Illinois Supreme Court to Hear Workers Comp Case

The Supreme Court of Illinois is scheduled to hear oral arguments in the case of Skokie Castings, Inc. v. Illinois Insurance Guaranty Fund.

The case arises from a Skokie Castings employee who sustained a permanently disabling injury while at work. The employer was self-insured up to a certain amount, beyond which its excess insurance carrier would take over. However, the excess carrier went bankrupt shortly after Skokie Castings’ coverage kicked in.

The Illinois Insurance Guaranty Fund is intended to protect insurance claimants when an insurer goes bankrupt. Companies operating in the state are required to contribute to the fund. The state Insurance Code limits the Fund’s payments on any single claim to $300,000, but that limitation does not apply to workers’ compensation claims.

The Fund decided the Skokie Castings employee’s claim was not a workers’ compensation claim; it discontinued payments once it reached the $300,000 ceiling.

Skokie Castings took the Fund to court, claiming they had improperly stopped paying. The trial court granted plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment, holding that the claim was a workers’ compensation claim despite being filed by the self-insured employer.

The Appellate Court affirmed the ruling. It found that the Insurance Code described the Fund as being intended to protect not only claimants, but also policyholders. The Court held that absent any language in the Code that specifically excluded claims by self-insured employers, it was reasonable to infer that the legislature’s intention was for the Fund to cover those claims.

Oral arguments before the Supreme Court of Illinois are scheduled for November 20.

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/.

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