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Synopsis: New IL WC Ruling in Allen v. Hot Spot Affirms Idiopathic Defense to Fall Downs (and others??).
Editor’s comment: The IL WC Appellate Ruling in McAlister caused much commotion when a worker injured himself merely standing up at work. Lots of folks worried this ruling indicated similar defenses were at an end with our current Commission and reviewing courts.
Not so fast! Now the IL WC Bar is talking about Allen v. Hot Spot, 30 ILWCLB 210 (Ill. W.C. Comm. 2022).
This claim involved a worker who was opening a gambling room as part of her work. The claimant
Continue Reading 2-20-2023; New IL WC Ruling in Allen v. Hot Spot Affirms Idiopathic Defense to Fall Downs (and others); "Firefighter" with Kidney Disease Related It to His Job Title; Rich Hannigan RIP

Synopsis: The first Covid-19 ruling has been dispatched by the IL WC Commission, affirming the Arbitrator’s finding of work-related exposure.  Editor’s Comment: Nearly three years into the Covid-19 pandemic, the IWCC has considered and now published the first litigated IL OccDisease Covid-19 claim. In Lucero v. Focal Point, LLC, 20WC018985, 22IWCC0231, the Commission affirmed the Arbitrator’s finding of occupational workplace exposure, ruling Petitioner’s Covid-19 infection/illness arose out of employment. We note the ruling was correctly classified as an Occupational Disease Act case vs. a Workers’ Compensation Act matter; a relatively minor, but proper distinction. Petitioner worked as a machine operator for an
Continue Reading 1-31-2023; First Covid-19 Ruling from IL WC Comm; New IL Laws (with one old one) and more

Synopsis: Will City of Chicago WC Claims Start to Make Sense Under this Mayoral Administration?Editor’s comment: For decades, City of Chicago WC claims were mis-managed by a former Alderman who is now facing federal criminal charges. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges and trial is set for the fall.In my opinion, this Alderman used the WC system along with the police/fire disability program to recruit and help political cronies—he is not facing any charges for those actions. The saddest and most obvious example of this mis=management technique was a police cadet who was placed on disability while in
Continue Reading 1-13-2023; Will City of Chicago WC Claims Start to Make Sense Under this Mayoral Administration?; PFLAW Coming to the IL Workplace; New IRS Mileage Rates and more

Synopsis: UPDATE ON McAllister v. IWCC–The IL Supreme Court ruling and interpretation in a “stand-up” injury claim.Editor’s comment: By way of review, in McAllister, Claimant felt pain standing up at work. The IL WC Appellate Court was divided on causation. The majority favored the analysis contained in Caterpillar Tractor Co. v. Industrial Comm’n, 129 Ill. 2d 52 (1989). This was an injury when Claimant stepped off a street curb and fell going to his car after work. Two concurring IL WC Appellate Court justices, however, preferred the analysis contained in Adcock v. Illinois Workers’ Compensation Comm’n, in which Claimant asserted
Continue Reading 12-12-2022; Update on IL WC Fall Claims As Part of the Coming Winter Season; Happy Holidays to all!!!!

Synopsis: Illinois WC Premiums Remain in the Middle of the Pack.Editor’s comment: The “every-other-year” Oregon WC Insurance Premium Rankings are out. It is difficult to find a metric for WC costs around our great country but Oregon has what I, and most WC observers feel is the most scientifically significant ranking for WC insurance premiums.New Jersey maintained its spot as the most expensive state in the U.S. for purchasing workers’ compensation coverage in the ranking by the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services.While the top half of the list remains populated by California, New York and Hawaii, Wyoming, of
Continue Reading 11-29-2022; Oregon WC Premium Study is Published and IL WC is Actually Close to the Middle; Another “Never-Ending” Story of an IL WC/OD claim and more

Synopsis: What Happened in Illinois During the Election Last Week. Editor’s comment: As I have advised our readers, Illinois is a “one-party” State and will remain same for at least a generation to come. In my view, Illinois is no longer a “democracy” because so many voters have an overridingly strong incentive to maintain their government benefits, in particular the fake and unfundable government pensions that are akin to winning the lottery. It is also truly odd for our Governor to admit he spent about $350 million of his own money to be Governor and do very little, almost nothing, in
Continue Reading 11-18-2022; What Happened During the Election Last Week; Can Walking Now Be An "Accident" in This Nutty State?

Synopsis: Unless You Like Wildly Higher Taxes and Overpaid IL Government Workers, Please, PLEASE Vote Against Amendment 1, the so-called “Workers’ Rights Amendment.” Editor’s comment: I assure you the State of Illinois is wildly in debt, to the tune of billions and billions of dollars. Our State government got a one-year reprieve from its financial misery because the Democrats in Washington borrowed trillions of dollars and spread it out among the States in a fashion that allows those States, like Illinois, to falsely claim they had a good financial year. Right now, I feel confident Illinoisans are paying the highest tax load
Continue Reading 10-30-2022; Please, Please Vote Against Amendment 1, the so-called "Workers Rights Amendment"; IL State Chamber WC Seminar This Wednesday–Still Time to Register and much more

Synopsis: Big Mac Gets Whacked for IL WC Penalties/Fees. Your Editor is not sure why this set of facts needed an appeal to the IL Appellate Court and a reported ruling.
Editor’s comment: The Illinois Appellate Court, WC Division upheld an award of full benefits, including Claimant’s attorney fees and other penalties for a long-time McDonald’s employee for an unreasonable contest to her IL WC claim. We are fairly sure this was a franchise store and not a company-owned location.
In my view and as a veteran defense attorney, this is a classic example of frustrating IL WC overtreatment by
Continue Reading 8-8-2022; Big Mac Gets Whacked with Penalties/Fees; IRS Increases Mileage that Changes IL WC IME’s and more

Synopsis: The “buried” IL WC IME report… what happens at trial?

Editor’s comment: While Respondents may technically keep an IME report from the trial record on hearsay grounds, doing so often places the defense posture on tenuous ground.

In Kelly Stork v. Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital, 19 WC 27240, 21 IWCC 0032 (2021) Petitioner worked for Respondent as an Obstetrics Technician, assisting doctors during child birth. At the time of accident, Petitioner was holding a woman’s leg during childbirth and alleged she injured her back and hip.

Respondent obtained two IME’s. However, there was a strong suspicion these were less than
Continue Reading 5-15-2022; The "Buried" IME Report–What happens at hearing in IL WC?; UR given proper respect by IL WC Commission; Please don’t hit me.. it may not be covered by IL WC Insurance and more

Synopsis: What Am I Missing in IL WC School Bus Driver Claim?Editor’s comment: Every hand is a winner and some hands are losers. When do you stop appealing a ruling to keep losing before every hearing/appeal officer?An IL school bus driver had work that involved picking up children/students in the morning and driving them to school and then returning and picking up students from school in the afternoon and driving them home.The driver began driving a bus with a manual door opener that required the use of a door handle to open/close the bus door at each and every stop.
Continue Reading 4-28-2022; What Am I Missing in IL WC School Bus Driver Claim? and more

Synopsis: Case Law Update on IL WC Court rulings and interpretation. Thoughts and comments from John P. Campbell and Shawn R. Biery of Keefe, Campbell, Biery & Assoc.
Editor’s comment: By way of review, in McAllister v. IWCC, the IL Appellate Court, WC Division was divided regarding the extent to which injuries caused by everyday activities were compensable under the IL WC Act. The majority favored the analysis contained in Caterpillar Tractor Co. v. Industrial Comm’n, 129 Ill. 2d 52 (1989). This was an injury when Claimant stepped of a street curb going to his car and popped an ankle.
Continue Reading 3-6-2022; IL WC Case Law Update from John P. Campbell and Shawn R. Biery and more

Synopsis: ITLA Wins Again, As Some IL Construction GL Claims Not Blocked by Exclusive Remedy Protection in IL WC Act.Editor’s comment: As I have advised my readers, Illinois is a one-party State. In a one-party State, the controlling side almost always gets what they want. To me, this ruling is a clear win for one of the largest political donation machines in our state—ITLA or the IL Trial Lawyers Ass’n. In Munoz v. Bulley & Andrews, Claimant was injured at work. It appears there are two different corporations involved—one is Bulley & Andrews. Bulley & Andrews, LLC is one of
Continue Reading 1-24-2022; Bulley & Andrews Stuck with WC and GL Liability on Same Event; Will WC Surveillance Ops Start to Use Remote Cameras and Drones and more

Synopsis: IL Lawyer Sues Himself and Loses! Editor’s comment: Well, there is an unusual claim for all risk managers and claims handlers to consider. We saw an unusual case from Illinois in which Marvin Brustin, an 81-year-old attorney and the president of Brustin & Lundblad, Ltd. He is one of the top Plaintiff personal injury lawyers in the U.S. He was licensed to practice law while Jack Kennedy was president way back in November 1961! A little over 10 years back, in October 2011, Attorney Brustin sustained shoulder injuries at a bus stop. Falls at bus stops would usually happen on the
Continue Reading 1-19-2022; IL Lawyer Sues Self and Loses!; Joe D'Amato on IWCC Changes; God Bless Martin Luther King, Jr. and more

Synopsis: Toward a Better Understanding of Workers’ Compensation, As We Enter a New Year. Editor’s comment: I have been doing this stuff—workers comp—for several decades. Here are some thoughts about my life’s work and where the system is at from a veteran WC defense lawyer. Please note very few business schools teach WC so what most of us learn, we learn by the seats of our pants—by that I mean we rely on training in other fields and our best judgment. To all adjusters and risk managers and attorneys on both sides out there in “Blog-Land,” I am happy to answer
Continue Reading 12-28-2021; Toward a Better Understanding of Workers’ Compensation; Illinois' Awful BIPA Law Rears Its Business-Busting Head Again; HAPPY NEW YEAR and more

Synopsis: U.S. Employers with over 100 Employees Need to Come into Compliance To Block Covid-19.
Editor’s comment: In short, get them all vaccinated or test and test every week! Don’t get cited by OSHA, you may regret it.
Five days ago, on December 17, 2021, a federal Court of Appeals dissolved the stay of OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) previously ordered. Therefore, OSHA’s standard mandating workplace vaccination and testing on all private employers with 100 or more employees is back on.
On December 18, 2021, the day after the federal decision was released, OSHA announced that it will not issue
Continue Reading 12-22-2021; Get Vaccinated or Test Weekly Per OSHA for Employers with 100+ Workers; Important Settlement Ruling by IL Supreme Court; Dr. George Holmes Retires; IL Minimum Wage Goes Up and more

Synopsis: The “Two Doctor” Rule in IL WC and Related Concerns about Controlling Medical Care in this Liberal StateEditor’s comment: A fundamental benefit of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act is the employer’s liability for costs associated with reasonable and necessary related medical care pursuant to the effects of or the aggravating effects of accidental injury or illness. The section of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act which discusses the employer’s liability to pay for such medical services selected by the employee is discussed in Section 8(a) of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act which limits the employer’s liability to the following:(1) all
Continue Reading 12-13-2021; "Two Doctor" Rule in IL WC and Other Thoughts; WC/OD Asthma Claim Denied by IL Appellate Court; We mourn the passing of Ellis Sostrin and more