Hot off the presses and completely expected, the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission is going to be closed through March. Here is the press release:
IWCC TO SUSPEND ARBITRATION OPERATIONS FOR TWO WEEKS BEGINNING TUESDAY MARCH 17, 2020
MEMORANDUMTO: MEMBERS OF THE BARFROM: MICHAEL J. BRENNAN, CHAIRMANSUBJECT: IWCC TO SUSPEND ARBITRATION OPERATIONS FOR TWO WEEKS BEGINNING TUESDAY MARCH 17, 2020DATE: MARCH 14, 2020In light of the unprecedented severity of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, in the interests of health and safety, at the Monday March 16, 2020, meeting of the Workers’ Compensation Commission, Chairman Michael J. Brennan will be calling for a vote to suspend all normal in-person arbitration and Commission review operations for a two-week period. This period will run from Tuesday March 17, 2020, through Tuesday March 31, 2020.The Commission will vote pursuant to its authority under Section 16 of the Act and Section 9020.60 of the Administrative Rules to temporarily suspend hearing operations and automatically continue all cases scheduled for in-person appearance (e.g. status, trial, etc.) for a period of 90-days. Chairman Brennan is confident this vote will carry unanimously.The Chairman’s Office may make space available as needed for emergency hearings or other extremely time-sensitive matters on a case-by-case basis, to be scheduled or conducted at the IWCC’s Chicago, Collinsville, Rockford, Peoria, and Springfield hearing sites. The Chairman has no doubt that all members of the Bar will continue to work together and communicate with one another on any aspects of their clients’ cases that would regularly be conducted by mail, email, or phone during this unprecedented period.As these events continue to evolve, we will work with the Governor’s Office and Illinois Department of Public Health to address this rapidly changing situation. But until directed to proceed otherwise, all other Commission operations will continue as usual. Parties are advised that any statutory filing deadlines and statutes of limitations will not be affected by these measures, and the Commission will continue to process all usual documents and filings by mail and email.The Chairman’s Office will reassess the need to extend or expand these measures on an ongoing basis.
What isn’t clear is how we will get settlement contracts approved, but in general this is not a good thing for injured workers in Illinois. In most cases, if your checks are late there won’t be any recourse until April. I would think exceptions would be made for a trial involving someone who is terminally ill, but not much else.
Our office will remain open and when not in our main office, our phones are forwarded to a remote office or an answering service that pages us right away. So like all other times before all of this craziness, if you want to talk to a lawyer for free, you can usually do that right away or within minutes by calling us at 312-346-5578.