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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Ind. Gov't. - "Illinois, Indiana work comp law: Same words, different results"

Fascinating analysis yesterday from Matt Dietrich of PolitiFact Illinois. The intro:

One of the hottest and most divisive topics in Illinois politics for the last 18 months has been workers’ compensation reform. Gov. Bruce Rauner and business groups say the state’s workers’ compensation system is unfairly biased against employers and has led, in the most recent national report, to Illinois having the eighth highest workers’ compensation insurance rates in the nation.

Two dominant themes have emerged in the workers’ compensation debate. One is that Indiana has been a magnet for Illinois business relocations because it has very low workers’ compensation insurance rates.

The other is that Illinois has high rates because of the state’s "no-fault" workers’ compensation system. Any injury "arising out of and in the course of employment" is compensable with workers’ compensation benefits, including medical care and paid time off for recovery. In legal terms, Illinois has no-fault standard of "causation." Thus, a pre-existing condition that is aggravated in the course of work is covered under workers’ compensation.

Given all this, a statement made during an Illinois House committee hearing on a workers’ compensation reform bill might have struck an odd chord.

"The causation standard in Indiana is exactly the same as it is in Illinois," said David Menchetti, a labor attorney with the Chicago firm Cullen Haskins Nicholson Menchetti. Menchetti testified at the hearing in opposition to the bill, which would change Illinois’ causation standard to the one described in Rauner’s reform agenda.

If Indiana is attracting businesses away from Illinois because of its low workers’ compensation insurance premiums, and if Illinois’ no-fault causation standard is the cause of its high insurance rates, could Indiana really have the same legal standard as Illinois? We decided to check.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on December 20, 2016 08:39 AM
Posted to Indiana Government