The Illinois General Assembly decided to change the workers' compensation system this year. This legislation was has been in the works for several years and has finally passed. The old version of the Illinois Worker's Compensation Act was riddled with loop holes and inefficiencies. The new law affects injuries that occur as of September 1, 2011 or later. If you got hurt before September 1, 2011, the old law still applies.
As with most changes to the law, no one knows exactly what is going to happen with the application of the new law. Yet several thing is nearly certain, and they are highlighted below:
- · If you are undergoing a wage loss from a job change, the value of your case willdefinitely drop as you are only eligible for benefits up to age 67 or for five years, whichever is longer.
- · Doctors will certainly receive less compensation, but this change was necessary as they often re-cooped more than their fair share under the old system.
- · The old law gave an injured worker the opportunity to be treated by a doctor of their choosing, and also to get a second opinion. Under the new law, the injured worker must see a company doctor or a preferred provider from the company's list of doctors.
- · Under the new law, carpal tunnel cases are now limited to a maximum of 28.5 weeks of compensation for permanency (28.5 x 60% of your average weekly wage). Under the old law, carpal tunnel cases were typically worth 41 week of permanency.
As far as the injured worker themselves, nothing really changes for you. If you get hurt, you should report it to your employer. If you go to the doctor, you need to tell them how the injury happened. And during the claim, if you are honest things should work out accordingly.
And remember, don't let an insurance company adjuster tell you that the system has changed and so have your rights. Your rights have not changed. Steven J. Morton & Associates is ready to navigate through the changing landscape of Illinois Worker's Compensation law.