Candidate Bill Brady on WC Reform

With the 2010 election year upon us, Inman & Fitzgibbons wants to keep its clients informed of positions taken by the various candidates on workers’ compensation reform and other policies that impact our clients’ businesses. It is not the intention of Inman and Fitzgibbons to endorse any candidacy through these posts, but rather to keep our clients and readers informed on issues of interest.

As we previously reported, gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady has cited workers’ compensation claims as one of the issues facing Illinois business and affecting job and economic growth in our State.  As we previously noted, his earlier comments did not contain specifics as to what, if anything, he recommended be done to resolve this issue.  In a recent interview with the Chicago Tribune editorial board, Brady elaborated on his concerns by citing the high cost of workers’ compensation claims in Illinois as compared to neighboring states and has provided some insight as to how he might reduce the overall number of compensable claims.

According to the recent post on Chicago Now, when asked what specific state programs or resources could be used to reduce joblessness Brady replied, “The high cost of Workers’ Compensation is often cited as the single most anti-business factor when evaluating Illinois’ business climate. A Brady Administration will support providing Workers’ Compensation for injured workers through an improved system with reduce costs while ensuring workers get the quality care they deserve. In Illinois last year, Workers’ Compensation rates increased by nearly 14 percent while more than 30 states saw their rates decrease. Costs of Workers’ Compensation in Illinois are nearly double those in Indiana and higher than every neighboring state.”

He continued on to state, “A Brady Administration will work with business and labor to effect significant changes to the system including the requirement that the workplace be the primary cause of the injury and the use of American Medical Assoc. standards.”

Illinois practitioners will recognize that Brady is proposing a significant change to the law whereby the workplace event must be the “primary cause,” as opposed to “a cause” of a worker’s injury.  Readers may also note that Pat Quinn did not address the issue of workers’ compensation in his comments.

You can learn more about recent cost comparisons of workers’ compensation in Illinois versus neighboring States by visiting the Illinois Chamber of Commerce website.  Our firm is actively involved with the Illinois Chamber of Commerce Employment Law Council’s Workers’ Compensation Committee to advocate for workers’ compensation reform, so please visit our blog periodically for updates.

Thanks to Chicago Now’s Your Doubting Thomas for passing along this interview.

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