The reputation of big cities, especially from people who don’t live in one, is that they smell. Well, if you’ve been in the River North area of Chicago, you know that it does smell. Smells awesome that is. That’s because if you are near there, you will get a whiff of the Blommer Chocolate Company factory and their delicious products.

Unfortunately, Blommer has decided to close that plant location after almost 100 years of making Chicago smell great. It’s going to shut down at the end of the month and I can’t imagine walking in that area and not getting a whiff of their delicious chocolate.

About 250 people work there and from a quick check of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission website, there are about 18 active cases officially filed against them as the time of this writing. That number doesn’t include people who have yet to formally file a case. It’s not surprising that about 8% of the workers are injured as it’s a repetitive, labor job.

So the question is, what happens to those cases or to anyone who works for a company that goes out of business or closes a plant location.

First off, it doesn’t appear that Blommer has any other Illinois location except the corporate headquarters at the Merchandise Mart. So assuming those who are injured are laborers, to them it’s as if the company has gone out of business.

That means that if they have any work-related restrictions from their job injury, they should begin to receive TTD benefits. That’s true even if they were previously working a light duty job within those restrictions before the last day of the plant being open. These benefits can continue until they are able to work without restrictions or they find a job within those restrictions. You can bet that a lot of Blommer workers are going to be sent to IME doctors who will say that no restrictions are needed. This being done to try to cut off TTD benefits.

As far as medical benefits go, when this happens to you, it doesn’t change your medical rights in any way. There is still insurance to cover these injuries and you can still get all reasonable and related medical treatment that you require.

Aside from TTD, the big affect from this closure will be on the settlements of some cases. If you had a major injury that Blommer could work with, but nobody else can (or nobody else can without a big cut in pay), it could make the case worth tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars more in the end. It will depend on what your injury as and what your ultimate recovery is.

The bottom line is that while it’s probably stressful for your job to go away, if you are work comp when that happens, in Illinois it actually provides you with more protections and possibilities.

If you are an injured worker from Blommer Chocolate or anywhere else, we’d be happy to talk to you for free and in confidence. Call us any time at 312-346-5578.