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Latest from KCBA Blog

Synopsis: The Six Ways to Close an Illinois (and many State and Federal) Workers’ Compensation Claims.   Editor’s comment: We keep having clients ask so we wanted to provide our expert legal guidance on this important topic for all sides of the matrix. When the defense team at KCB&A speak at local, regional and national conferences, we are routinely advised the cool thing about IL WC is a claims handler or risk manager can actually “close” files if you do things correctly. In our neighboring states, many systems don’t allow for “complete” closure and little annoying things can happen to…
Synopsis: AUGUST IN IL—BENEFIT RATES RISE WITH THE HUMIDITY??—UPDATED RATE SHEETS AVAILABLE SOON FOR ILLINOIS WC RATE INCREASE!!!    Editor’s comment: Illinois WC Rates Have Updated Again So Please Be Aware Of The New Rates or Your Claims Handling Will Suffer and Penalties May Ensue.   Email Marissa at mpatel@keefe-law.com to Get a Free and Complimentary Email or Hard Copy of Shawn R. Biery’s Updated IL WC Rate-Sheet! You can also send any questions to Shawn at sbiery@keefe-law.com   We note that the recent legislation to increase the statewide minimum wage eventually to $15/hr will lead to the continued rate…
Synopsis: Take A Leap: Is Jumping Off a Truck Dock Compensable in Illinois WC or Your State? An in-depth look at the Benson case by Nathan Bernard, J.D. Editor’s comment: First, KCBA and defense attorney Nathan S. Bernard, handled this claim at all levels of litigation from the arbitration hearing to a panel of three commissioners at the IWCC then before a circuit court judge and finally briefs and oral arguments before the five esteemed justices at the Illinois Appellate Court. At all levels, it was unanimously held the claim was denied with zero workers’ compensation benefits awarded. Second, credit…
Synopsis: When Is a Loss Covered by the IL WC Act?   Editor’s comment: The first thing an attorney, risk manager or adjuster must do when a new claim has been made is to evaluate whether the loss is covered by Illinois workers’ compensation law versus the various federal acts, general liability, or some other common law or other statutory remedy. If so, the next inquiry is whether Illinois workers’ compensation law applies versus the law of some other state or the federal system. Finally, if the case is properly an Illinois workers’ compensation claim, the adjuster must determine whether…
Synopsis: Illinois WC Death Claim Bungled and Employer Penalized.   Editor’s comment: Please consider asking the defense team at KCB&A or me about any IL/IN/WI/IA or MI death claim/concern you might have. I have handled dozens of such significant claims and I know the ropes backward and forward. Getting a newbie defense attorney to handle these multimillion dollars risks who doesn’t know the ropes can cost thousands of unneeded claims dollars. If you aren’t sure, my law partner Shawn Biery’s IL WC Rate Chart outlines most IL WC Death claims are worth $700K+ to a widow/widower and can be over…
Synopsis: Understanding the HIPAA Battlefield in Work Comp. Editor’s comment: I read a great blog from a Chicago-area Claimant attorney on what he asserts are the rights and rules relating to HIPAA in WC claims. To paraphrase, he indicates under workers’ compensation law, your employer or their insurance company has a “right” to medical records related to your injury. As a result, it’s very common after a worker gets hurt for them to get a letter that asks the worker to sign [and return] a “medical release form” that authorizes them to have access to your medical records. The blogger…
Synopsis: Holy Smokes—IL Appellate Court Rules FELA Damages for Lost Wages Are Now Taxable Income!!! Will WC Benefits/Settlements Follow?   Editor’s comment: In Munoz v. Norfolk Southern Railway Co, No. 1-17-1009, issued June 28, 2019, the Appellate Court of Illinois, First District considered a claim by a railroad freight conductor claiming negligence for injuries during his work at a RR conductor. A jury awarded him $821,000, including $310,000 for past and future lost wages. After the verdict, Norfolk moved for a setoff, claiming Munoz owed taxes on the lost wages under the Railroad Retirement Tax Act (RRTA) (I.R.C. § 3201…
Synopsis: Good News and Bad News for the IL Work Comp Community.   Editor’s comment: Both the State of Illinois and the City of Chicago are in the news and it is certain to be notable for all of my readers. I hate to start with the bad news but we are all grown ups and have to deal with all of it.   Starting in a week on July 1, 2019, our IL gas tax will double, driving the cost of a tank of gas up 19 cents a gallon. This money is supposedly ear-marked for “capital improvements” of…
Synopsis: The Road Map for Illinois Staffing Companies to Avoid GL Suits Against Your Accounts.   Editor’s comment: If you are a staffing risk manager and want happy accounts that don’t get sued in Circuit Court by your staffers, here is how to do it. This claim is a must-read for all staffing companies and their accounts.   Here is the link: http://illinoiscourts.gov/Opinions/AppellateCourt/2019/2ndDistrict/2180537.pdf   The IL Rule on WC Liability for Injuries to Staffing Companies   The legal rules in IL WC for staffing employers and your accounts are simple to understand—you both owe WC benefits. The party managing the…
Synopsis: Whole Lot ‘O Shaking Going On In Springfield, IL—Gene Keefe’s Spin from a WC and “Better Government” Perspective. Editor’s comment: Some of this analysis is from our IL State Chamber and I am giving the full attribution for their hard work watching out for YOU!!!. If you are in business or a small gov’t in this State or want to know what is happening in business and small gov’t in this State, please join the State Chamber—for more information, go to www.ilchamber.org. I salute Chamber President Todd Maisch and legislative guru Jay Shattuck of the IL Chamber for…
Synopsis: OK, IL WC Bar—Now What Do We Do With SB 1596?? Are “Latent Injuries” Truly In The Mix? Editor’s comment: As I reported a week ago, ITLA got its wish and obtained the enactment of SB 1596 that is nutty, confusing and perplexing legislation which, for the first time, allows IL workers to sue their employers in Circuit Court for negligently causing whatever the heck “latent injuries” might be. As you will read, I don’t agree the term “latent injuries” should actually be used but seek my readers and industry comment about that irritating and somewhat “crazy-making” term. The…
Synopsis: Illinois’ Legal System Continues to Get More Judicial “Hell-Hole-y.” Editor’s comment: The American Tort Reform Association puts out a Rotten Tomatoes-type ranking of U.S. litigation systems they call Judicial “Hell-Holes.” Their goal is to let you, me and your friends know what things in our courts start to smell of limburger cheese. In my view, what just happened to our State stinks to high heaven. Now we have to wait and see what our wacky Illinois courts do with this new and shocking concept. Please also remember the terms in this legislation like “latent injury” and “statutes of repose”…
Synopsis: What to Do When the Unforeseen Happens—Incident Investigation.   Editor’s comment: Please note I am very reluctant to use the word “accident.” All my friends and scholars in the National and Local Safety Councils have convinced me to use the term “incident” to avoid anyone implying an “accident” means compensability. The word “incident” works much better—Please consider changing your “accident investigation” forms to reflect this concept.   Either way, when a catastrophic incident occurs, prompt and efficient collection of fresh evidence is critical to minimizing your liability exposure. If you don’t get evidence in 24 hours, it will rapidly…
Synopsis: Don’t Be Fooled When Settling Medical Exposure in Illinois Workers’ Comp.   Editor’s comment: There are a number of traps and pitfalls in handling/managing IL WC claims. I consider the worst to be   Amputations; Death claims Medical settlements.   If you have questions or concerns about amputation or death claims in IL WC, send me a reply and I can help, I promise. I don’t charge for routine advice.   On medical settlements, I recently had several plaintiff/petitioner lawyers send settlement contracts or request settlement contracts that settled PPD but sought this language to settle 8a or medical rights: “Respondent…
Synopsis:IL WC Commission WC Fraud Busters Suffer Budget Cuts?? Really—Is That Where Gov’t Budget Cutting Should Start?   Editor’s comment: Noting our State Government is awash in a tsunami of red ink, we were amazed and not surprised to receive news the IWCC is cutting its WC Fraud Busters budget yet again. This might be due to an across-the-board State budget cutting push to decrease all spending by 4%.   We note the IWCC isn’t appointing all the Arbitrators they could otherwise have but there is no true sense of “budget-cutting” anywhere in our State gov’t that I can tell or…
Synopsis: TTE or Temporary Transitional Employment May Be Coming to an IL WC Claim Near You!   Editor’s comment: A wonderful reader sent me a recent IL WC Commission decision regarding TTE or Temporary Transitional Employment for injured IL workers. This is a concept used and actually required in many State’s WC systems.   The issue concerns Temporary Transitional Employment (TTE) where the employer doesn’t have focused light duty work but sends Petitioner to a non-profit, charity or other similar facility that can accommodate restrictions.   I am sure getting injured employees back to work can make a huge difference in lowering the cost of…