This question usually arises when an injured worker has returned to work light duty, but must leave work for doctor visits or physical therapy sessions when the doctor visits and/or physical therapy, because the medical treatment can only be done during the time when the injured worker is working. There is no question that the workers’ compensation insurance company must pay for the doctor’s bills and/or physical therapy bills when the injured worker has returned to work light duty, in addition, the insurance company must pay the injured worker for the lost wages for the time he spends at those doctor’s appointment.
The law in Illinois states that when an injured worker misses work for medical treatment the insurance company is required to pay benefits to the injured worker who misses work to attend the medical treatment. In the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission case of Esker v. J.B. Esker & Sons, 10 IWCC 0066, The Illinois Industrial Commission held: Clearly, a Petitioner working as an hourly employee would be entitled to receive temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits in the even he lost wages because his doctor told him to rest after only a half-day’s work in order to facilitate his ultimate, full recovery.
In that case, the injured worker’s doctor recommended that he engage in physical therapy and physical therapy was only available during his working hours thus he missed work for that treatment. The Court said the Claimant experienced a wage loss as a direct result of his work related accident and as such is entitled to temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits. To place that burden of loss on the employee (injured worker) instead of compensating that loss through a temporary partial disability benefits, would actually appear inconsistent with the underlying purposes of the act. The Industrial Commission further stated that: “Construing the Act liberally, we find temporary partial disability benefits must exist to help mitigate a wage loss occurring during light duty or part-time work resulting from reporting for reasonable and necessary medical care for the injuries stemming from the underlying work accident.
Based on the foregoing case law, the workers’ compensation insurance company is required to pay temporary partial disability benefits when the injured worker must leave work for medical treatment.
Just because the law requires the workers’ compensation carrier to pay for those benefits, does not mean that the workers’ compensation insurance company will voluntarily make those payments. It is has been our experience that the workers’ compensation insurance companies generally will not provide those benefits without an experienced workers’ compensation attorney demanding those benefits be paid and/or filing a 19(b) Petition demanding the Arbitrator to rule on that issue.
If you have been being pushed around by the workers’ compensation insurance company and are fed up and want to stand up for your rights, and start pushing back, call David N. Rechenberg at Franks & Rechenberg P.C., at (847) 854-7700 to schedule an appointment at the Lake in the Hills office, or call (815) 363-7776 to schedule an appointment in the McHenry office.