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Most people I come across are rather reasonable. I say this even if we disagree on certain things. But whenever I have a debate with someone I don’t try to spin or tell lies to get people to come to my point of view. I’m also not a politician.
Governor Rauner wants to gut the Illinois workers’ compensation system. They want our state to be like Indiana where you can’t find an attorney because the system is so bad for workers. Lawyers there have essentially given up and the workers are screwed as a result. Some workers I’ve talked to over the years won’t take jobs with Indiana based companies because they know that if they get hurt over there and the employer is based there, they are doomed.
The latest lies have to do with allegations that work comp fraud is destroying the system. The Rauner buddies at the Tribune wrote an article about how “we’ve all seen the guy who says he hurt his shoulder at work and then posts a photo on social media of himself holding a 150 pound fish he caught.”
We all haven’t seen that because it doesn’t happen very often and if it does happen it’s a felony! Those people do and should get prosecuted. No lawyer I know, even the bad ones, would agree to represent someone that they know is committing a fraud. If there is any problem it’s that the State isn’t aggressive enough in these cases to deter people who commit fraud, but to say it’s widespread is a lie.
The article also quoted the owner of a company who says that for 18 years his place of business had never had a work injury. That’s not believable, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they encouraged workers not to file. He said a worker was there for four weeks and filed a case for a hernia which caused his rates to go through the roof.
That is not believable at all. A hernia is a very minor work injury and the value of a case like that is really minimal. If their rates went through the roof then they got robbed by their insurance company. It would be comparable to you having a clean driving record for 18 years, getting in to a minor fender bender and then having your rates go through the roof. It just doesn’t happen.
Are there some holes in our system? Sure, such as doctors getting paid more for certain procedures than they would through regular insurance or Medicare. Is there widespread fraud or does one case (or even a handful) cause rates to go out of control? The honest answer is no.
The real story here is one I just discussed with a media outlet who is investigating this. There was massive reform in 2006 and in 2011 to the system. The total number of cases is down 40% from about ten years ago, yet insurance rates are going up. How do insurance companies charge more when cases are worth less and claims are down by almost half? They do it by being dishonest.
Just as insurance companies deny your case unreasonably to save/make money, they are doing these types of bogus PR campaigns without explaining why their rates are not dropping. Don’t be fooled at all. We will fight for you if we represent you and we will fight this propaganda. And if injured workers don’t pay attention they can end up like our neighbors in Indiana.