases fall," Tom Collins, Aug. 27, 2012