Any good Illinois work comp lawyer reads updates on case laws and interesting trial decisions. If they don’t, they aren’t doing their jobs and they aren’t learning which certainly doesn’t help their clients.
I recently read through a summary of about 50 cases. I didn’t learn much knew this time, but it was definitely relevant for providing consultations and advice to callers and readers. But there was one case that to me was so interesting that I have to share it. Note, my office did not handle this case. And even though it’s interesting, it’s one of those rulings that would be obvious to any experienced work comp attorney in IL, but not to very many employees.
Long story short is that a trucker out of Canada was lifting some heavy tarps and had a heart attack. This all happened in Illinois. He got medical care, went back home to Canada and filed a work comp case. And the case was filed in Canada. He had some sort of hearing and lost for whatever reason under Canada law.
Most people would think that would be the end of the case, but it was not. Because he was injured in Illinois, he can file a case here. So as a result, he applied for benefits and ended up having to go to trial here. The insurance company denied the case because in their opinion the trucker had already had his day in court.
But the reality is that only the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission can end and IL work comp case. Our standards are different than every other State, some which is better, some which is worse. But you can’t lose your rights in Illinois based on what happened in another State or country.
In fact, while this case is kind of unique, I can think of at least 20 times where we’ve been involved in claims where a worker was injured here, but from another State and settled their case in their home State. They then came to us to get an increase of benefits. In other words, if their case was worth $60,000 in Illinois, but they settled for $20,000 in Ohio, we could get them an extra $40,000 here which is the full value of the case, less a credit for what was already paid.
It may be counterintuitive, but it’s true. So to paraphrase John Belushi in Animal House, “Nothing is over until the work comp commission says it is.”
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