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Potential Changes to Workers' Compensation Rules

Posted on in Personal Injury

Crystal Lake workers' compensation attorney, workers' compensation, employee disability, workers' compensation statute, collect workers' comp, disability payments, repeat injuriesIllinois state lawmakers are currently reviewing at a pair of bills that are poised to change the way workers' compensation functions in Illinois. The bills, SB2623 and SB2625, are each focused on different parts of the workers' compensation statute, and are designed to make collecting workers' compensation more difficult. SB2623 focuses on repeated injuries to the same body part, and reduces a person's potential compensation if he or she continues to hurt him or herself in the same way. SB2625 deals with employees terminated “for cause,” and prevents them from collecting temporary partial disability payments from their employer.

Repeated Injuries

The repeated injury bill, SB2623, is designed to curtail payments being made by employers for employees who hurt themselves multiple times in the same way, or who file redundant claims for the same injury. This is done by tracking the amount an employee is paid for injuries to any particular body part. Then, if the employee injures that body part again, the amount that he or she was already paid will be deducted from the new payout.

The bill would also make other, smaller changes that would make it more difficult to collect large amounts of money from the workers' compensation system. For instance, the bill contains special definitions of what constitutes injuries to the same body part. Ordinarily, the workers' compensation system differentiates between shoulder injuries and arm injuries for the purpose of payment. But both are viewed as repetitive for purposes of the new bill. The same goes for leg and hip injuries. These broader classifications would make it more difficult to collect because a person who suffers a shoulder injury would have that payment deducted from future arm injuries. Further, it caps the amount of money recoverable for partial disability at 500 weeks salary, which is only available for an employee who suffers the complete loss of the use of their body as a whole.

Fired Employees

The other bill, SB 2625, is designed to prevent employers from having to pay workers' compensation out to employees that they terminated for cause. The bill defines a discharge for cause as one “resulting from the employee's voluntary violation of a rule or policy of the employer not caused by the employee's disability.” However, the bill does provide a safeguard for employees who believe that they were wrongly terminated for cause. The employer must provide notice to the employee before stopping payments, and the employee may have a hearing in front of the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission. If the employee demonstrates that he or she was wrongly terminated, the Commission can force the employer to start paying benefits again, including any back benefits from when they were stopped.

If you or one of your loved ones has been injured in a workplace accident, contact an experienced Crystal Lake workers' compensation attorney today. Our skilled team is standing by to help you receive the full and fair compensation that you deserve.
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