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Failure to Pay for Approved Treatment for Injured Airline Workers

Chicago Attorneys for Employees Hurt On the Job

Airline workers can be injured in many different ways depending on what their job with the airline entails. Those who work in an office are more likely to suffer repetitive stress injuries, while those who work on the tarmac may face acute injuries from vehicle accidents or strains from lifting baggage. A flight attendant may sustain injuries from falling baggage or rolling carts. Under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act (ICWA), your employer’s insurer is supposed to cover all reasonable medical care needed for your work injury. Some treatment requires approval. However, even when approval is obtained, an insurer may not pay. If you are an injured airline worker with questions about an insurer’s failure to pay for approved treatment, a dedicated Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer can help you evaluate your legal options. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca, we can assess your case and help you make a determination as to what your next steps should be.

Failure to Pay for Approved Treatment for Injured Airline Workers

The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act provides that all of your reasonable and related medical care arising out of a workplace injury should be paid for by your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. The insurer may require your doctor to obtain approval from the insurer in order to administer a particular medical treatment. For example, it’s common for diagnostic testing to require pre-authorization. The pre-authorization is supposed to ensure that the medical provider’s bill will be paid. However, insurers sometimes delay in approving necessary treatment, and even after you’ve received approval, you may encounter difficulties getting your bills paid.

Under the law, a workers’ compensation insurer has 30 days to pay a bill after the medical provider sends it. The insurer should pay bills promptly or let you know why it’s not doing so. However, sometimes insurers do not act in good faith, and have no valid reason for the failure to pay. If a workers’ compensation insurer doesn’t respond to a medical bill or refuses to pay the bill without a good reason, you can petition under ICWA section 19(b) for an immediate hearing, and a skilled work injury attorney can help.

19(b) Hearing

Under these circumstances, a 19(b) petition can be used to request a limited ruling on a medical bill payment, among other things. The arbitrator can issue an order to resolve any disputes related to payment. The 19(b) petition, along with supporting documents, needs to be filed with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, with a copy served on the employer.

A 19(b) hearing pressures the airline’s insurer to act appropriately. Often this hearing is requested because a claimant isn’t receiving medical services, but it can also be requested where an insurer isn’t paying for medical services it already approved. When you file this petition you’re formally requesting an immediate hearing before an arbitrator.

Penalties

Under the ICWA, delays arising from failure to pay for approved treatment for airline workers can result in penalties to the party that was supposed to pay. If a self-insured employer or a workers’ compensation insurer doesn’t pay for approved treatment and the failure to pay is without good and just cause, it can be penalized by 50% of the amount payable at the time the award is made. The arbitrator will look at whether the insurer’s failure to pay was unreasonable or in bad faith. Accordingly, if there is some good reason why the insurer failed to pay for an approved treatment, and they were acting reasonably, no penalties will be awarded.

Workers’ Compensation Lawyers for Chicago Employees

When you work at an airline, you are at risk for many different kinds of injuries. Your employer’s insurer should pay for your approved treatment promptly. If you experience a failure to pay for approved treatment as an airline worker in or around Chicago, you can consult Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca. Our attorneys can represent airline workers in Rockford, Quincy, Aurora, and Champaign, as well as across Cook, Kane, Sangamon, Adams, and Winnebago Counties. We can also look at the circumstances of your injuries to figure out whether other relief may also be appropriate in addition to workers’ compensation. Contact us at 312-263-6330 or 800-444-1525, or through our online form.