Illinois Injured Worker's Rights in Jeopardy

Illinois Injured Worker's Rights in Jeopardy

The Illinois legislators are working on a Worker's
Compensation Bill that may severely limit worker's rights to collect worker's
compensation benefits.  They have until
Tuesday, May 31st to pass a Bill. 

A number of
potential Bills have been discussed, from eliminating the "Commission" where
the comp cases are tried and sending them to the Circuit Court, which may
actually increase the monies collected by injured parties, to severely limiting
the ability for worker's to collect monies due to AMA standards and the
inability to select an independent doctor to evaluate the injury.

As part of a
package to cut the
Illinois state deficit, Worker's Compensation has
become the target to presumably lower costs for businesses that some say are
costing too much and that companies are leaving
Illinois to surrounding states that have a lower
comp rate.

The reform of
Worker's Compensation has become the latest political "football" in our
Illinois government, which has been mismanaged by
both the democrats and the republicans, each attempting to place blame on one
another for their inability to cut government costs.

When I met up with
Governor Quinn a few weeks ago he said, "No one is going to get scalped, but
everyone is going to get a haircut", I expected some minor changes in the new
Bill, yet the current proposals are anything, but that!  It appears that the
Illinois injured workers may lose their right to a
doctor of choice and have limits on their injuries.  The doctors, lawyers, injured workers and
judges (commissioners) at the Commission would all stand to lose.

The new standard
system that was introduced could potentially reduce injured worker's benefits
by 30-50%, which may not even cover the cost of care for their injury.  Carpel tunnel recovery could also be severely
limited.  These changes represent a major
disruption in potential benefits for those injured parties that need care.

Today, the Illinois
House voted on a Bill that would eliminate the "Commission" by sending all
cases to the Circuit Court; it passed. 
The new Bill is now in the Senate, where it is having a difficult time
getting passed.  Each group from the
medical community, insurance companies, businesses, lawyers and most of all,
the injured worker is going to be affected by the new Bill.

I will keep you
posted as to the outcome and hope that Illinois worker's rights are protected,
for they are the only people that appear not to have a "voice" in this ongoing
discussion that stand to lose the most.

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