November 2009


A Blessed Thanksgiving to All.

I like this hymn by Johnson Ortman, Jr.

Count Your Many Blessings

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

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In Illinois Workers’ Compensation Law your wage is very important in deciding the value of your settlement.

Your average weekly wage for the 52 weeks before your accident date times 60 percent is the deciding factor in your rate.

Overtime can really increase your wage.

Illinois law requires overtime to be mandatory and worked on a regular basis.

You can prove mandatory overtime through a union contract, a written policy, testimony of other workers, or agreement of the parties.

It is often worth it to fight for your overtime because it really can increase the size of your settlement.

In Illinois, the Workers’ Compensation Arbitrator is the judge who decides the case if it goes to trial.

The Arbitrator is hired by the State of Illinois. The Arbitrator is a neutral. In other words, the judge cannot favor either the insurance company or the injured worker.

The Arbitrator may be a lawyer, but does not have to be. To become an Arbitrator you must pass a test, and be selected through the Governor’s office. Once you become an arbitrator it is almost a lifetime job.

Commissioners are the next level up from Arbitrators. Commissioners act as a reviewing body for appeals from Arbitrator’s decisions. Three Commissioners serve on what is called a panel to hear appeals.

In contrast to Arbitrators, only one Commissioner on a panel is a neutral, one Commissioner is a labor representative, and one Commissioner is a business representative.

Commissioners do not have to pass a test. They must be a lawyer, or have a labor relations background. They are appointed by the Governor, and confirmed by the Senate. They serve for a specific term, and can be reappointed.

Some Workers’ Compensation Insurance Companies are very interested in settling their cases by the end of the year.

This means you may be getting an offer to settle very soon.

You should review the offer carefully.

Is it fair?

Will you need more medical treatment in the future?

Are all your medical bills going to be paid?

Do you understand all the contract language?

If you are in Illinois and need someone to talk with about your Work Comp case feel free to call me, Attorney Dirk May at 309-827-4371.