SWAT Commander Injured On the Job
Compared to all the dangerous work Jim Schlicher performed as SWAT team commander – the stand-offs and the shoot-outs, the barricades and busts and negotiations, this was routine – a training obstacle course, running and shooting with an AR-15 rifle at targets.
Suddenly, in the middle of the course, Jim felt his thigh muscle snap. He recognized a hamstring pull when he felt one. In addition to being SWAT team commander, he was a triathlete and personal trainer with the Police Academy.
He had worked the last two decades for the police department of Westmont Village, outside of Chicago. This was an on-the-job injury. The Village staff sent him to the local doctor, who also thought he pulled a muscle. So they treated it over the next weeks as a muscle pull. After a month of treatment, he did not get any better.
Jim knew he would need coverage for physical therapy – so he began filing for Workers’ Compensation. But there were many confusing steps he had to go through. He felt like he was jumping through bureaucratic hoops for months, and yet he was not getting anywhere. Worse, he suffered in severe pain every day.
It took eight weeks before Jim could get his doctor to order an MRI diagnostic test. The test showed that he had not pulled his hamstring, but sustained a much more severe injury. He had been hobbling around and icing for two months. It turned out that he had a torn labrum and there was significant degeneration on his femur head. Jim was going to need a hip replacement.
Jim’s spirits sank low. His triathlons came and went. His running days were over. Maybe his working days were over. He had no way to pay the bills if he could not work.
More hoops to jump through: “They wanted me to burn my sick time to go to therapy and use up my benefits to be treated,” he said.
He could not believe it. “I’d already wasted months of trying to figure out what the heck was wrong. I did not have a lawyer, I was handling everything on my own.”
Finally, getting nowhere, he said, “I just got tired of dealing with the paperwork.”
A fellow SWAT team officer referred him to Meyers & Flowers, a Chicago law firm specializing in workers’ compensation cases for police officers, to help him expedite the workers’ compensation case. Meyers & Flowers turned out to be the perfect law firm for Jim, because he was back on the job in 12 weeks – and headed toward a fair settlement of his workers’ comp claim. The Meyers & Flowers legal team took over, and all the bureaucratic delays he had experienced vanished.
“Immediately, Meyers & Flowers, my legal team, became the direct link between me and the insurance carrier and my treatment, “said Jim. “They made sure the bills got paid,”
Jim’s case is not unusual. Many clients who first try to do it themselves experience stall tactics that can add years to payment of a claim, delay medical treatment, or worse yet, result in a permanent denial. The Meyers & Flowers team has already dealt with many of these cases – and knows how to cut through the red tape of Workers’ Comp.
Unfortunately, he was unable to complete a running test because of the hip replacement that resulted in having to give up his post as SWAT team commander; a decision he still feels was unfair.
He is back to full duty with the police department. But he does not sugarcoat his disappointment that he has not been able to return to SWAT.
“It doesn’t matter what I’m doing now,” he said. ”I can’t do the jobs I did before. I miss everything about my old job. The action. The adrenaline. The teamwork.”
Overall, though, Jim said he “could not be happier” with what the Meyers & Flowers law firm was able to do for him to help him recover compensation for his injury He particularly praises his attorney, Ryan Theriault.
“Ryan told me what he thought reasonable closure would be on this case financially, and he was right where he thought he would be,” Jim said. “Ryan Theriault is definitely a police and fire attorney. He has a lot of family in law enforcement and understands the job, how it is not a 9 –to- 5 job. He understands the commitments to the career.”