I just read a report that mostly dealt with Illinois workers’ compensation claims in 2015, but also gave some historical information that I thought would be good for my readers. It gives an idea of how many claims are filed, how many go to trial and where the cases are getting filed. So in no particular order:
- In 2015 there were 42,700 cases that were officially filed (meaning there was an application for adjustment of claim or other action that lead to an Arbitrator being assigned to the case). This was down slightly from 2014 when there were 43,732 cases filed. If you are thinking about whether or not you should go forward with a case you are obviously not alone.
- There were 45,484 cases that were closed. 86% of those cases were settled which should tell you that yes insurance companies do settle cases. 10% were reported as dismissed. I don’t get that figure because I almost never hear of a case getting permanently dismissed and certainly not over 4,000 in a year. I wonder if this is some sort of reporting error. Finally, 4% of cases were resolved by a trial. That seems right as about 19 out of 20 cases do seem to settle.
- Of the cases that did go to trial and were appealed, 83% of the time the injured worker did not get more money on the appeal and 70% of the time the insurance company didn’t have to pay less. So appeals can make your case better, but usually they won’t.
- Despite what you hear from special interest groups about the cost of work comp cases in Illinois, between 2011-2015, insurance companies reported a 19% drop in benefit payments.
- Along the same lines, average medical payments on cases fell 16% thanks to changes put in to place in 2011.
- 43% of new claims filed were in Chicago. 57% were filed downstate.
- Of the non-Chicago cases, the largest area for claims was zone 6 which has the hearing locations of Wheaton/Geneva/Elgin. 12% of total cases were filed for those three venues. All of this makes sense based on population trends as well as where most of the jobs are located.
As a FYI, years ago, when Illinois had more manufacturing jobs, I remember there being over 70,000 cases filed in a year. So when these insurance companies and special interest groups cry that there is too much of a cost for work comp in IL or they try to amend the laws to make it even tougher to bring cases, they are really full of it and trying to screw over workers. The total number of cases over all is way down and their expenses on those cases is down about 20% across the board.
Illinois has great workers’ compensation laws and protections for employees, but things are working really well for employers too. We can only hope that our politicians will stick up for employees because if these good laws get stripped, we’ll never go back.
If you have any questions about Illinois job injury laws or would like our help on a case, fill out the form to the right or call us at (312) 346-5778. We have a state wide network of great lawyers so we help with work injuries everywhere in Illinois.