Quinn Backs Workers' Comp Reform

Bureaucracy_iStock_000002879611XSmall1Governor Quinn, a Democrat in name, appears to be the latest allegedly Democratic state official to publicly court workers' comp reform that would be injurious to workers. A story widely reported

in the State Journal-Register of Springfield, indicates that Quinn seemed to be in favor of a provision that would only compensate work injuries that occur at the workplace. While this seems to be logical to the uninitiated, the Illinois system for workers' compensation is much more complex than many are aware and includes injuries that occur while in transit to or from a jobsite (in many cases), in parking lots (but usually only if they are company parking lots), and the like. It's just not anywhere near as clear cut as the general public is led to believe and this seemingly "logical" statement by the Governor is not nearly as common sense as one might believe.

As has been discussed here repeatedly, nearly every attempt at workers' comp "reform" in Illinois is bad for workers. All the talk of fraud and saving money is so much claptrap. There is need to reform or streamline the workers' compensation system but this particular goal is not a genuine issue and is nothing more than a political trade with state Republicans over the income tax increase, as noted in the story.

If you work to earn a living, this affects you. Pay attention, write, call, or email your state legislators, and read the bills being bandied about. The 15 second soundbite version sounds great but it's not what's in these pieces of legislation. Just one example is Senate Bill 2155. Pay special attention to the discussion of the "objective measures" and such. Basically, it makes it impossible for an injured worker to win a case unless a doctor can opine that there is an objective injury of a certain level. What should I tell my clients with strained backs, sprained shoulders, and post-traumatic stress disorders? Does this take the arbitrator out of the equation? Which doctors exactly are qualified to make these determinations?

iStock_000000623974XSmallGranted, that is only one small part of one bill, but it sure could be injurious to Illinois workers. Keep it from passing and keep aware of what is happening.

You can follow bills in the general assembly by simply going to the website for the Illinois General Assembly. You can follow legislation, bills, history of the bills, and even find the current laws currently in place in their entirety.

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