Each Illinois work injury case is assigned to a hearing site. This is the place where the parties will go for a hearing if there is a dispute in the case. It’s also where an arbitrator monitors cases. Attorneys appear at these sites fairly regularly for status hearings on their cases. Claims for workers’ compensation are more like insurance claims than a lawsuit, so you won’t be going to a traditional courtroom.
From time to time the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission makes changes to the hearing locations and/or the arbitrators who handle cases. As of January 1, 2015, there are two new hearing sites: Elgin and Kankakee.
Whether your case will be in these locations depends on where you were injured. Your assigned site generally ends up being the one closest to your accident location. If you were injured out of state, then your hearing site might be the location closest to your home in Illinois. There are other exceptions, but those are the general rules.
The Elgin hearing site will take cases with accident locations in Burlington, Carpentersville, Dundee, Elgin, Roselle, Wayne and others. Kankakee will take cases out of Kankakee, Chebanse, Dwight, Gilman, Momence, St. Anne, Bourbonnais, and other towns and cities in the area. There are many other hearing sites throughout the state, as well. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission publishes a chart on their website that shows which accident locations are assigned to which hearing sites.
Once you file a claim, you will have a status hearing approximately every three months. The hearing is fairly straightforward most of the time. If your case has been going on for three years or more, the arbitrator can force a trial setting. At the status hearing, either side can request a trial. Most times, everything just continues to move forward as it was before.
If you are undergoing treatment or still recovering, and your benefits are being paid, there might not be much happening in your case. It’s not usually appropriate to settle until you are fully recovered or at least as recovered as you are going to get.
If you have an attorney, you are not required to attend your status hearings, although you certainly can. Nobody would want to though as nothing really happens at most status hearings. Where you are needed is if your case gets set for trial. Of course, if you have a good attorney they should be telling you these things.