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Receiving Workers' Compensation After Termination

Posted on in BGL Law
Receiving Workers' Compensation After TerminationAn Illinois employer's responsibility for workers' compensation benefits can continue even after firing the employee for cause. The 2010 Illinois Supreme Court ruling on Interstate Scaffolding Inc. v. the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission said that a terminated employee was entitled to continued temporary total disability benefits until his medical condition had stabilized. The decision established protections for workers' compensation recipients who are fired for reasons unrelated to their injuries. However, a recent Illinois appellate court decision shows that there are situations when that ruling may not apply.

The Case

In Holocker v. the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission, the claimant had been injured while operating a crane on the job. As a result of the incident, he suffered:

  • Dental damage;
  • Facial fractures; and
  • Chest contusions.

The claimant returned to his job a month later, with some work restrictions. He was cleared for full work after two months, though he continued to undergo surgery to repair his facial and dental injuries. His employer paid him temporary total disability benefits for the time he missed recovering from surgery.

Because the claimant experienced anxiety attacks when using a crane, the employer allowed him to operate other equipment while maintaining the same position. The employer also offered him a full-time janitorial position with equal pay, which he declined.

Thirteen months after the work accident, the claimant was terminated because he missed three consecutive days of work without notifying his employer that he would be absent. He continued treatment for his dental injuries and anxiety after losing his job. Three months later, he requested temporary total disability benefits from the date of his termination to the present.

Differences

The claimant cited the Interstate Scaffolding case as grounds for receiving continued benefits. An arbiter awarded the benefits, but the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission reversed the decision. An Illinois circuit court reinstated the benefits, but an Illinois appellate court again reversed the decision. The commission found and the appellate court agreed that the Holocker case is different from the Interstate Scaffolding case because:

  • Before his termination, the claimant had shown he was capable of performing his job with minimal modification to his duties; and
  • The claimant's medical condition after his termination did not prevent him from obtaining another job.

Workers' Compensation Claims

Workers' compensation benefits are needed because claimants can lose pay due to their inability to work full-time. A McHenry County workers' compensation attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, can prove that your injury was work-related and requires compensation. Schedule a free consultation by calling 815-338-3838.

Source:

http://www.illinoiscourts.gov/Opinions/WorkersComp/2017/3160363WC.pdf

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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