201708.21
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I&F Announces Opening of Michigan Office

I&F is extremely happy to announce that we have extended our services to the state of Michigan with the opening of a new office in Lansing. Our new office is located at 120 North Washington, Suite 300, in Lansing and can be reached at 517-234-4700. Attorneys Jynnifer Bates and Lauren Waninski will serve the firm’s clients from the Michigan…

201708.21
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Rauner Vetoes Bill to Create Illinois State Chartered NFP WC Insurance Company

On Friday August 18, 2017,  Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed HB 2622, which created a state-chartered, not-for -profit workers’ compensation insurance company. Rauner said, “Today I veto House Bill 2622 from the 100th General Assembly, which will create a state-sponsored workers’ compensation insurance company. This bill will also require the Department of Insurance to provide a loan…

201708.17
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I&F Prevails where Illinois Appellate Court Upholds Finding that Firefighter’s Need for New Knee Not Related to Work Accident

Our office is pleased to report the receipt of a favorable Decision from the Illinois Appellate Court, First District.  In this case, the petitioner, a firefighter/paramedic, sustained a compensable work related accident injuring his right knee and underwent surgery.  Following surgery, therapy, and an FCE, his treating doctor found him at MMI. Four months later,…

201708.11
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Village’s Denial of PSEBA Benefits Upheld by Illinois Appellate Court

In Wilczak v. The Village of Lombard, 2016 IL App (2d) 160205 (December 5, 2016), the Second District Appellate Court affirmed a Village’s denial of benefits under the Illinois Public Employee Benefits Act (“PSEBA”) (820 ILCS 320/1, et seq.). Under PSEBA, Illinois municipalities and fire protection districts must provide lifetime health insurance benefits to public…

201708.01
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Smoking breaks, pigeons lead to the eventual death of a County Investigator and a cloudy workers’ compensation claim in Missouri

Terry Lankford brought a workers’ compensation claim in Missouri for the development of pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease due to developing a breathing fungus and bacteria associated with pigeon droppings. Lankford, a heavy smoker, worked as an investigator for the county. He stated that when he started working for the county that he would…

201707.25
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Use of Opioids in Wisconsin WC is Low and Aims to go Lower

As everyone involved in the administration of workers’ compensation claims knows, pain medication, particularly opioids, are notorious medical cost-drivers.  This is especially true when calculation potential liability or exposure for taking the interest of Medicare into account.  Wisconsin, however, seems to be making progress with respect to curbing the tide of opioid abuse. According to…

201707.06
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Illinois’ General Assembly to Override Governor Vetoes to Pass a Balanced Budget, but Forgot About WC Reform

Happy birthday, United States of America, land of the free, home of the brave!  We hope all of you enjoyed a nice holiday weekend and a fireworks extravaganza for the 4th of July.  While most of you were relaxing with family and friends, we continued to monitor the activities in Springfield, which included the Senate…

201707.05
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IL Appellate Court Reevaluates Post-termination TTD

The Illinois Third District Appellate Court has taken another look at whether TTD is warranted when a claimant with restrictions is fired.   In the recent case of Holocker v. Illinois Workers’ Comp. Comm’n, 2017 IL App (3d) 160363WC, the Court found that the claimant’s restrictions did not significantly interfere with his ability to find a…

201706.23
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IL Special Legislative Session and Competing Workers’ Compensation Bills

Governor Bruce Rauner called a 10-day Special Session of the Illinois Legislature. The purpose of the Special Session is to address the on-going budget stalemate. In preparation for the Special Session, Republican Legislators unveiled a package of bills to address multiple issues, including Workers’ Compensation Reform. HB 4068 is the Republicans’ compromise bill in response…

201706.22
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Missouri WC Repetitive Trauma Update – Statute of Limitations: When does the clock start ticking?

There are often issues relating to the statute of limitations in carpal tunnel and other repetitive trauma cases.  When does the clock actually start ticking?  The Missouri Court of Appeals recently addressed this exact issue in the case of Lisa Cook v. Missouri Highway & Transportation Commission.   The claimant worked as a secretary for a government…

201706.14
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Indiana Employer and Its Subsidiaries Protected by the Exclusive Remedies Provision of the Act

In Brenda Hall v. Dallman Contractors, LLC, 51 N.E.3d 261 (2016), the Indiana Court of Appeals recently addressed whether an employee could pursue a negligence action against a subsidiary of AT&T, Inc., after she had already received a worker’s compensation settlement from her employer, Ameritech.  The Court of Appeals answered in the negative, barring further…

201706.08
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Illinois WC Alert – Rebutting the 6(f) Presumption

The Appellate Court recently issued a decision that clarifies how to apply the rebuttable presumptions referred to in section 6(f) of the Illinois WC Act, when firefighters and various medical professionals are diagnosed with hernias, hearing loss, or “any bloodborne pathogen, lung or respiratory disease or condition, heart or vascular disease or condition, hypertension, tuberculosis,…

201706.05
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Recent Missouri Activity Appears Favorable for Employers

Employers in Missouri should expect a continued decrease in workers’ compensation insurance costs as the Missouri Department of Insurance has recently recommended a 4.6% decrease in workers’ compensation insurance loss costs for 2017.  The loss costs are intended to cover indemnity and medical payments for injured workers as well as expenses incurred for providing these…

201706.02
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The Obstinate Children and the Illinois General Assembly

Having grown up in rural west central Illinois, surrounded by farmers and manufacturing laborers from John Deere and International Harvester, it was instilled in us even as children that we all have duties and responsibilities to make a contribution to our family, our community and the professions we serve.  As kids, these were “chores,” as…

201705.31
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I&F Prevails in IL Claim where Medical Records Contradict Petitioner’s Testimony

I&F recently prevailed at arbitration in an Illinois WC claim with a ruling that saves the employer thousands of dollars. The petitioner, a laborer, suffered a work injury to his forearm. After a course of physical therapy and activity modification, he was discharged from care. The petitioner did not seek additional treatment for almost a year, and…

201705.30
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Continuing Education Opportunity: I&F to Conduct Mock WC Trial with Illinois Chamber of Commerce – June 13, 2017

Please join us as we conduct a mock trial for an Illinois worker’s compensation case. We will demonstrate how to present a defense with strategic consideration of the burden of proof and evidentiary rules, and use of lay and expert witnesses. We will conduct direct and cross examination as well close proofs at the end…

201705.26
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I&F Prevails in IL Claim as Petitioner’s Bilateral Carpal Tunnel Held Unrelated to Work Duties

I&F recently prevailed in a trial over the disputed issue of the Petitioner’s bilateral carpal tunnel conditions.  The Petitioner alleged that her diagnoses and surgeries were due to repetitive trauma from her work as an English Teacher.  The petitioner testified that her duties during the school day required her to use her hands for attendance, grades,…

201705.25
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Missouri Commission Finds Horseplay Equals No Pay

Both in Missouri and in Illinois, accidents caused by horseplay in the workplace are usually not compensable.  Horseplay or “goofing off” is generally not acceptable behavior in the workplace as it may result in injuries to the employees.  It commonly has nothing to do with furthering the interests of the employer.  Generally, an employee actively…

201705.22
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I&F Upholds Prior Victories in Appeal before Madison County (IL) Circuit Court

Partner Kevin Deuschle previously obtained wins at Arbitration and before the Commission, awarding no benefits to the petitioner, in a case involving an allegedly work-related torn meniscus and eventual total knee replacement. The Petitioner had worked as a truck driver for the Respondent and testified that he stepped out and of his truck and down,…

201705.18
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WI Supreme Court takes first look at 2013 law that disqualifies claimants from receiving unemployment benefits for “substantial fault.”

The May 4, 2017 Wisconsin Supreme Court decision in Lela Operton v. LIRC, 2017 WI 46, highlights the need going forward for employers denying unemployment benefits to present evidence that employee errors resulting in termination were not inadvertent. In Lela Operton v. LIRC, 2017 WI 46,  the Court interpreted, for the first time, a 2013…

201705.16
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Iowa Governor Signs WC Bill

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad has signed a workers’ compensation bill that reduces benefits for injured workers, notably benefits for shoulder injuries, and decreases coverage for injuries tied to a pre-existing condition. A proposal to end permanent total disability benefits at age 67 was ultimately removed from measure, but Iowa Republicans added an amendment creating a…

201705.16
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Indiana Court of Appeals Holds Termination of Employment does NOT Bar Entitlement to TTD Benefits in Indiana

The Indiana Court of Appeals recently weighed in on an issue that could prove troublesome for Indiana employers.  In March, the Court addressed the issue of whether an injured employee was entitled to temporary total disability (“TTD”) benefits after being terminated for misconduct on the job.  Both the Indiana Worker’s Compensation Board and the Court…

201705.15
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I&F’s Lauren Waninski admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court

Inman & Fitzgibbons Associate Attorney Lauren Waninski traveled to Washington, D.C. where she had the distinct honor of appearing before the United States Supreme Court. Lauren appeared on a Motion to Admit requesting that distinction to practice law in front of the highest Court in the nation. Chief Justice of the United States, John G….

201705.10
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Illinois WC Legislative Update – May, 2017

The Illinois Legislature has been busy with Workers’ Compensation related bills and we have been busy keeping our readers up to date. There are 3 bills that we have been following, and we want to take a few minutes to bring to our readers’ attention: HB 2622 – Creates a non-profit, taxpayer funded mutual insurance…