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b2ap3_thumbnail_att-chris.jpgThe following letter to the editor by ITLA President Christopher T. Hurley appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times on February 23, 2017.

In his budget address, Gov. Bruce Rauner said Illinois should emulate Massachusetts workers’ compensation system. However, following its lead would come at a great cost to our state’s taxpayers. Massachusetts doctors who care for those injured on the job are the lowest paid in the nation, which raises concerns about access to quality care.

If Illinois cuts the rate doctors are compensated to treat injured workers to match Massachusetts’ levels, a patient’s choice of physicians will be seriously limited and wait times for treatment are sure to rise significantly.

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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.

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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