Illinois Workers Compensation System Overhaul Became Law on September 1, 2011: How Does It Impact Your Workers Compensation Claim?

Illinois Workers Compensation System Overhaul Became Law on September 1, 2011: How Does It Impact Your Workers Compensation Claim?

Workers on the job in Illinois have new laws in place to protect them from injuries and harm now: as of September 1, 2011, the big, big changes made to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act are now the law of the land.

Which means that:

  • if you are a worker who is hurt on the job anywhere in the State of Illinois on or after September 1, 2011, then your injury claims will be governed by this new set of laws – and there are lots of differences between the new Illnois Workers’ Compensation Laws and those worker compensation statutes of the past.
  • even if you were injured before September 1, 2011, the procedures that control your Illinois workers’ compensation claim may change, because the process is governed by this new set of reforms.

What Are The Big Differences Between the Old Illinois Workers Compensation Act and the 2011 Workers Compensation Laws?

When Governor Pat Quinn signed this reform bill into law, he told everyone that one of its results will be to help companies by decreasing the insurance premiums that they have to pay for their workers’ compensation insurance coverage.  And it does — Illinois business will save millions now, some suggest a half-billion dollars a year, because of this new legislation.

However, many are concerned that it will not benefit Illinois working men and women.  For instance:

  • The new laws try to take people out of the courtrooms and into negotiation rooms.
  • The new laws also slash by 30% medical fees allowed to physicians and hospitals who care for workers who have been injured while working on the job.
  • Injuries themselves also got stripped; for example, claims for carpal tunnel syndrome  – an all-too-common and sometimes delibitating worker injury — are being heavily regulated now.

Many believe that this isn’t the end to this story: other laws (and lawsuits) will have to address the reforms that are in place now, because there are either holes in the laws, or they are just plain unfair.  Doctors, for example, are already suggesting that cutting their fees by a third was draconian and they may fight against this.

What Happens to Illinois Workers Now?  It’s Not Clear.

Right now, some believe that it will take years before the dust settles on the reforms that became effective this month.  This, despite the fact that an on the job work injury can be so devastating to a family.  When a father or mother is seriously injured while at work, so much so that he or she cannot do their job, then the family is in crisis.  The law should be swift in its protection, and there is a real concern that workers may suffer not just in their injuries but in getting deserved legal redress for them.

Workers on the job in the State of Illinois are vulnerable to all sorts of serious on the job work injuries as well as the risk of wrongful death while on the job in:

  • Construction Injuries
  • Explosions
  • Fires
  • Equipment Malfunction
  • Machine Malfunction
  • Electrocution
  • Railroad Workers (FELA) Job Site Injury
  • Mill Accidents
  • Falls
  • Slips
  • Longshoremen & Maritime Job Site Injury

If you have a question about how the reforms to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Laws may impact you or a loved one and your workers compensation claim, please feel free to contact our offices by email or phone (see the toll-free number above).

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