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Salvi & Maher, L.L.C.

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Lake County Workers’ Compensation Lawyers

Illinois recently took another step in a series of reforms that ultimately lower workers’ compensation rates for employers. Since 2011, the price of mandatory workers’ compensation insurance dropped nearly 20 percent. This significant cost-savings is turning our economy around—allowing Illinois to compete with other Midwestern states and achieve a six-year low in unemployment rates.

Workers’ compensation is mandatory insurance that nearly all public and private employers must carry. This type of insurance will pay portions of wages, medical bills, and other expenses during a time of inability to work due to a workplace-related injury. While good policy for both employers and employees, workers’ compensation can be expensive for employers. This is particularly true in dangerous-condition occupations such as construction and other contracting or labor-intensive jobs. The result of high premiums for employers though, can be high burdens on the taxpayers and employees that ultimately pay into the programs.

Lower rates allow resources to shift from paying out workers’ compensation claims to boosting the economy through things such as expansion of businesses, which leads to the creation of new jobs. It is estimated that these rate reductions will have saved employers up to $450 million total since 2011, and about $143 million in 2015 alone.

Good for the Economy, Bad for Workers?

With a reduction in costs for employers nearing 20 percent since 2011, one must wonder if these reductions are to the detriment of employees—or taxpayers. With a system so large it raises and spends about $3 billion a year, it is critical to know how these resources are being allocated while protecting employees with valid claims. Little data has emerged that these lower rates are actually hurting employees, even though labor unions vehemently oppose any changes in the current workers’ compensation scheme.

Employees and Lower Workers’ Compensation Rates

Perhaps the biggest positive is that lower rates indicate increased health among employees. Many companies are providing incentives for their workers to stay healthy—lowering premiums for those who do not smoke, exercise regularly, and undergo annual physical examinations.

There is no indication that lower premiums affect the type of coverage employers maintain to protect themselves and their employees. This is primarily because there are strict minimum requirements employers must meet to be in compliance with the law. The only significant monetary shift seems to be in insurance company profits.

While this does demonstrate fewer payouts and more profit, this is not necessarily to the detriment of the employee. Employees only receive a fraction of their salaries in the event of a workplace accident, and the amount of people placing claims decreases when workplaces are safer. This provides an incentive for employers to keep their workers safe, thereby reducing their payouts in the long run. The state remains dedicated to incentivizing employers to have safer premises and healthier employees, which is actually to the benefit of the employee.

Taxpayers, the Economy and Lower Illinois Workers’ Compensation Rates

Another positive reason Illinois successfully continues to lower its workers’ compensation insurance premiums is due to significant taxpayer savings under Illinois Medicaid reform. The state focused their efforts on preventing Medicaid waste, fraud, and abuse, which is estimated to save taxpayers in excess of $140 billion over the next three decades. Illinois cut more than $5.7 billion in state spending costs in the last five years alone.

Taxpayers also have an incentive to support workers’ compensation reform given the significant reduction in unemployment rates in the state. Using funds that would otherwise pay out workers’ compensation claims to instead allow the economy to expand and thrive will continue to save taxpayers in the long run. Since February 2010, Illinois has successfully added over 260,000 private sector jobs.

Have an Illinois Workers’ Compensation Claim. Now What?

Getting injured at work creates a host of uncertainties, especially when you have a family to support financially. With deadlines, paperwork, and review hearings, workers’ compensation benefits can be a difficult to obtain without a working knowledge of the system. Let us take the guesswork out of the process and allow our experienced Lake County workers’ compensation lawyers to help you navigate your legal claim. If you or someone you know has been injured at work, please contact one of our offices for a free consultation. At Salvi & Maher, L.L.C., we will work hard to ensure you receive all of the benefits you are legally entitled to after a workplace-related injury. Call 847-662-3303 or fill out our online contact form to set up your initial consultation.

Avvo Elite Lawyer 10 Best 2016 ASLA 2017 Nation's Top One Percent American Justice Institute Top 10 Chicago Bar Association DuPage County Bar Association Illinois State Bar Association Kane County Bar Association Illinois Trial Lawyers Association Lake County Bar Association McHenry County Bar Association Workers Compensation Lawyers Association Martindale Hubbell 2018 Martindale Hubbell 2018
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