There is a big update for Cook County injured workers as of today. This morning, hearings for workers’ compensation cases in Chicago have moved from the Thompson Center to across the street at the Daley Center. The Daley Center is the main courthouse in Chicago and is located at 50 W. Washington.
It’s a bit odd to me and anyone else who has made a living helping injured workers. All Cook County injury cases are assigned to the Chicago hearing location and that has been the Thompson Center for what seems like forever. It was that way when I started practicing law in 1997.
The move was made as part of cost cutting measures by the State which has included efforts to go paperless. The new space is about 25% smaller and partially reflects a reduced amount of cases being filed in the State. In fact, last year there were only around 33,000 cases filed over all. 20 years ago the number was double that. It’s an important thing to remember when you hear businesses make complaints about work comp costs. Case numbers are going down and insurance companies are making more than ever.
The hearings will take place in the basement of the Daley Center which has also been the home to minor traffic cases in the past. The Chairman of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission has stated the goal is give workers an easier path to trial as compared to what happens now. As he described it, there can be 100 people standing in a room and nothing getting done. That’s a pretty blunt and sadly accurate statement.
So how will this affect you as an injured worker?
The real answer is likely not much. It’s just important that you know where to go if you need to show up in person. What’s more important is making sure that you have a lawyer in your corner who focuses their practice on workers’ compensation and regularly appears before the Arbitrators there. The Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys in our network are there almost every day and this is all they do.
If you’d like help with a case or just want to speak to a lawyer for free, please call us any time at 312-346-5578.