In what may ironically be good news, if you were hoping to go to Arbitration in the next week or two at the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, you might not be.
That’s because Governor Pritzker has essentially fired six Arbitrators who were appointed but not confirmed by previous Governor Rauner.
Elections have consequences and the reality is that Republican Governors are more likely to appoint Arbitrators who are not as friendly to workers. There is a Democrat in charge now and he’s going to put people in that aren’t as biased toward workers in his opinion.
That’s not to say all of the removed Arbitrators were bad or biased, but that perception is often a reality.
So the bad news is that some cases won’t go to trial in the next couple of weeks because there aren’t enough Arbitrators to hear them. There also may be cases that have already gone to trial that will get delayed verdicts because the old Arbitrators won’t keep working and the new ones will have to read transcripts in order to make a decision. That’s not fair to you as your credibility and that of others who testified will be harder to judge.
But in general you’d expect that more worker friendly appointments are coming which I believe is a good thing.
If you were expecting to go to trial next week, talk to your lawyer and figure out if waiting is OK and what it will mean for you life and your case.
In the big picture this is why it’s important to have an attorney who really knows the work comp system and stays up to date on not just the law, but also behind the scenes developments.
Have a great and safe Memorial Day weekend, and as always, please feel free to contact us any time with questions or concerns about a case.
UPDATE: In an unexpected twist, all of the Arbitrators got reinstated. My guess is that they don’t want to leave spots vacant while they get ready to put new ones in. We’ll see what happens next.