The number of new workers’ compensation cases filed is decreasing in Chicago and throughout the state of Illinois.
According to data from the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission (IWCC), in fiscal year 2010, 20,272 new workers’ comp cases were filed in Chicago, down from 21,705 in 2009, and a peak of 22,818 in 2008. About 40 percent of the state’s workers’ comp cases are filed in Chicago, with the rest being spread among hearing locations throughout the state.
Statewide, 50,854 new cases were filed in 2010, a decrease from 55,497 in 2009 and 57,515 in 2008. According to the IWCC, approximately 200,000 Illinois workers are injured on the job each year, but in most of those cases, the worker does not lose time from work and does not file a workers’ compensation claim. The IWCC tracks only cases in which a claim is filed.
Most observers agree that the decrease in claims is due at least in part to the high rate of unemployment. Fewer jobs means fewer on the job injuries. Beyond that, business and labor disagree about the reasons for the drop in new cases, each side accusing the other of acting in bad faith.
Business groups claim that the poor economy has led to a reduction in “frivolous” or fraudulent claims, because workers are happy to have any job and do not want to risk losing it. Attorneys representing injured workers say that indeed, workers want to hold onto their jobs, and are hesitant to file legitimate claims for work-related injuries, for fear of retribution from their employers.
Paul Greenberg is a Chicago workers’ compensation attorney and Chicago workers compensation lawyer with Briskman Briskman & Greenberg. To learn more call 1.877.595.4878 or visit http://www.briskmanandbriskman.com/.