Posted on Dec 19, 2010
In an attempt to make Illinois more friendly toward business owners and more competitive when it comes to attracting new businesses, the state Senate has moved forward with plans to reform Illinois workers’ compensation. As a first step in this process, Chicago Democrat and Senate President John Cullerton has appointed a special Senate committee to research the possibilities for workers’ comp reform. The committee has been instructed to report their findings and recommendations by January 3 of next year.

Many lawmakers in Illinois agree that Illinois is simply not a business-friendly environment, and that they are losing new business opportunities to nearby states like Missouri, who have more competitive environments and who have better workers’ compensation rates for businesses. Recent attempts by Illinois businesses and Illinois labor unionx to reform workers’ comp have not been successful.

In the last four years, Illinois’ workers’ compensation rates have increase by 16 percent. At the same time, workers’ comp rates fell by 17 percent nationally.

What changes are the Senate's workers’ comp committee considering?

•    A new stipulation that a workplace must be more than 50 percent liable for a worker accident in order to get a workers’ comp claim approved.
•    A new law that would not approve a workers’ comp claim if the worker was drunk or on drugs at the time of the on-the-job accident.
•    New laws that would prevent “doctor shopping” and therefore reduce treatment costs.
•    New laws that would require the American Medical Association standards to be used when diagnosing disabilities or injuries.

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