In the state of Illinois, an employee must show that “he or she has sustained accidental injuries arising out of and in the course of employment” to receive workers’ compensation benefits. However, since the passing of the 2011 workers’ comp reform law, these benefits have begun to diminish in an effort to protect employers from rising costs. In fact, a new workers’ compensation proposal from Governor Bruce Rauner aimed to further reduce the already scaled-back benefits. House Democrats had something else in mind, however.
With the 2011 reform, workers voluntarily forfeited rights in exchange for reduced insurance costs. Unfortunately, employees haven’t really received that for which they bargained. An almost 20 percent reduction in policy premiums was recommended by the National Council on Compensation Insurance, but the insurance companies have refused. Some evidence even suggests that workers’ comp premiums have increased since the reform.
Workers’ compensation benefits are often a financial lifesaver for people who can no longer work due to injuries suffered on the job. If an individual relies on his or her income and that income is lost, the threat of poverty becomes very real. Sometimes workers’ comp is the only thing standing between injured workers and a life of poverty.
Increased poverty equals increased taxpayer-funded public aid. Injured workers with no choice but to rely on food stamps and other forms of public assistance bring no economic benefit to Illinois. For this reason, among others, House Democrats in Illinois believe that it is in everyone’s best interest to prevent the middle class from slipping into poverty for preventable reasons. Insurance companies agreed to this plan in 2011, and they should be held to their word.
According to a recent statement from Speaker Michael Madigan-D Chicago, “We believe workers’ assistance can be reformed without hurting middle-class families. Our reform legislation will ensure savings for employers while protecting the livelihoods of injured workers.”
As of June 3rd, a new reform bill has been passed. The new bill includes safety programs, return to work programs, and updated premium calculations. Additionally, the bill waives the fee for the self-insurer. Although the governor worries that this bill will only hurt businesses, one thing is for certain – the rights of injured workers in Illinois have just been given a serious boost.
If you have been injured on the job, you have rights. Workers’ compensation coverage is intended to protect employees from financial disaster if they suffer a work-related injury. Workers’ comp benefits cover a wide range of associated costs, including medical bills, prescriptions, pain and suffering, and lost wages. If you feel that your workers’ comp claim has been unfairly denied, Malman Law can help. We have been protecting the rights of Illinois employees for years. Our knowledgeable, experienced legal team knows how to navigate the complexities surrounding all facets of employment law. We understand the changing landscape of workers’ compensation in Illinois, and we will fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.