There are dozens of hearing sites throughout the state, where arbitrators act as judges over workers’ compensation cases. The arbitrators monitor progress, hold hearings and preside over trials in cases that don’t settle.

Your hearing site will be assigned after you file a claim. A claim is officially called an Application for Adjustment of Claim and is filed with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, usually at the main Chicago location.

Most cases are assigned based on accident location, so the hearing site closest to the accident site is where you’ll be. Not all workers with Illinois workers’ compensation cases were injured in Illinois, however. If you were hurt working on a job out of state, for example, your hearing site will be the location closest to your home in Illinois. Is some cases, a worker was merely hired here and doesn’t work or live here. They can still file a claim in Illinois, and their hearing site will be wherever is considered most convenient for the parties.

The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission has a chart that lists all the cities in Illinois and shows the hearing site for injuries within that city. There are hearing sites in Rockford, Wheaton, Peoria, Urbana, Chicago, Joliet (temporarily based in New Lenox), Springfield and Woodstock, to name a few.

So how much time will you spend at the hearing site? It depends. Your case will come up on the calendar every few months. This is how arbitrators monitor the progress of cases. Mostly, however, it’s up to you and your attorney and the insurance company to move things along. At these three-month status hearings, your attorney can request a trial, if the case is at that point, and the arbitrator will set a date. Otherwise, not much happens and the case is reset for another three months.

You may or may not want to show up for your status conferences. Ask your attorney. If you aren’t getting paid for medical bills or lost wages, then you can request an immediate hearing, which will be held at your hearing site. You will need to attend any hearings, as well as your trial if there is one. Many Illinois workers’ compensation cases end in settlement.

By Michael Helfand