Illinois Governor Pushing for Workers’ Compensation Changes

Chicago, IL (Law Firm Newswire) November 25, 2015 – The state of Illinois is more than four months into its fiscal year with no budget, and hundreds of millions of dollars in funding on hold.

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Gov. Bruce Rauner says he will not talk about spending until changes are made that he says will make the state friendlier to business. What Rauner calls his Turnaround Agenda would include changes to the state's worker's compensation system that would make it harder for workers to collect benefits. The Democratic-controlled state legislature and advocates for workers' rights oppose the changes.

“Injured workers deserve compensation,” said Robert Briskman, a workers' compensation attorney with the Chicago firm of Briskman Briskman & Greenberg. “Any attempt to make it more difficult for workers to collect benefits should be vigorously resisted.”

Rauner's proposed changes to the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act include: establishing a “causation” standard that would require a worker to prove that a workplace incident is at least 50 percent responsible for an injury, when compared to other causes; requiring the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission to evaluate a worker's disability using American Medical Association guidelines; limiting the definition of “traveling employee” such that only workers whose travel was necessary for performing their job would be eligible for benefits; and introducing a 30 percent cut in the medical fee schedule for all services except physical medicine and evaluation and management.

Majority Democrats in the state legislature are pushing for an increase in taxes coupled with a cut in spending, in order to restore key programs and end the longest budget impasse in Illinois' history. Gov. Rauner demands that the legislature adopt his Turnaround Agenda before addressing the budget.

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