Today, a number of the changes to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act that were approved by the Illinois Legislature back in June will go into effect, effectively making it more difficult for workers to receive fair workers compensation when they get injured on the job.
The Chicago Tribune pointed out some of the pitfalls of these changes and how they will adversely affect workers’ rights going forward. One of the major changes made to the Act is a 30% cut in the amount of reimbursements made to doctors and hospitals.
According to the Illinois State Medical Society, these reductions in reimbursements will likely discourage physicians from treating injured workers, which will in turn make it harder for workers to receive appropriate medical care for their work-related injuries. Another major change to the act is the creation of employer-approved preferred provider programs (“PPPs”).
As we reported in a previous workers’ compensation blog article, if an employer institutes one of these provider networks, employees will need to choose between treating with up to two company-approved doctors or with only one doctor of the employee’s own choosing (as opposed to two choices if the employer does not have a PPP network). A third major change to the Act concerns the determination of permanent partial disability.
According to the new law, when an arbitrator assesses the permanency of an injury, he must now look to the American Medical Association guidelines to determine how permanent the injury is without considering the employee’s testimony. By removing the testimony of the injured employee as one of the factors in determining permanency, the arbitrator’s evaluation of an injury will become completely devoid of any human element and will instead be exclusively determined by numbers and percentages.
Given that all of these changes will make it more difficult for workers in Illinois to receive fair compensation for their injuries, it is imperative that when you are injured on the job, you speak with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney at GWC Injury Lawyers. We are a team of top Chicago personal injury attorneys and understand how to protect your rights under the Act.
As Illinois’ largest personal injury and workers’ compensation law firm, we are devoted to getting you the compensation and proper medical treatment that you deserve. We understand what is required to avoid the traps that await the unwary injured worker. If you have been injured on the job or have any questions about how these changes in the law will affect you, call us now for a free consultation at 1-312-464-1234. You must call us immediately if you are involved in an accident to protect your rights and allow us to guide you through what will be a very difficult process.