Workers’ Comp Reform Could Impact Injured Workers
Potential changes to workers’ compensation laws could negatively impact employees. A change in Illinois is facing a vote in the state Senate and House. Other states have already enacted severe cuts that leave injured workers with large medical bills. A Chicago work injury lawyer can answer questions after an injury at work.
Current Worker’s Comp Law
The Illinois workers’ compensation law allows qualified workers to receive 2/3 of their average weekly wage. Temporary Total Disability checks should arrive within two weeks. Benefits do not begin until the injured worker has missed three days of work because of an injury. Permanently injured workers can claim benefits until age 67.
Employers are typically required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, which covers an estimated 91% of Illinois workers. The insurance company providing the coverage will accept or deny the claim. An experienced Chicago work injury lawyer will be familiar with the tactics insurance companies use.
Proposed Changes to the Law
The bill includes benefit cuts and enhanced fraud protection. The cuts mean that:
- Medical providers will be paid less
- Certain procedures will be limited
- Physical therapy will be limited
- Some types of drugs may not be prescribed
It is likely that additional cuts will be proposed as the bill moves through the state legislatures. The changes to workers’ compensation are part of a package containing several other bills.
What Do the Cuts Mean for Workers?
Some states have already enacted cuts. Benefits have been cut so much that sometimes injured workers cannot receive care. When workers are injured and can no longer perform their regular duties, they will cease to be paid. If the insurance companies deny claims, many such workers will face rising medical costs.
Injured workers in these states end up with medical bills that cannot be paid. Regular group health or general disability does not cover workers’ compensation liability. The families of these workers may face financial ruin because of a denied claim.
If injured workers end up on Social Security Disability Insurance, employers will no longer be paying the cost of workplace injuries. The burden will shift instead to taxpayers, which is not good for the taxpayers in Illinois.
Changes to the law will likely benefit the insurance companies and employers. Injured workers deserve quality care. Anyone who has a claim rejected should consider consulting a Chicago work injury lawyer.