Written by Malman Law, reviewed by Steve J. Malman.
The Illinois Compiled Statutes regarding the Workers’ Compensation Act are constantly changing. These changes can affect workers’ compensation benefits through direct changes to the law, but they may be particularly vulnerable to budgets – especially the state budget that has yet to be completed.
The debate over the Illinois Budget has already missed its deadline of May 31, 2015. With proposed spending and budget cuts, there is plenty of speculation as to how this budget will impact workers’ compensation. The state’s House has already given approval for workers’ compensation reform with proposals from both sides. To meet the issues of the capital budget, the state governor has proposed that the state adopt five structural reforms that will make it cheaper to keep the state in operation.
The biggest change that is proposed for workers’ compensation is to the no-fault program, which is used for compensating work-related injuries. The state feels that this old agreement is too relaxed and allows workers to receive benefits for injuries that are not necessarily the fault of the employer – or the burden of the state. While the rules were already changed in 2011 to decrease the payment benefits, insurance premiums have not followed suit.
One of the biggest demands in this reform is causation. If approved, injuries would only be compensated if the major contributing cause of those injuries was work-related. Therefore, to prove you qualify for workers’ compensation, you would need to prove that your injury was directly linked to a job-site cause, as the no-fault consideration would no longer be present.
The majority of states in the U.S. require that injured workers prove their injury was predominantly caused by – or at least directly related to – their employment. While this can vary from state to state, most states do require a minimum of 50 percent causation to qualify for workers’ compensation. That means the injury must have been 50 percent or more directly related to work. Right now, the Illinois standard percentage is less than one percent, meaning that a worker in Illinois only needs to prove the injury or illness is one percent related to their employment to qualify for benefits.
It is still unclear what the outcome of this proposed reform will be. However, Illinois has the highest workers’ compensation coverage rates in the country, making it hard for the state to be competitive with other states when it comes to attracting new business. By changing the law, the state hopes to make Illinois a more attractive option for new business ventures, hopefully leading to an increase in the economy.
Reform talks will take some time and, as of now, the law remains as it has since 2011. If you were injured on the job, regardless of causation percentage, you should still consult a workers’ compensation attorney to assist you with your claim. The team at Malman Law understands the laws spelled out in the Workers’ Compensation Act and we can assist you with receiving a fair settlement. Contact us online or call 888-625-6265 to schedule a free consultation.
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