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Changes to workers' compensation could be coming to Illinois

For decades, workers have been told that they can seek appropriate compensation if they are injured on the job. They are told that they don't need to prove negligence and they don't need to be worried about going through a lengthy lawsuit against an employer to seek much-needed benefits thanks to the workers' compensation program.

Unfortunately, changes to this program over the years have been making this increasingly difficult. Across the U.S., reforms to workers' compensation have putting caps on benefits, changing medical requirements and affecting the coverage workers do and do not get. Now, more reforms could be coming to Illinois workers' compensation, and it will be interesting to see if and how workers will be affected.

State lawmakers have been pushing for reform since it was reported that Illinois is one of the costliest states for these benefits. Additionally, it has been noted that insurance companies are having to pay out for a significant amount of injuries in Illinois when compared to other states that have a higher bar set for compensating work-related injuries. Because of all this, the state is considering a number of reforms to the workers' compensation program in this state.

At this point, it is not clear what specific reforms are being considered; whether the proposed reforms will be passed also remains to be seen.

However, the fact that changes could be coming should alert workers that they would be wise to thoroughly understand their legal options if and when they are injured on the job.

Compensation and benefits for work-related injuries and illnesses are not guaranteed, which is what many people are led to believe. Workers often need to face off with insurance companies, employers and medical professional in an attempt to get the care and support they need. Instead of trying to deal with all this alone, injured workers and their families can reach out and work with an attorney in order to seek the benefits they may greatly need and deserve.

Source: Business Insurance, "States consider workers compensation reform," Sheena Harrison, March 1, 2015

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