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Will proposed workers’ comp changes help injured Illinois workers or harm them?

Written by Ankin Law Office

Workers’ compensation is designed to help injured employees recover after a trauma on the job. Gov. Bruce Rauner of Illinois is currently proposing a number of changes to state workers’ compensation law. Proponents argue that these changes are intended to make the process of awarding benefits easier for businesses and injured workers. Other people are wary of the intended reforms, saying that they will hurt hard-working families who need support after injuries.

Recent workers’ compensation reforms in Illinois

Workers’ compensation reform has taken place on a large scale during recent years, as every Illinois work injury attorney knows. New laws passed in 2011 were created to help decrease insurance premiums for employers in Illinois. These decreased costs have translated into increased wages for some workers. Other employees have reacted negatively to the reforms, which have brought them no increase in income and a considerable increase in red tape.

Businesses not satisfied with the status quo

According to a recent study by the Department of Consumer and Business Services, the cost of workers’ compensation premiums in Illinois currently ranks seventh highest out of 50 states. Some companies find this situation intolerable. The reform package of 2011 did not do enough to combat rising insurance costs, according to some business owners. Proposed changes to Illinois workers’ compensation law may help regulate this situation and make life easier for small and medium-sized businesses.

Proposed changes during 2015 and beyond

Gov. Rauner suggests a number of workers’ compensation reforms during 2015 and beyond, including all of the following:

  • Apportioning work-related injuries more carefully to rule out non-eligible cases
  • Revising excessively strict safety and health regulations in workplaces
  • Cutting down on compensation for traveling and commuting employees

While some business owners embrace these suggested reforms, some employees and labor advocates argue that they will create an unsafe and unfair environment for workers.

Possible effects on medical coverage

An Illinois work injury attorney is aware that changes in workers’ compensation law also affect medical coverage for injured employees. Gov. Rauner’s proposed reforms include a crackdown on “doctor shopping,” the practice of visiting multiple doctors after a work-related trauma. Worker advocates say this ban would rob disabled employees of their right to a second opinion about an injury.

Navigating the labyrinth of changing legislation can be hard for disabled workers. People who have been hurt on the job should consider talking with an Illinois work injury attorney.