Synopsis: AS WE HEAD TO 2024—IL WC BENEFIT RATES STILL SPIRAL UP WITH THE HUMIDITY??—SHAWN BIERY’S UPDATED IL WC RATE SHEETS AVAILABLE FOR ACCURATE RATES AND RESERVING!!!
Editor’s comment: The IWCC hasn’t posted a new TTD rate going into 2024 but other WC rates stayed the same.
Our PPD max doesn’t update until 2024 regardless, so find attached the new SRB rate chart.
FYI, Illinois WC rates have updated again so please be aware of the New IL WC Rates or your claims handling will suffer and penalties may ensue. Please also note that the IL State Min Wage is now $13 per hour and will rise another dollar in 127 days on New Year’s Day, 2024. With the already mandated increases over the next few years wages are sure to go up to $15/hr in January 2025, we will see the IL WC rates again increase for sure. You may also note the City of Chicago’s minimum wage is already $15 per hour—this is important in IL WC wage differential claims.
If you look online at https://secure.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0452150045#c16, you may note our IL WC rates are double or more than our sister States and because of the statutory increases built into the IL WC Act, this anti-business disparity will only increase. It clearly appears our IL WC Rates are going up much faster than inflation.
As we have mentioned in the past, since the 1980’s, the IL WC Act provides a formula which effectively insures no matter how poor the IL economy is doing, WC rates continue to climb.
As we indicate above, rising minimum wages will strip value from Illinois’ expensive wage loss differential claims. We feel reserves and settlements need to reflect the legislative boost to anyone who has any job. If you aren’t sure how this works, send a reply to Shawn or Gene Keefe.
We caution our readers to pay attention to the fact the IL WC statutory maximum PPD rate is $998.02. However, this rate is only going to be valid through June 30, 2023 and the new max PPD will be published in January 2021. When it will be published in January 2024, this rate will change retroactively from July 1, 2023 forward. At that time, if you don’t make the change, your reserves will be incorrect–if this isn’t clear, send a reply.
The current TTD weekly maximum has risen to $1,861.18. An IL worker has to make over $2,791.77 per week or $145,172.04 per year to hit the new IL WC maximum TTD rate.
For WC Death Benefits: The new IL WC minimum has sped past the $750k floor for surviving widows/widowers. That amount is now 25 years of compensation or $672.28 per week x 52 weeks in a year x 25 years or $873,964.00! The new maximum IL WC death benefit is now over $2 million at the max $1,861.18 times 52 weeks times 25 years or a lofty $2,419,534 plus burial benefits of $8K. IL WC death benefits also come with annual COLA increases which we feel can potentially make Illinois the highest in the U.S. for WC death claims—again if you aren’t sure about this issue, send a reply to Shawn or Gene.
The best way to make sense of all of this is to get Shawn Biery’s colorful, updated and easy-to-understand IL WC Rate Sheet. If you want just one or a dozen or more, simply send a reply to Marissa at firstname.lastname@example.org AND you can also send any questions to Shawn at email@example.com They will get a copy routed to you once we get laminated copies back from the printer—hopefully before they raise the rates again! Please confirm your MAILING ADDRESS to Marissa if you would like laminated copies sent to your home or office!
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Synopsis: Crossing Guard Gets IL WC Benefits for Injuries From Fall in Public Parking Lot Before Getting to Work Because Police Patrol It?
Editor’s comment: The Illinois Appellate Court, WC Division reversed the Circuit Court and reinstated a decision of the IL Workers’ Compensation Commission finding a crossing guard was entitled to benefits for her injuries from a fall as she exited her car to go to work.
Claimant MacDonnell-Dayhoff worked as a crossing guard for the Village of Western Springs Police Department. MacDonnell-Dayhoff arrived for work at around 7:30 a.m. and parked in an angled space directly across from the Village Hall. She testified that she frequently parked in one of the commuter spaces across from the hall because they were close to where she worked as a crossing guard, even though there are two employee-designated lots behind the hall not for use by the general public.
The space in which MacDonnell-Dayhoff parked was for commuter train passengers and are available for use by the general public. Claimant gave the Village her license plate number so that the police patrolling the commuter parking lot would not issue a citation.
MacDonnell-Dayhoff admitted she could park anywhere she wanted and that no one from the Village told her where to park. There also appears to be no dispute she was not on the clock and was not performing any tasks of employment as a crossing guard.
As she was stepping out of her vehicle, MacDonnell-Dayhoff slipped on ice and fell, injuring her wrist.
An IL WC arbitrator found MacDonnell-Dayhoff had not sustained an injury from an accident that arose out of and in the course of her employment, since she parked on a public street in a space open to the general public and not designated solely for Village employees, and she fell at a point well away from her crossing guard post.
The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission panel reversed, finding MacDonnell-Dayhoff’s accident compensable, since she fell in a parking space patrolled by her employer. FYI, I feel we can safely assume Village police patrol all Village parking lots.
The Circuit Court overturned the IWCC’s decision, finding the accident did not arise out of and in the course of MacDonnell-Dayhoff’s employment.
The Illinois Appellate Court explained for an injury to “arise out of” the employment, its origin must be in some risk connected with, or incidental to, the employment. “In the course of the employment” refers to the time, place and circumstances under which the worker is injured, the court ruled. Generally, the court said, when an employee slips and falls while walking to work at a point off the employer’s premises, the resulting injuries do not arise out of and in the course of her employment and are not compensable. This is known as the “general premises rule.”
There is an exception to the rule when the employee is injured in a parking lot provided by and under the control of the employer, and the injury is caused by some hazardous condition in the lot. Another exception applies when the employee is injured at a place where she was required to be in the performance of her duties and is exposed to a risk common to the general public to a greater degree than others.
The Appellate Court declined to find that a municipal employer’s premises for purposes of determining the compensability of an injury incurred while traveling to work would include all streets and sidewalks throughout the municipality.
“We believe that a municipal employer’s ‘premises’ in the context of a workers’ compensation claim includes only a place where the injured employee reasonably might be in the performance of his or her duties and any place incident thereto, including employer-provided parking areas,” the court said. “It does not include all property owned by the municipality regardless of its connection to the performance of an injured employee’s duties.”
Here, the Appellate Court said, the IWCC’s conclusion that MacDonnell-Dayhoff fell in an employer-provided parking space was not against the manifest weight of the evidence.
From my perspective and in my respectful opinion, this decision is challenging to understand. Claimant fell in a public parking lot from a risk every parker in that lot would face every day. The only justification that I can see is the Western Springs Police Department didn’t ticket her for parking in the commuter lot that clearly was open to the public. I consider that a very tenuous and confusing basis for compensability, particularly in light of the many “rules” the IL Appellate Court cites that would support denial but then this ruling appears to ignore the cited rules completely.
To read the court’s decision in Western Springs Police Department v. IWCC, No. 1-21-1574WC, 01/13/2023, published, click here.