Ridge & Downes - Law Firm

  • Legislative Happenings on WC Reform

    As the 99th General Assembly regular session draws to a close on May 31, 2015, workers’ compensation “reform” has been a hot item on Governor Rauner’s Turnaround Agenda. On April 6, 2015, Governor Rauner released a 38-page detailed outline of his Turnaround Agenda. Workers’ Compensation “reform” was the first and most detailed proposal in his outline. Workers’ Compensation has become a bargaining chip in exchange for any increase in the state’s minimum wage and other worker-friendly legislation.

    In response, House Speaker Madigan convened a Committee of the Whole on May 5, 2015 to discuss the compensation received by injured workers. This rarely used format allowed the Representatives to examine how Governor Rauner’s proposals would impact the individual injured on the job. A number of speakers testified, including injured workers from both Illinois and neighboring states, so comparisons could be drawn between the various State’s systems. Representatives were able to ask questions from the witnesses.

    Several of Governor Rauner’s proposals were introduced on May 22, 2015 by Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) and House Minority Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs). State Representative Jay Hoffman (D-Belleville) presented floor amendments consistent with what the Governor wanted in his Turnaround Agenda in the House. Democrats unanimously voted against the proposed “reform” legislation while Republicans voted present or did not vote on this particular legislation.

    On May 27, 2015, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted down the Governor’s workers’ compensation reform bill. We will update you as the legislative session draws to a close through our email newsletters.

  • Protect the Workers' Compensation Act

    It has come to our attention that legislation to reduce benefits under the Workers’ Compensation Act will be offered in the Illinois House as early as Thursday, May 21st. Now is the time to act, protect your rights and the rights of everyone in Illinois.

    Please contact your local State Representative and explain your opposition to any Workers’ Compensation “reform.” Let your Representative know:

    You oppose any “reform” that reduces the benefits paid to injured workers.

    You oppose any change in the causation standard as the law already provides that only work-related injuries are covered under the Act.

    You oppose any reduction in the medical fee schedule as it will reduce an injured worker’s access to quality medical care.

    You believe that the recent (2011) reductions in injured workers’ benefits have not translated into savings for employers because insurance companies have not reduced premiums accordingly.

    You oppose any changes to the tort system that would unfairly change the system to favor corporate and insurance interests.

    Let your voice be heard!!!

    You can find your State Representative’s contact information here.

    A call is great – an e-mail or letter is forever.

  • Workers' Comp "Deform": A Race to the Bottom

    Our office works to continually update you on changes to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act (“Act”). Unfortunately, especially after 2011, many of the changes we report to you are not favorable to the injured worker.Since 2011, you have heard from our office that Illinois reform has limited injured workers’ rights regarding medical care and treatment, as well as significantly lowered permanent disability values. We also tell you, again and again, about our fears for the future of Workers’ Compensation rights and benefits.

    Our attorneys speak throughout the state on these issues and a common question they are asked is, “Are workers’ compensation laws changing in all states or is Illinois the only state putting restrictions on workers’ compensation?” We have told people time and time again that the climate of workers’ compensation is changing throughout our country.

    Now thanks to ProPublica and NPR, we can provide evidence to show that we are not exaggerating the attacks on Workers’ Compensation; the threat to Workers’ Compensation is wide-spread and growing.

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