The Chicago Employment Law Blog

Workers' Compensation in Chicago

Workers' compensation is a state-mandated insurance program that allows employees to collect compensation if they’ve been injured at work. Through this no-fault system, employees usually can obtain payments for lost wages, medical costs, and occupational rehabilitation expenses.

Chicago employment lawyers know the most up-to-date information on collecting workers' compensation benefits in the state of Illinois. If you would like advice on an employment law issue, including advice on wages or benefits, you should look through FindLaw's directory to find a Chicago employment lawyer.

Recently in Workers' Compensation Category

Do Chicago Employers Have to Provide Sick Leave?

This year's flu season was particularly rough. Chicago's public health department reported 154 flu-related intensive care unit hospitalizations between the end of September 2013 and early February, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Though spring is fast approaching, people are still coming down with the flu, requiring them to take time off from work to recover.

But are employers legally required to provide paid sick leave?

Study: Working too Much Bad for Health

Is there a link between depression and overtime? Some studies don’t really need to be conducted to know what the results will be. In Britain, a study revealed that workers who worked too much suffered negative health effects. Duh.

According to the study on overtime and health, people who worked more hours than normal were at much greater risk for depression, reports HealthDay News. In the study, researchers followed about 2,000 middle-aged British government workers and found that employees who worked 11 hours or more a day were twice as likely to suffer from depression as compared to those workers who only worked seven or eight hours a day.

New Illinois Workers' Compensation Law Limits Benefits for Some

Governor Pat Quinn signed into law a new Illinois workers' compensation bill that will ban benefits for those convicted of certain crimes.

According to the Decatur Tribune, the governor signed Senate Bill 1147 that will prevent workers convicted of serious crimes from claiming workers' compensation benefits for injuries resulting from those crimes. The new law will prevent workers from receiving benefits if they were injured while committing a forcible felony, aggravated DUI, or reckless homicide.

Governor Pat Quinn Signs Workers' Compensation Reform Laws

Governor Pat Quinn signed a new workers' compensation law that would significantly help Illinois businesses save money. Whether the new law helps injured workers is another issue.

According to the Associated Press, the new workers' compensation law would save Illinois businesses between $500 and $700 million by cutting the premiums they have to pay into the system.

The workers' compensation system is basically an employer-funded insurance program for injured workers. Workers injured on the job can receive benefits like medical assistance and lost wages from the workers' compensation fund. That fund (worth about $3 billion) comes from premiums that businesses pay for each of their workers.

One in every 10 guards at the Menard Correctional Center in Chester was awarded a workers' compensation settlement for repetitive trauma blamed on locking and unlocking cells, according to the Belleville News-Democrat.

Also, 35-year-old warden David Rednour received $75,678 in June for repetitive trauma he claimed to have suffered during his earlier career as a police officer. In addition, he received $9,196 in paid time off last year to recover from corrective surgery.

Illinois state senators are hashing out their differences as they tackle a statewide reform of the workers' comp system, according to The Alton Telegraph. As part of the negotiations, lawmakers also are working on changes to the state Medicaid program for low-income people.

Meanwhile, business leaders have complained for years that the high cost of workers' compensation insurance premiums and settlements have discouraged businesses from locating in Illinois.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on former Illinois state trooper Matt Mitchell's attempt to collect workers compensation benefits for injuries he sustained in a collision near Scott Air Force Base. But while he recovered from his minor injuries, teenage sisters Jessica Uhl and Kelli Uhl died in the 2007 crash.

In fact, the ex-officer pleaded guilty to two counts of reckless homicide and was placed on 30 months probation. But Matt Mitchell still received his $67,000 annual salary for almost two years while his criminal case played out. The Illinois State Police was planning a disciplinary case against him, so he resigned instead.

Meanwhile, the Illinois Court of Claims is expected to issue a verdict in the $46 million wrongful death suit filed by the girls' parents soon.

Downstate newspaper St. Clair Record reported on a lawsuit by Cahokia resident Antoine Smith, who claims he former employee canned him after he filed for workers comp insurance. He worked for Allied Services in 2008 from Aug. 18 through Nov. 12, when he was terminated.

Antoine Smith claims he sustained work-related injuries on Sept. 4, 2008, reported the incident to his employer and sought medical attention. He then filed a claim, took some time off work and received benefits.

However, as his Illinois workers compensation attorney stated in the complaint, Antoine Smith received notification that he was being let go:

"...he was terminated under the pretext of leaving work without notification and a reduction in the work force but was actually terminated due to his exercise of rights under the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act."

The quality of care provided to deployed US soldiers was heavily scrutinized when photos and testimony of appalling conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center were revealed three years ago. Conditions have improved since then, according to the Arizona Daily Star. 

That's good news for the roughly 280,000 troops in Iraq and Afghanistan (based on 2009 figures). But what about the estimated 242,000 non-military private contractors serving side-by-side with soldiers, often in similarly dangerous conditions?

It turns out that the employees of private contractors assisting US military operations (and their families) often lose out when they are injured or killed, according to a new University of Illinois study cited by Medical News Today. Contractors, the study suggests, routinely "use the veil of government immunity and other war-related legal arguments" to limit, or even deny workers compensation payouts.

A 2006 Chicago Sun-Times investigation into workers compensation abuses by city workers, exposing workers who appeared to be faking injuries, eventually led to federal subpoenas. Now, City Hall is imposing tough new enforcement mechanisms to ensure its employees are not taking advantage of the system, yesterday's Sun-Times reported.

If you have been injured and believe the system is taking advantage of you, that's a different story altogether and you might want to call an Illinois workers compensation attorney.

Beginning the week of April 12, each city department will assign a manager to keep watch over injured workers; making sure they visit doctors, go to rehab if necessary and follow treatment guidelines. Monthly status reports will give officials better visibility into each injured employee's physical condition.