Is Workers Comp In Illinois DIFFERENT Than Workers Comp Elsewhere?

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May 29  

Workers Comp In Illinois Vs. In Other States

What is the difference between Illinois workers comp and workers comp in other places? The reason I'm answering this question is because I do get a lot of people who contact me out of state.

In the United States, a lawyer is licensed in the state where he practices or she practices. Workers comp law is state specific, so that means if you are in Idaho or you are in California or Texas or New York, your workers comp laws are different than the workers comp laws I talked about in my videos. The concepts are usually the same. Here's how workers comp got passed.

Some states passed a law. Then other states, when it was their turn to pass some workers comp laws, they looked at other states' laws and sort of template that. As we discuss in these cases, it's the details that matter. The details of the law matter and the details of your case matter. 

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Right To A Lawyer

In Illinois you know as I've explained, if you get hurt at work with a doctor's note, you get two-thirds of your pay while you're off work. Sometimes we have to fight about it, it's not automatic. You're entitled to have your related medical doctor bills paid and at the end of the case you get a lump sum of money that pays you for the change in your body and your change in capacity to do work.

The biggest one is, in Illinois you have a right to a lawyer. And I will tell you that California and Texas and several other states have revised their workers comp laws. So that now instead of you picking a lawyer, you get a state bureaucrat not a judge, to sort of look at the case and decide whether the medical care is necessary and whether it's related.

State Bureaucrat

My point is, in those other states, you can't get an advocate, it's a state bureaucrat. Now I don't mean to criticize all state bureaucrats, there's some good ones out there. But anybody who's ever worked in the government or knows people who worked in the government, a lot of the times those people are that's just there for their 9:00 to 5:00 and pick up their paycheck and adios.

Out Of State Cases

Even though I'm in Illinois, I get a lot of calls from people from other states. They say, "I'm really hurt, I can't work but the state has denied my benefits" and I've got friends all over the country, so if you're hurt in a state other than Illinois I've got people I can send you to and not just some jerk, like great lawyers. Lawyers who I've seen perform and they're excellent. I'd never send somebody to a bad lawyer.

I get a lot of calls from injured workers from other states where the lawyer has been cut out of the process. I mean basically the way it works is instead of it having a hearing and all that stuff, the bureaucrat just makes the decision. Supposedly, they're not on your side or the other side but the other side has representatives that go there all the time and they get chummy with the bureaucrat. Or it's a big employer they don't want to scare the employer out of the country or out of the state, so it's hard to get a fair shake.

Right To Go In Front Of A Judge

At least in Illinois, if the company's not paying, you have a right to either go in front of a judge yourself or hire a lawyer to do it for you. In these other states, they don't and I would say that's the number one difference between workers comp in Illinois and some other states. Now I don't mean to say all other states are like that. There's lots of other states that handle things similar to Illinois.

Other states have good systems too. But these states like California, Texas and some other states. There's several states where as workers comp has basically been chopped to pieces. You have no right to an attorney, it's just some bureaucrat that gets appointed and if it's a conservative state administration, you're not going to get a lot of help.

Right To Have A Contested Hearing

Even though workers comp and work injury cases are a fight in the state of Illinois that doesn't mean we shouldn't count our lucky stars. You still have a right to have a contested hearing instead of just a bureaucrat telling you "no!" and then when the bureaucrat tells you no, in another state, what do you do? There's nothing you can do, you have to accept it.

I think it's terrible what other states do. Again, there are some good states. We're lucky to have the system we have in Illinois. They've changed it over the years to make it harder and harder for the injured worker, but if you've been hurt at work, this is not the worst state to be in. You at least have a fighting chance here, so that's the biggest difference between Illinois and some other states.

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