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So-called Workers' Comp 'Reform' Sticks it to TaxpayersAnyone of us could be hurt on the job. It doesn’t matter if we work in an office, in a factory or on a farm, accidents happen to people in every occupation. When someone is seriously injured, the question becomes: Whose responsibility is it to pay for their care and rehabilitation so they can get back to work?

For Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, his insurance industry allies, and many businesses the unfortunate answer is that the person who was hurt and the taxpayers should pay. Under the guise of "reform" they are seeking further changes to our workers' compensation laws that shift the risk of needing to care for the injured away from insurers and that allow employers to more easily evade the responsibility for ensuring safe work sites and working conditions.

Rauner and Republican legislators want to cut the number of injured workers eligible to receive benefits and many employees, especially older workers more likely to be hurt, would receive no compensation for serious work-related injuries.

By Kate Thayer, Contact Reporter, Chicago Tribune

A group representing firefighters and municipalities hopes to revive a law that protects first responders from getting sued by people they try to help. The so-called "public duty rule" dates to the 1800s and provides firefighters and paramedics broad immunity from lawsuits stemming from their on-the-job actions. But earlier this year, a divided Illinois Supreme Court struck down the public duty rule when it took up a case involving the 2008 death of a Will County woman who had called 911 while home alone after going into cardiac arrest and later died.

According to a lawsuit her family filed against the East Joliet Fire Protection District, paramedics arrived at the home of the 58-year-old woman, but when she didn't come to the door they decided not to force their way in because police were not present. The responders eventually returned and entered the home after the woman's husband came home, but by then 41 minutes had gone by since the initial 911 call. The lawsuit alleged that the delay in providing emergency care to the woman contributed to her death.

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deaths and injuries in the workplace, Chicago injury attorneyReported workplace injuries have decreased over the years, going from 4.2 million in 2005 to just a little over 3 million in 2013. Unfortunately, work-related deaths and injuries are still a serious problem in the United States today, a study from Eastern Kentucky University recently revealed. In fact, they estimated that approximately one work-related illness or injury occurs every ten seconds. What is most concerning about this is that many of those accidents could have been prevented.

Most Common Injuries and Illnesses in the Workplace

With a total of 400,090 injuries, overexertion accounted for 34 percent of all non-fatal work-related injury claims. Falls, slips, and trips were cited as the cause for another 296,130 injuries while contact with objects or equipment were responsible for 268,380 injuries. And violence by another person or animal and transportation accidents made up just a little over 10 percent of all non-fatal injuries.

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