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Senate Bill Could Make Collecting Workers' Compensation More Difficult

Posted on in Workers' Compensation

workers compensation bill, Crystal Lake workers comp attorneysWorkers' compensation in Illinois may be undergoing drastic changes that make collecting it more difficult, following the election of Governor Rauner. One of the most important features of any workers' compensation system is known as the “causation standard.” In order to collect workers' compensation, an injured employee must show that the injury arose out of their employment. The causation standard is the standard the courts apply for determining whether an injury actually arose out of the employment or whether it was caused by some other factor completely separate from the person's job.

A new senate bill, SB 846, would affect the workers' compensation in a variety of ways, but one of the most important is that it would raise the causation standard. The bill would institute something known as “primary causation.” That standard would make it more difficult for people to collect workers' compensation because it would require injured workers' to prove that the primary cause of their injury was their employment.

Causation in Workers' Compensation

The proposed change to the causation standard would be a major increase as compared to the current level of causation. At present, the workers' compensation standard requires someone to show that their employment had some causal connection to their injury. This usually means that the type of employment must somehow increase the person's risk for the injury. It can even include long-term or preexisting conditions that the person's employment aggravated.

The primary causation standard would be much more rigorous. It would require someone to show that the person's employment “contributed more than 50 percent in causing the injury, considering all causes.” Additionally, the new standard would exclude the aggravation of preexisting conditions unless a similar 50 percent standard could be proven “to a reasonable degree of medical certainty.”

The Bill's Rationale

The rationale for the bill is explicitly focused on making Illinois more attractive to businesses. Workers' compensation is an insurance system that employers pay for on behalf of their employees. The easier that it is for employees to collect these insurance payments as a result of their injuries, the more expensive the insurance becomes for employers. That extra expense can make it more difficult for businesses who choose to settle in Illinois rather than in neighboring states.

However, the rationale for the bill ignores the real cost to employees of making workers' compensation more difficult to collect. Workers' compensation insurance exists to help protect workers who suffer injuries on the job, and increasing the causation standard could place a severe strain on injured workers and their families.

Workers' compensation is available to help people who have been injured on the job recover for their accident. If you have been the victim of a workplace injury, contact an experienced Crystal Lake workers' compensation attorney today. Call Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC at 815-338-3838 or toll free at 800-338-3833 to schedule a consultation.

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