A press release from Governor Bruce Rauner:
Governor’s Office Statement on Workers’ Compensation Vote
SPRINGFIELD – The following statement is attributable to Lance Trover, Director of Communications:
“Unsurprisingly, Speaker Madigan and the politicians he controls again ignored compromise reform proposals and instead voted to protect their special interest allies. This proposal ignores the most important reforms we need for our worker’s compensation system, and in another instance, could actually undermine previous reform efforts. Sadly, instead of taking steps to make Illinois more competitive and job-friendly, this is another example of the Speaker and his allies putting politics ahead of the people. Illinois needs real reform.”
- Under the Governor’s proposal, an employer is responsible for an injury if the major contributing cause of the injury was work-related.
- The Speaker’s proposal does not raise the standard of causation, which is the lowest in the nation. Under the Speaker’s proposal, the employer is still 100% on the hook for injuries that are primarily caused outside of the workplace.
- The Governor’s proposal recognized that certain medical conditions or disabilities are the result of years of hard work, repetitive injuries. Therefore, under the Governor’s proposal, an repetitive injury is compensable if the major contributing cause is occupational – even if that injury occurs over multiple employers.
- The Speaker’s proposal still leaves employers on the hook for repetitive injuries that are largely caused outside of the workplace. The proposal permits a current employer to seek to recover a “pro rata share” from previous employers, but that fails to take into account where an employee is largely responsible for the injury. For example, if an injury is caused 10% by the current job, 10% by a previous job, and 80% by personal habits (e.g. running, past athletics, etc.), the current and previous employer would still together be responsible for 100% of the injury.
- The Speaker’s proposal does not include any requirement to show how the worker’s employment significantly contributed to his or her injury.
- The Speaker’s proposal will drive up defense costs and be difficult to administer. It forces employers to go back and bring a separate case for contribution against other employers.
- The Speaker’s proposal only seeks to codify one factor from the Supreme Court’s Venture-Newberg decision. It does not mention the other factors we proposed: that travel must be necessary for the performance of job duties and the employer must furnish the transportation/employee must receive reimbursement.
- By failing to codify all factors considered by the Supreme Court in Venture-Newberg, the General Assembly is sending conflicting messages to arbitrators on the authority of this case, opening the door for more inconsistent judgements.
- No cuts to the medical fee schedule.
- No changes to the use of the AMA Guidelines.
- No mention of credits for person-as-whole injuries.