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Illinois Considers Controversial New Workers' Compensation Bill

Posted on in Workers' Compensation

bloodborne pathogens, EMTs, infected blood, McHenry County workers' compensation attorneys, paramedic injuries, workers' compensation, workers' compensation bill, workers' compensation insuranceThe Illinois legislature is currently considering a controversial new bill to modify the workers' compensation statute. The bill, HB 2229, alters sections of the workers' compensation statute related to firefighters, paramedics, and emergency medical technicians (EMTs). The bill, if enacted into law, would draw a distinction between paramedics and EMTs trained as firefighters and paramedics or EMTs generally. Then, this distinction would be used to restrict the types of claims that paramedics or EMTs could file. Specifically, it would restrict their ability to receive compensation for certain respiratory illnesses and those related to bloodborne pathogens.

Possible Paramedic Injuries

Paramedics face a variety of occupational hazards when they go to work. By the nature of their jobs, they are routinely exposed to dangerous infectious diseases or other noxious chemicals. Additionally, their jobs are also physically intensive. They often have to quickly move heavy pieces of medical equipment, and they can also find themselves assisting patients who are injured or who otherwise have limited mobility.

Further, paramedics and EMTs often accompany patients in ambulances. Such ambulance rides can actually be quite dangerous for all involved because of the lack of ordinary rules of the road, as well as the explosive chemicals like oxygen that many ambulances carry. These dangers have led to increasing costs in workers' compensation insurance that many state lawmakers are looking to reduce. To that end, they have introduced this new bill to help keep workers' compensation costs down.

HB 2229

This new bill aimed at lowering costs does so in a couple of ways. First, it removes protections for bloodborne pathogens from the workers' compensation statute for paramedics and EMTs. Bloodborne pathogens are those diseases that can be transmitted from person to person by way of contact with infected blood, such as HIV and some forms of hepatitis. Second, the law also removes workers' compensation protection from tuberculosis, a highly contagious respiratory disease that can be easily transmitted through the air.

For obvious reasons, this bill is not without its controversy, since there are many legislators opposed to the idea of removing these protections from the emergency responders who rely on them. The bill's supporters argue that the loss of protection is worth it to drive down the spiking cost of workers' compensation insurance, and that people should not be concerned about the health of emergency personnel, since their salaries will likely be increased to compensate for the loss.

If you have recently been injured while at work and would like to know more about your rights, reach out to our dedicated McHenry County workers' compensation attorneys today. Our experienced team can work with you to ensure that your rights are fully represented, and help you receive the full and fair compensation that you deserve.

Illinois State Bar Association State Bar of Wisconsin Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce Illinois Trial Lawyers Association McHenry County Bar Association
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