Publications

Section Newsletter Articles on Workers' Compensation Law

Medical bills: What a dilemma! By Richard D. Hannigan Workers' Compensation Law, June 2009 Resolving issues regarding medical bills and expenses have become a daunting task for the petitioner’s attorney and the respondent. This is true whether the case is contested or uncontested.  
Supreme Court reinstates Commission award of concurrent statutory permanent total disability & scheduled loss of arms By Kevin S. Botha Workers' Compensation Law, June 2009 The case of Beelman Trucking v. IWCC was appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court, and on May 21, 2009, the Illinois Supreme Court issued its unanimous decision authored by Justice Garman reversing the Appellate Court in part and found that the Petitioner was entitled to both 100 percent loss of use of each arm under §8(e)(10) as well as statutory PTD benefits pursuant to §8(e)(18) as a result of 100 percent loss of use of both legs. 
Are we ready for the electronic revolution? By Kelly Johnson Workers' Compensation Law, March 2009 Can a lump sum settlement be paid by direct deposit?
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Is it work-related? By Linda A. Robert Workers' Compensation Law, March 2009 In light of the medical research presented in this article, there should be a decrease in carpal tunnel claims that are accepted as compensable. There is no scientific or medical basis for relating carpal tunnel syndrome to work activities. When there is no medical evidence to support finding a causal connection between carpal tunnel syndrome and work activities, the Commission should not make legal conclusions to the contrary.
The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act provides only one mechanism under which an arbitrator can recall a decision By Emily E. Borg Workers' Compensation Law, March 2009 The holding in Smalley Steel Ring Company v. Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission begs the question as to who maintains jurisdiction over a workers’ compensation claim after a decision has been issued by an Arbitrator, but before the 30 days in which to file an appeal to the Commission has expired.
Interview with Arbitrator Jennifer Teague, January 8, 2009 By Robert C. Nelson Workers' Compensation Law, March 2009 Get to know more about Arbitrator Jennifer Teague.
Interview with Chairman Amy Masters By Richard D. Hannigan Workers' Compensation Law, March 2009 Get to know about Amy Masters, chairperson of the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission.
Undocumented worker is awarded permanent total disability benefits By Kevin S. Botha Workers' Compensation Law, March 2009 In a landmark decision, Economy Packing Co v. Illinois Workers’ Compensation Comm’n, the Appellate Court affirmed an order from the Circuit Court of Cook County which confirmed the decision of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission that awarded the Petitioner permanent total disability benefits pursuant to the Workers’ Compensation Act.
Workers’ Compensation liens and employer’s uninsured motorist coverage By Brad E. Bleakney Workers' Compensation Law, March 2009 The Illinois Supreme Court rarely decides a workers’ compensation lien case, so attorneys should take the time to study these recent 5(b) lien decisions involving uninsured motorist coverage.  
Claimant not entitled to TTD when terminated for cause: The Interstate Scaffolding case By Lindsey S. Strom Workers' Compensation Law, December 2008 The Interstate Scaffolding case is currently the hot topic in the world of Workers’ Compensation.
The Commission does not have the power to award permanent partial disability and permanent total disability when the injuries arise out of the same accident By Joseph Mulvey Workers' Compensation Law, December 2008 In Beelman Trucking v. Workers’ Compensation Comm’n, 886 N.E.2d 479 (5th Dist., 2008), the Fifth District addressed three issues: (1) whether Petitioner was entitled to an award of PPD under section 8(e)(10) and PTD under section 8(e)(18); (2) whether Petitioner was entitled to a voice activated computer system under section 8(a); and (3) whether Petitioner was entitled to reimbursement under section 8(a) for increased car insurance premiums related to the handicap modifications endorsement.
Full-time employee’s overtime to be included in average weekly wage calculation when less than 40 regular hours are worked in a week By Christopher K. Triska Workers' Compensation Law, December 2008 Based on the finding in Airborne Exp., Inc. v. Illinois Workers’ Compensation Com’n, we have all grown accustomed to simply ignoring and excluding overtime wages indicated in wage statements when the overtime is not mandatory or a consistent part of an employee’s work week. Airborne Exp., Inc. v. Illinois Workers’ Compensation Com’n, 865 N.E.2d 979 (1st Dist. 2007).
Illinois Workers Compensation Annual Report 2007 By Brad E. Bleakney Workers' Compensation Law, December 2008 On October 2, 2008, the Commission released its Annual Report of Operations.
Interview with Arbitrator Gerald Jutila October 31, 2008/November 13, 2008 By Richard D. Hannigan Workers' Compensation Law, December 2008 Hannigan: First, I’d like to thank you for allowing me to sit down with you. How are you doing today?
IWCC expands employer’s obligation to include unrelated medical treatment By Mark Cosimini Workers' Compensation Law, December 2008 There are two aspects of every Workers’ Compensation claim which have remained constant for decades.
Making a list and checking it twice By Chris Gullen Workers' Compensation Law, December 2008 Parties to personal injury claims of Medicare beneficiaries who continue ignoring their duties under federal law could get a wake up call next year.
Mandatory overtime and average weekly wage By Brad E. Bleakney Workers' Compensation Law, December 2008 The 18-year battle over including or excluding overtime hours in the calculation of average weekly wage continues to rage.
Appellate court affirms the award of travel expenses to petitioner for travel to and from a treating physician By Kevin S. Botha Workers' Compensation Law, September 2008 In a recent Rule 23 decision, the appellate court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court that confirmed the decision of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission awarding travel expenses to Petitioner for travel to and from the Petitioner’s treating physician.
Borrowing employer to reimburse loaning employer for workers’ compensation benefits paid By Shaun M. Falvey Workers' Compensation Law, September 2008 In Surestaff, Inc. v. Open Kitchens, Inc., (No.1-06-3225), Fifth Division (July 25, 2008), the appellate court held that the jury was properly instructed that a borrowing employer within the meaning of §305/1(a)(4) of the Workers’ Compensation Act (“the Act”) bears the burden of proving the existence of an agreement by a loaning employer to waive its right to reimbursement from the borrowing employer for workers’ compensation benefits paid to a temporary employee.
Editor’s notes By Richard D. Hannigan Workers' Compensation Law, September 2008 Workers' Compensation updates from Editor Rich Hannigan.
Employee seeking to include per diem in average weekly wage has the burden of proving real economic gain By Erica N. Rogina Workers' Compensation Law, September 2008 In United Airlines v. Workers’ Compensation Commission, 382 Ill.App.3d 437, 887 N.E.2d 888 (1st Dist. 2008), Justice Hoffman, writing for a unanimous court, vacated the Commission’s calculation of the petitioner’s average weekly wage, finding that the per diem paid to the petitioner is not to be automatically included in the average weekly wage, but rather, as a workers’ compensation claimant, the petitioner must meet her burden of proof on this issue by establishing that she actually realized an economic gain.
Section 12 Medical Examination Reports: Admissible as admission against interest? By William R. Gallagher Workers' Compensation Law, September 2008 For those of us who represent employees in workers’ compensation cases, it has been a common practice to have the employer or workers’ compensation insurer obtain a Section 12 examination by a physician of their choosing, the primary purpose of which is to obtain an expert medical opinion as to what might be one or more disputed issues, namely, is the employee still temporarily totally disabled; is there a medical causal relationship between the accident or repetitive trauma and the condition in question; is additional medical care/treatment necessary, etc.
When should an application for dedimus postestatem be granted? By John W. Powers Workers' Compensation Law, September 2008 According to Rules Governing Practice Before the Workers Compensation Commission, evidence depositions of any witness may be taken before hearing only upon stipulation of the parties or upon a dedimus potestatem order. 50 Ill. Adm. Code 7030.60(a) (2008).
Attorney fees for the discharged attorney: Does it pay to be the second attorney? By Richard D. Hannigan Workers' Compensation Law, June 2008 Ted Collison, a prominent Petitioner’s attorney from Northbrook, was kind enough to forward an appellate court decision regarding attorney fees.
The Commission giveth and the Appellate Court taketh away By Kevin S. Botha Workers' Compensation Law, June 2008 In Beelman Trucking v. IWCC (2008 WL 901460), the appellate court reversed the Commission’s award of both §8(e)(10) and statutory PTD under §8(e)(18), holding that the Commission does not have the power to award benefits for specific losses of permanent partial disability as well as permanent total disability resulting from the same accident.
Extra scrutiny revisited By Richard D. Hannigan Workers' Compensation Law, June 2008 The S&H Floor Covering Inc. v. Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission decision affirmed that it may be time to give credence to Cook v. Industrial Commission and provide for “an extra degree of scrutiny” when determining whether there is sufficient support for the Commission’s decision especially when the Commission makes credibility determinations regardless of the arbitrator’s findings.”
If you do not ask the respondent to pay for the medical provider’s expenses does the medical provider count as a choice? By Richard D. Hannigan Workers' Compensation Law, June 2008 In Comfort Masters v. The Workers’ Compensation Commission et al. (Onasis Youanis) No. 1—07—1951WC, filed May 20, 2008 by the Appellate Court of Illinois, First District, Workers’ Compensation Commission Division, the five justices unanimously answered in the negative.
Sanctions at the Circuit Court Level By Richard D. Hannigan Workers' Compensation Law, June 2008 Rarely will the courts allow sanctions pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 137.
Tort Immunity Act is no protection against claim of retaliatory discharge for pursuing workers’ compensation claim By Karen D. Fox Labor and Employment Law, June 2008 On April 17, 2008, in Smith v. Waukegan Park District, 2008 WL 1746664, the Illinois Supreme Court held that the Tort Immunity Act did not protect a public entity against a claim by an employee of retaliatory discharge for pursuing his workers’ compensation benefits.
Workers’ compensation benefits, FMLA, and retaliatory discharge By Kevin LeFevour Workers' Compensation Law, June 2008 The recent Seventh Circuit decision of Dotson v. BRP US Inc., 520 F.3d 703; 2008 U.S.App.LEXIS 5897 (7th Cir., 2008) may not be a statement of new law; however, it does provide detailed guidance for employee discharge cases involving workers’ compensation claims under Illinois law and the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”).