If you are injured at work in Illinois and pursue a case through the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, your case will be assigned to an Arbitrator. Which Arbitrator you get is typically determined by what city you were hurt in.
For injuries that happen in DuPage County, your case will be assigned to the Arbitrator in Wheaton. Currently that Arbitrator is Gerald Granada. He was admitted to practice law in 1994 and became a work comp Arbitrator in 2011. Although his background is mostly from defense firms, he also worked for a well-known injury firm. He is viewed as competent and fair. That said, the Arbitrators rotate locations so by the time you read this, there very well may be a new one there.
The hearings in Wheaton take place at the DuPage County Government Center on County Farm Road. It’s kind of a bland, unexciting building, but you don’t go there for the excitement. You go there to get your case resolved.
Although the Court is open every business day, there are actually only four days of trial hearings in Wheaton every month (with some overflow going to Elgin for two days of trials). That means that if 25 people want to go to a trial this month, not all of them will get their wish. While it’s possible to do 2-3 trials in a day, some take a whole day or more. This is probably one of the most misunderstood facts about Illinois work comp law. Getting to trial is hard in many cases because it becomes a numbers game.
In the old days, there were two main Arbitrators in Wheaton and they were there for years and years. One of them was notoriously difficult so it was important to get a lawyer who was on his good side. Now with Arbitrators rotating so much, the biggest factor in your case’s success is usually getting someone who is aggressive and focused on work comp law. If they know the law and will fight for you, you usually stand a good chance.
The reality is that even though the hearings are in Wheaton, most of the attorneys that go there are going to be from Chicago. That’s because most of the cases take place in Chicago so attorneys who specialize in work comp want their office to be downtown. It’s where most (not all) of the best lawyers are located. For you as an injured worker, you won’t have to travel downtown. Many firms have suburban offices too or will meet with you closer to your home.
We have helped thousands of people who have work comp cases in DuPage County and would be thrilled to help you too. If you’d like to speak with an attorney for free, call us any time at 312-346-5578.