“Seeking to help Illinois attract investment, create jobs, and end fraud and abuse,” state Sen. Dale Righter (R-Mattoon) filed legislation that would add “primary causation” to Illinois’ workers’ compensation law.
“For years, a higher percentage of Illinois citizens have been out of work, compared to our neighboring states,” Righter said. “We are plagued by people moving for better jobs to neighboring states and new businesses choosing other states. According to my constituents and business owners in Illinois, a significant reason our state isn’t competitive is because we lack ‘primary causation’ in our workers’ compensation law.”
Righter’s Senate Bill 846 would require an employer’s workers’ compensation insurance to pay a claim only if the employee’s injury was caused primarily by a workplace accident. Under current law, any connection to a workplace accident. Under current law, any connection to a workplace accident, regardless of how remote, obliges the workers’ compensation policy to cover 100 percent of the costs associated with the injury, according to a press release from Righter’s office.
“In far too many instances, our law has allowed simply the slightest connection with the workplace to justify a workers’ compensation policy to pay the entirety of the costs related to an injury. It is unfair and an abuse,” Righter said.
“Requiring primary causation would strike a fair balance.”
Righter estimates that adding “primary causation” to Illinois’ workers’ compensation law would save employers $1 billion per year in reduced insurance premiums. By way of evidence, prepayments point to Indiana and Missouri, where premiums are less than half of what employers pay in Illinois. Twenty-nine states have a more stringent causation standard than Illinois.
“I am optimistic with a governor who understands how to make Illinois competitive, we can make this legislation law,” Righter said. “It’s ridiculous our job creators are on the hook for paying millions in bogus claims. It has to end now.”
Senate Bill 846 also states that if an employee is discharged from his or her employer for cause, then temporary partial disability and temporary total disability payments will not be paid.
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