SaukValley.com recently posted a story about the big Illinois budget battle that continues to brew in Springfield. Workers’ compensation benefits has now been thrust into the fight. Illinois certainly has serious budget issues, but the state’s financial problems can not be solved on the backs of injured workers. Fair benefits for injured Illinois workers must be protected. If you have been hurt while on the job, you should speak to an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. Your attorney can comprehensively review your case and make sure that your legal rights are being fully protected.
Proposed Changes Threaten Illinois Worker Benefits
Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner and state business interests are proposing changes to the state’s workers’ compensation insurance system. Some of these changes threaten fair benefits for injured workers. Notably, this comes at a time in which the overall cost of workers’ compensation in the state has fallen substantially. The SaukValley.com piece notes that workers’ compensation benefits collectively cost the state $2.35 for every $100 spent on total worker wages. That number has decreased by over 50 percent in the last 20 years. In some ways, that represents a real accomplishment because the main reason workers’ compensation costs have fallen is simply because fewer worker injuries are occurring in Illinois. Clearly, even fewer on-the-job injuries and enhanced worker safety could reduce those costs even further. But, the governor’s proposed changes look to make it more difficult for injured workers to recover benefits. Instead of focusing on limiting costs by enhancing worker safety, the governor proposes much more stringent work injury causation requirements. Some experts warn this proposal will make recovery of workers compensation benefits unfairly difficult.
What is Work Injury ‘Causation’ and why does it matter?
The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act uses causation as a key standard for workplace injuries. The purpose is to ensure that workers’ compensation insurance is only being used to cover injuries that have actually taken place while the person was on the job. For example, if someone injures their back playing basketball on the weekend, then that specific injury clearly has no relation to that individual’s job and therefore the injury would not be covered by workers’ compensation insurance. It seems very straightforward. But, in reality many injuries are not that simple. For instance, back injuries often slowly occur over many years. There is not always a specific event that can be pinpointed as the obvious cause of the injury. Illinois business interests want to use the budget fight to change the legal standards in a way that would make it much harder for workers to prove that injuries were actually caused by something that took place at work. Very tight standards would be unfair to workers and would threaten injured employees’ abilities to recover fair benefits.
Contact An Experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorney
The legal rights of injured Illinois workers must be protected. All victims of workplace injuries deserve full and fair workers’ compensation benefits. Hopefully the state will find a solution to the budget woes without pushing the problem onto the backs of injured employees. Remember, if you have been injured on the job, it is in your best interest to consult an experienced Chicago workers’ compensation attorney. Your attorney can comprehensively review your case and ensure that your rights are protected.