Synopsis: The Problem with Little IL WC Claims Continues to Grow—What Can We Do To Make Sense of Little/Low Budget but Bona Fide Claims?
Editor’s Comment: I promise defense firms, like KCB&A are seeing this much more than Petitioner firms. That said, all of the components of the IL WC system are starting to feel the pressure of handling small claims smoothly and in a cost-effective fashion. What I am sure is happening is the Petitioner/Plaintiff Bar knows the math on smaller settlements—let’s say under $10,000 in total reserves. We have seen Petitioner-Plaintiff firms start to stall and stall to insure our self-insured employers and WC insurance carriers pay more money to get simple stuff closed.
Is Such a Claims Strategy Unethical?
I will let you decide. The IL Supreme Court Rules prohibit an attorney from stalling during litigation to gain an advantage. I have also seen lots of attorneys censured, sanctioned or suspended for letting civil claims sit for a year or two. I am also sure there are lots of IL WC Claimant lawyers who stall and stall and stall and get mad if you tell them to stop stalling and put the claim to a hearing.
In contrast to rapid movement of IL WC claims, I am sure there is a central IL litigator who routinely allows his IL claims sit for three, five, seven or more years without any action. His never-ending mantra is “I need to get medical records, your honor.”
If that happened in the central IL circuit courts, judges would routinely dismiss the claims and never reinstate. The IWCC arbitrators and Commissioners don’t truly “wink” at such handling but they occasionally but rarely put down the hammer to send the needed message to that attorney and others to get their claims ready and off the docket in three years or less. The bigger problem arises when a small claim isn’t worth $5,000 and Claimant’s counsel won’t settle or try the claim solely to make such claims painful for the carrier or employer.
Gene’s Thoughts on Small IL WC Claims That Sit Forever.
I assure my readers there needs to be a requirement our IL WC claims are “large” or “small.” Right now, the Muni Courts in Cook County separate claims under $30K to a special docket that handles them well. Judges and litigants in the Muni courts know they have a simple requirement—get your claims and litigation to end in a year or so.
The worry I now have is JB Pritzker who is almost certain to be elected in less than a month. He is going to hire new administrators that may let claims sit for decades—Pritzker’s goal is to award the Plaintiff-bar for their support for his nutty candidacy.
Why Is Such Fast-Track Administrative Handling Important for Both Sides in the IL WC Matrix?
Well, it isn’t hard to fathom. If you have a claim for a broken pinky toe, the best way for a Claimant lawyer to make it more valuable is to quietly STALL. The longer the claim goes, the more money the insurance carrier or self-insured employer will invest to get rid of it and take it off their docket. Defense counsels are made to look like they have no control while claims wait to go over the “red line” at two-and-a-half years. That is exactly how the IL WC system is NOT supposed to work. The idea is to insure certainty of benefits and fair payment of medical bills, lost time and permanency/impairment. Lawyers shouldn’t be allowed to maximize value of small claims by stalling.
We urge the IWCC to consider creating a small claims and large claims system to make sense of handling of such litigation. There is no reason a soft-tissue back strain should sit for three years or more. We need to get folks to MMI and then back to work and move the claim forward.
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Synopsis: The Importance of Surveillance in IL WC—My vote for your next surveillance job is Dean Gluth of Infomax.
Editor’s comment: IL WC Defense is characterized by one interesting concept—there is little formal pre-trial “discovery” to allow the parties to get a sense of the other side’s claim. One way to get defense information on a moderate to major IL WC claim is surveillance. Even surveillance the provides a normal picture of Claimant can be helpful, if the injured worker comes in to whine, whine and whine some more during a pre-trial or trial about their post-injury condition. If surveillance documents recovery or MMI to full duty, you may have a winner.
The best IL surveillance maven is easy to locate—Dean Gluth of Infomax. if you have the ability to hire him within your WC insurance protocols, consider doing so.
I have seen numerous WC claims across the country turn in the employer’s favor when good surveillance protocols, like those used by Dean Gluth, are followed. Please also remember if surveillance documents an injured worker who truly appears to be suffering from the effects of a serious injury, you have done your job to document, document, document your file to justify the ongoing payment of benefits. My vote—if a worker is off work for six months or more, consider calling Dean Gluth to insure you are paying benefits when benefits are due.
Dean Gluth does solid work and holds all the appropriate certifications.
"The Super Sleuth"
Licensed Private Detective (IL, IN, WI)
InfoMAX Investigations, Inc.
P.O. Box 681175
Schaumburg, IL 60168
* Board Member (Member At Large) NCISS (National Council of Investigation & Security Services)
* Board Member ADSAI (Associated Detectives & Security Agencies of Illinois)
* Member INSPI (Indiana Society of Professional Investigators)
* Member IAPI (Indiana Association of Professional Investigators)
* Member PAWLI (Professional Association of Wisconsin Licensed Investigators)
* Member ILAPPS (Illinois Association of Professional Process Servers)
* Member Illinois Chamber of Commerce (and on their Illinois WC Reform Committee)
* Board Member IDFPR (Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation)
President / Licensed Private Detective (IL, IN & WI) InfoMAX Investigations, Inc.
IL Workers' Compensation
Preferred Provider Program with Shawn Biery, J.D.
Tuesday | October 30th, 2018
11:00am - 12:30pm
Join the Illinois Chamber and Shawn R. Biery from Keefe, Campbell, Biery & Associates for a webinar on October 30, 2018 to learn about Preferred Provider Programs as they relate to Illinois Workers’ Compensation.
Shawn will summarize the language of the Illinois WC Act and the path of PPPs in Illinois from legislation to implementation and current updates. Learn the potential impact on Workers’ Compensation if you join a PPP and potential strategies to increase your ability to manage workers’ compensation claims and navigate the medical issues which create much of the stress and drama involved with workers’ compensation.