Ridge & Downes - Law Firm

  • Injuries Resulting From Slip and Falls: Relief Under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act and Common Law Negligence

    slip on ice



    As another Illinois winter is underway, it’s time to address your rights in the event you are injured from a slip and fall on ice and snow.

    Workers’ Compensation Act

    It is well established in Illinois that parking lots that are owned, controlled or designated by the employer for use by its employees are considered to be an integral part of the employer’s premises.  Injuries that occur in parking lots owned, controlled or designated by the employer for use by its employees have satisfied the first of two requirements determining compensability.  The injury must occur within a reasonable time before or after the actual employment duties.  The extension of the employment relationship for entry upon and departure from the workplace, and the resultant liability of the employer, are predicated upon the obvious fact that the term “employment” means more than time spent at one’s workstation.

    After having determined ownership and control by the employer to park there, an employee must then prove that some condition of the parking lot increased the risk of accident and caused the injury to occur.  Usually, this involves ice, snow or some ‘defect’ in the parking lot such as a pothole or crack in the pavement, which causes injury to the employee.

    Common Law Negligence

    When a slip and fall occurs on land not owned by your employer, your avenue of relief would be under common law negligence.  Generally, in order for a property owner or the occupier of land to be held liable for a slip and fall on snow and ice, the owner must be shown to have in some way either; (a) caused an unnatural accumulation of ice and snow, or (b) to have aggravated a natural condition. 

    This means that a property owner has no duty to remove any natural accumulations of ice and snow from their property.  Unfortunately, if you are injured on ice and snow that is due from such a natural accumulation, the Illinois courts have indicated that a property owner is not liable for any injuries you might sustain.

    The bottom line is BE CAREFUL!  In most cases Illinois courts will not punish property owners for failing to remove snow but they may hold a property owner liable for negligently removing ice and snow.  If you do have an accident, look for an unnatural snow mound and take pictures of the area immediately

    There are also times when a snow removal contractor has a contractual obligation to remove snow and that too can be a basis on which liability can be assessed, if that removal is done negligently.  Please be sure to contact our office if you have had an injury caused by ice and snow and we will gladly guide you through this difficult process.

    If you have any questions regarding personal injury or workers’ compensation law please do not hesitate to contact Ridge & Downes at (800) 572-1136.




  • Gov. Rauner Vetoes WC Premium Reforms

    At a time when the costs associated with Workers’ Compensation claims fall but insurance premiums continue to rise, the Illinois General Assembly passed two bills intended to make Workers’ Compensation Insurance more cost effective for employers while continuing to protect injured workers. Governor Rauner has vetoed both bills.

    HB 2622 allowed for a State chartered not for profit insurance company to offer competitive Workers’ Compensation Insurance. HB 2525 primarily added oversight to the process of setting Workers’ Compensation premiums so they could be more in line with the recommendations being made by NCCI.  As you know, the NCCI recently recommended a 10.9 percent cut in workers’ compensation insurance premiums for 2018.  This was the fifth consecutive rate reduction that has been recommended, yet Illinois law does not require compliance with these recommendations.  Without this oversight, Workers’ Compensation Insurance carriers are allowed to charge whatever premiums they wish, even if they are not reflective of the costs incurred.

    Both bills would have increased competition in the marketplace, providing Employers with cost savings while protecting the rights of injured workers.  Governor Rauner vetoed HB 2622 on 08/18/2017 and vetoed HB 2525 on 08/25/2017. 

    Governor Rauner has pushed back that these bills were not “real reforms,” but that’s only because they were reforms of his multi-billion dollar insurance company cronies.  Call your legislators and ask them to stand with Illinois Employers and Workers to override these vetoes.

     




  • NCCI Recommends 5th Consecutive WC Premium Rate Reduction

    record-low-interest-rateThe National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI), an insurance industry rate making agency which provides workers’ compensation data, has issued its workers’ compensation advisory rates for 2018.  It states that Illinois employers should see a 10.9 percent cut in their workers’ compensation insurance premiums in 2018 – this is the fifth consecutive rate reduction that has been recommended.

    The recommended cuts since 2011 now total 36.5%. Unfortunately in Illinois, insurance companies aren’t required to follow these recommendations, so the insurance industry has pocketed this huge profit margin. Insurance profits have increased more than 400% since the 2011 benefit cuts, according to Sean Stott, Director of Governmental Affairs for the Midwest Region of the Laborers’ International Union of North America.
     
    However, legislation to lower workers’ compensation costs for employers and hold insurance companies accountable for these runaway rates sits on the Governor’s desk.  If the Governor really wanted to save Illinois employers money, he would sign these bills!

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