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Buckle up as backlog of Illinois workers compensation claims clog the system

By Gardi, Haught, Fischer & Bhosale LTD
August 15, 2022
Workers Compensation Claims

Buckle up as backlog of Illinois workers compensation claims clog the system

By Aaron Novasic

In Illinois, workers compensation claims are governed under the Illinois Workers Compensation Commission (IWCC). Each claim that is filed with the commission is assigned to an arbitrator, who handles certain areas of Illinois.

Illinois has implemented mandatory pre-trials during the pandemic in hopes that this would create an opportunity for both parties to come together in the spirit of settlement. But these pre-trial hearings are only heard by the arbitrators at a certain time and only so often.

Recently, these arbitrators have been hammered with cases getting placed on their call and they cannot get to each case, even if the attorneys originally get on their schedule. Sometimes arbitrators hear upwards of 180 cases per call. But if you are case 181 or higher, your case gets continued to the next call—which could be months away.

This is a real problem for moving cases along, especially for petitioners and their attorneys. Some of these hearings need to be immediate, because a worker might not be getting paid by the insurance company, and the longer the case goes without an arbitrator’s intervention the more dire the injured workers finances become. In these instances, there are petitions that the attorney can file. But it is not always a given that it will be heard immediately and might still be weeks away from getting in front of the arbitrator.  

There does not seem to be a solution to this, and members of the Workers Compensation Lawyers Association have had board meetings about the back log of cases not getting heard. They have brought this concern to the attention of the courts, but a reprieve is not in the immediate future. Parties that wish to bring workers compensation claims against their employer have every right to do so under the law, but they should buckle up and be prepared to exercise patience with their case.

If you have questions or concerns related to a workers compensation claim, contact Gardi Haught Fischer & Bhosale Ltd. for assistance or advice by requesting a free case evaluation button below.

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