Definition of Employer – Employee Under The Illinois Workers Compensation Act: Independent Contractors.

Almost every employee in Illinois that is hired, or whose employment happens in the State of Illinois, is probably covered by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act for work-related injuries from the moment they begin their employment. However, there are situations where an employee may not be an employee covered under the Act because of the way the law defines an “employee” covered under the Act. In this regard, it is important to understand how the Act defines “employer,” and “employee.”

The most applicable Section of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act for those in the private sector (not employed by the State) is 820 ILCS 305(b)(2). This law states that an employee hired in Illinois to work in Illinois is “every person in the service of another under any contract of hire, express or implied, oral or written.” In most cases, a “covered” employee will be able to obtain benefits, and be determined to be an employee, within the legal limits, under 305(b)(2).

However, there is a wrinkle in the Act that many companies want to take advantage of: The “Independent” worker, commonly called an “independent contractor” wrinkle. Specifically, an independent contractor is not an employee under the Act and is not entitled to benefits. Bauer v. Industrial Commission, 282 N.E.2d 448 (1972). Often an employer will try to avoid paying workers’ compensation benefits by trying to classify their employees as independent workers, pay them as a “1099” employee without paying taxes, and tell their employees that they are independent contractors and not entitled to employee benefits. However, unlike other areas of the law, the designation in a contract that a petitioner is an independent contractor is of “lesser weight.” Ware v. Industrial Commission, 318 Ill.App.3d 1117, 743 N.E.2d 579 at 583, 252 Ill.Dec. 711 (1st Dist. 2000). .

This means that, if a worker gets injured, and the employer attempts to avoid liability by labeling that worker as an “independent contractor,” that doesn’t mean that they are necessarily an independent contractor. A review of the injured workers’ particular situation will be necessary. It is absolutely vital you speak with an attorney if you are denied based on being classified as a “independent contractor” in your case because you may be losing out on benefits that you are entitled to!

If you, or a loved one, has been injured at work, then you need information about your rights. At Shunneson Law Office, I am devoted to demanding an insurance company cover your injuries following accidents. Call (847) 693-9120 for more information or contact us to schedule a consultation. Located in Lake County, Illinois, with meeting locations throughout Chicago, we have the ability to meet with you at any convenient Chicagoland location from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday – Friday. However, evening and weekend appointments are available upon request by calling 847.693.9120.

-Drake Shunneson (copyright 2012)

NOTICE: The materials provided are for informational purposes only and should not be viewed as legal advice. It may also be viewed as advertising material. You should contact us directly, or your attorney, to obtain advice to any issue or problems. This article, by itself, does not create an attorney-client relationship and the opinions are those of the individual author and do not reflect the opinions of the Law Office or any other individual, attorney, entity or individual. Photos courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net While the author has utilized his experience and knowledge of workers compensation law in writing this article, as well as many articles, books, statutes, regulatory rules, treatises, and internet sources, some of the ideas and material for this article were obtained from the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education’s Illinois Workers’ Compensation Practice Guide (2011), which deserves special recognition.

 

Definition of Employer and Employee under the Illinois Workers Compensation Act.

Almost every employee in Illinois that is hired, or whose employment is localized in the State of Illinois is going to be covered by the Act for work-related injuries from the moment they begin their employment. However, there are situations where an employee may not be an employee covered under the Act. In this regard, it is important to understand how the Act defines “employer,” “employee,” as well as §1(a)(3) of the Act (regarding certain types of employment) to more accurately understand why any particular employee is covered by the Act or why an employee might not be covered by the Act.

Under 820 ILCS 305/1(a) , employer means:

  1. The State and each county, city, town, township, incorporated village, school district, body politic, or municipal corporation therein.
  2. Every person, firm, public or private corporation, including hospitals, public service, eleemosynary, religious or charitable corporations or associations who has any person in service or under any contract for hire, express or implied, oral or written, and who is engaged in any of the enterprises or businesses enumerated in Section 3 of this Act, or who at or prior to the time of the accident to the employee for which compensation under this Act may be claimed, has in the manner provided in this Act elected to become subject to the provisions of this Act, and who has not, prior to such accident, effected a withdrawal of such election in the manner provided in this Act.

820 ILCS 305/1(a)(3), among other provisions, provides that anyone engaged in any business or enterprise involving the erection, maintaining, removing, remodeling, altering or demolishing of any structure or in construction, excavating or electrical work must pay compensation both to its own immediate employees and, if it directly or indirectly engages any contractor or subcontractor to do any of the work, to the employees of the contractor or subcontractor if, in fact, that contractor or subcontractor is uninsured. If the employer pays the compensation, it may recover from the contractor or subcontractor the amount that it has been held to pay.

This Section has been given a broad understanding such that even someone who is simply using a building for storage has been held to be in the business of maintaining a building. See Fefferman v. Industrial Comm’n, 375 N.E.2d 1277 (1978). However, it is important to note that the liability discussed in 820 ILCS 305/1(a)(3), is not applicable where the accident does not occur on, in, or about the immediate premises on which a principal has contracted that the work be done. 820 ILCS 305/1(a)(3). Additionally, the payment of compensation to an employee of an uninsured contractor or subcontractor does not necessarily create an employment relationship between the employer paying the compensation and the employee receiving the compensation. Laffoon v. Bell, 359 N.E.2d 125 (1977)

Under 820 ILCS 305/1(b), employee means:

  1. Every person in the service of the State, including members of the General Assembly, members of the Commerce Commission, members of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, and all persons in the service of the University of Illinois, county, including deputy sheriffs and assistant state’s attorneys, city, town, township, incorporated village or school district, body politic, or municipal corporation therein, whether by election, under appointment or contract of hire, express or implied, oral or written, including all members of the Illinois National Guard while on active duty in the service of the State, and all probation personnel of the Juvenile Court appointed pursuant to Article VI of the Juvenile Court Act of 1987, and including any official of the State, any county, city, town, township, incorporated village, school district, body politic or municipal corporation therein except any duly appointed member of a police department in any city whose population exceeds 500,000 according to the last Federal or State census, and except any member of a fire insurance patrol maintained by a board of underwriters in this State. A duly appointed member of a fire department in any city, the population of which exceeds 500,000 according to the last federal or State census, is an employee under this Act only with respect to claims brought under paragraph (c) of Section 8. One employed by a contractor who has contracted with the State, or a county, city, town, township, incorporated village, school district, body politic or municipal corporation therein, through its representatives, is not considered as an employee of the State, county, city, town, township, incorporated village, school district, body politic or municipal corporation which made the contract.
  2. Every person in the service of another under any contract of hire, express or implied, oral or written, including persons whose employment is outside of the State of Illinois where the contract of hire is made within the State of Illinois, persons whose employment results in fatal or non-fatal injuries within the State of Illinois where the contract of hire is made outside of the State of Illinois, and persons whose employment is principally localized within the State of Illinois, regardless of the place of the accident or the place where the contract of hire was made, and including aliens, and minors who, for the purpose of this Act are considered the same and have the same power to contract, receive payments and give quittances therefor, as adult employees.
  3. Every sole proprietor and every partner of a business may elect to be covered by this Act. An employee or his dependents under this Act who shall have a cause of action by reason of any injury, disablement or death arising out of and in the course of his employment may elect to pursue his remedy in the State where injured or disabled, or in the State where the contract of hire is made, or in the State where the employment is principally localized.

However, any employer may elect to provide and pay compensation to any employee other than those engaged in the usual course of the trade, business, profession or occupation of the employer by complying with Sections 2 and 4 of this Act. Employees are not included within the provisions of this Act when excluded by the laws of the United States relating to liability of employers to their employees for personal injuries where such laws are held to be exclusive.

The term “employee” does not include persons performing services as real estate broker, broker-salesman, or salesman when such persons are paid by commission only.

Of course, this definition has many interpretations and a review of case law is necessary to fully understand who is, and who is not an employee. In general though, whether an individual qualifies as an employee under the Act is a question of fact and the Commission has a very wide discretion in making this determination. Associates Corp. v. Industrial Comm’n, 522 N.E.2d 102 (3d Dist. 1988). See also Chicago Housing Auth. v. IC, 608 N.E.2d 385 (1992). See also Jackson v. Back of Yards, 608 N.E.2d 124 (1st Dist. 1992).

If you, or a loved one, has been injured at work, then you need information about your rights. At Shunneson Law Office, I am devoted to demanding an insurance company cover your injuries following accidents. Call (847) 693-9120 for more information or contact us to schedule a consultation. Located in Lake County, Illinois, with meeting locations throughout Chicago, we have the ability to meet with you at any convenient Chicagoland location from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday – Friday. However, evening and weekend appointments are available upon request by calling 847.693.9120.

-Drake Shunneson (copyright 2012)

NOTICE: The materials provided are for informational purposes only and should not be viewed as legal advice. It may also be viewed as advertising material. You should contact us directly, or your attorney, to obtain advice to any issue or problems. This article, by itself, does not create an attorney-client relationship and the opinions are those of the individual author and do not reflect the opinions of the Law Office or any other individual, attorney, entity or individual. Photos courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net While the author has utilized his experience and knowledge of workers compensation law in writing this article, as well as many articles, books, statutes, regulatory rules, treatises, and internet sources, some of the ideas and material for this article were obtained from the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education’s Illinois Workers’ Compensation Practice Guide (2011), which deserves special recognition.

 

Employees Covered Under the Workers’ Compensation Act

It almost goes without saying that an individual must be an “employee” of an “employer” in order to qualify for Workers’ Compensation benefits. Fortunately, almost every employee in Illinois that is hired, or whose employment is localized in the State of Illinois is going to be covered by the Act for work-related injuries from the moment they begin their employment. However, there are situations where an employee of an employer may, arguably, not be an employee covered under the Act. In this regard, the Act categorizes employees in three different ways.

First, the Act applies automatically, and without election, to most government organizations including any “State, county, town, township, incorporated village or school district, body politic or municipal corporation.” 820 ILCS 305/3

Second, any person, firm, public or private corporation (including hospitals), public service, eleemosynary, religious, or charitable corporations or associations who has any other person in its employment that has elected to become subject to the Act prior to the accident is covered under the Act. Most businesses have so elected.

Third, any person, firm, public or private corporation (including hospitals), public service, eleemosynary, religious, or charitable corporations or associations who has any other person in its employment and who is engaged in any enterprise, undertaking or businesses that are declared by §3 of the Act to be “extrahazardous” is covered under the Act. 820 ILCS 305/1 et seq.

Interestingly, and as will be discussed in later Articles, the Act’s definition of “extrahazardous” is extraordinarily different than the common meaning of that word and its breadth is such that it covers many workers.

If you, or a loved one, has been injured at work, then you need information about your rights. At Shunneson Law Office, I am devoted to demanding an insurance company cover your injuries following accidents. Call (847) 693-9120 for more information or contact us to schedule a consultation. Located in Lake County, Illinois, with meeting locations throughout Chicago, we have the ability to meet with you at any convenient Chicagoland location from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday – Friday. However, evening and weekend appointments are available upon request by calling 847.693.9120.

-Drake Shunneson (copyright 2012)

NOTICE: The materials provided are for informational purposes only and should not be viewed as legal advice. It may also be viewed as advertising material. You should contact us directly, or your attorney, to obtain advice to any issue or problems. This article, by itself, does not create an attorney-client relationship and the opinions are those of the individual author and do not reflect the opinions of the Law Office or any other individual, attorney, entity or individual. Photos courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net While the author has utilized his experience and knowledge of workers compensation law in writing this article, as well as many articles, books, statutes, regulatory rules, treatises, and internet sources, some of the ideas and material for this article were obtained from the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education’s Illinois Workers’ Compensation Practice Guide (2011), which deserves special recognition.

The Purpose of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission

The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act is designed to give injured workers a “quick and efficient remedy” to receive the benefits they deserve, to resolve disputes between employees and employers regarding the amount of benefits the injured workers deserve, or to protect the rights of third-parties to reimbursement (such as your physicians or hospitals looking to get paid for providing services). In order to accomplish this goal, the legislature has established an administrative agency called the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. For a typical case, all that is necessary for the employee to know is that this agency hires a group of people to act as “arbitrators” that are assigned to decide cases. Most Workers’ Compensation attorneys view this individual as the “judge.”

Of course, this state body must be impartial and, as such, the staff at the Commission will only explain procedures, but will not do work for you, or advocate for either the employee or employer, and will be very hesitant to give you any legal advice, guidance, or information, even if it concerns basic provisions of the law unless the question pertains solely to procedural questions.

If you, or a loved one, has been injured at work, then you need information about your rights. At Shunneson Law Office, I am devoted to demanding an insurance company cover your injuries following accidents. Call (847) 693-9120 for more information or contact us to schedule a consultation. Located in Lake County, Illinois, with meeting locations throughout Chicago, we have the ability to meet with you at any convenient Chicagoland location from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday – Friday. However, evening and weekend appointments are available upon request by calling 847.693.9120.

-Drake Shunneson (copyright 2012)

NOTICE: The materials provided are for informational purposes only and should not be viewed as legal advice. It may also be viewed as advertising material. You should contact us directly, or your attorney, to obtain advice to any issue or problems. This article, by itself, does not create an attorney-client relationship and the opinions are those of the individual author and do not reflect the opinions of the Law Office or any other individual, attorney, entity or individual. While the author has utilized his experience and knowledge of workers compensation law in writing this article, as well as many articles, books, statutes, regulatory rules, treatises, and internet sources, some of the ideas and material for this article were obtained from the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education’s Illinois Workers’ Compensation Practice Guide (2011), which deserves special recognition.

Exclusivity Provisions of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act: Borrowed Employees

As a trade-off for automatic, fixed payment of Workers’ Compensation benefits without regard to fault, the Workers’ Compensation Act is the “exclusive remedy” against an employer or its’ insured for compensable work-related injuries. Sharp v. Gallagher, 447 N.E.2d 786 (1983). The exclusivity provisions also will generally prohibit an employee from suing an employer, its insured, or employees (co-workers) in a state court for injuries suffered while that employee is on loan to another company. This doctrine is known as the “borrowed employee” doctrine. Willfong v. Dean Evans Co., 287 Ill.App.3d 1099, 679 N.E.2d 1252, 223 Ill.Dec. 479 (4th Dist. 1997).

In a situation where an injured worker is a borrowed employee, the injured worker can, and should, file a claim against both employers at the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. Even though the worker cannot maintain a lawsuit in state court against borrowing or lending employers, both employers are responsible (known as “jointly and severally” liable) for paying Workers’ Compensation benefits to the injured worker in most situations. 820 ILCS 305/1(a)(4).

For example, if a backhoe operator is on loan to another company and accidentally strikes, and injures, a co-worker, then the injured co-worker would be barred from filing a lawsuit in state court seeking damages against the borrowing employer or his own employer under §5 of the Act, but could maintain a claim against both employers before the Commission. As an aside, it is also important employees are aware that the Act could also bar an employee from filing a medical malpractice claim in state court against a company physician because that physician may be labeled a “co-employee” by the Commission. Unger v. Continental Assurance Co., 481 N.E.2d 68. See also Lagerstrom v. Dupre, 542 N.E.2d 73 (Il. App. 1st Dist. 1989).

Illinois follows a two-part test to determine whether an employee is a borrowed employee. First, whether the borrower employer had the right to directly control the manner in which the injured worker performed the work. Second, whether there existed a contract of hire, either express or implied, between the injured worker and the employer. Barraza v. Tootsie Roll Industries, Inc., 294 Ill.App.3d 539, 690 N.E.2d 612, 228 Ill.Dec. 853 (1st Dist. 1997).

If you, or a loved one, has been injured at work, then you need information about your rights. At Shunneson Law Office, I am devoted to demanding an insurance company cover your injuries following accidents. Call (847) 693-9120 for more information or contact us to schedule a consultation. Located in Lake County, Illinois, with meeting locations throughout Chicago, we have the ability to meet with you at any convenient Chicagoland location from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday – Friday. However, evening and weekend appointments are available upon request by calling 847.693.9120.

-Drake Shunneson (copyright 2012)

NOTICE: The materials provided are for informational purposes only and should not be viewed as legal advice. It may also be viewed as advertising material. You should contact us directly, or your attorney, to obtain advice to any issue or problems. This article, by itself, does not create an attorney-client relationship and the opinions are those of the individual author and do not reflect the opinions of the Law Office or any other individual, attorney, entity or individual. While the author has utilized his experience and knowledge of workers compensation law in writing this article, as well as many articles, books, statutes, regulatory rules, treatises, and internet sources, some of the ideas and material for this article were obtained from the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education’s Illinois Workers’ Compensation Practice Guide (2011), which deserves special recognition.

Exclusivity Provisions of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act: Dual-Capacity Doctrine

As a trade-off for automatic, fixed payment of Workers’ Compensation benefits without regard to fault, the Workers’ Compensation Act is the “exclusive remedy” against an employer or its’ insured for compensable work-related injuries. Sharp v. Gallagher, 447 N.E.2d 786 (1983). This exclusivity provision, however, is not a bar to suing employers that are operating in a “dual-capacity” with regards to an injured worker. Under the “dual-capacity” doctrine, an employer may be sued in a state court if he or she acted in a second capacity that created obligations independent of those imposed on the defendant as an employer. Kolacki v. Verink, 384 Ill. App. 3d 674, 681, 893 N.E.2d 717, 724-25 (2008). A plaintiff (the injured worker who is suing an employer), must allege dual capacity in his or her lawsuit. Additionally, the plaintiff carries the burden of proving: (a) that the defendant operated in a second capacity, separate and distinct from his or her first capacity as the plaintiff’s employer, co-employee, or agent and (b) that the plaintiff was injured by the defendant as a result of the activities performed by the defendant while engaging in that second capacity. Id. In some cases, Illinois Courts may also require an employee to show that there was an intent to actually injure the employee (because the Workers’ Compensation Act covers “accidental injuries” and intentional injuries are not accidental). See Bercaw v. Domino’s Pizza, Inc., 258 Ill.App.3d 211, 630 N.E.2d 166, 196 Ill.Dec. 469 (2d Dist. 1994), citing Copass v. Illinois Power Co., 211 Ill.App.3d 205, 569 N.E.2d 1211, 155 Ill.Dec. 600 (4th Dist. 1991).

As a general rule, a plaintiff will not be able to satisfy this test when the plaintiff’s job duties are so intertwined that the defendant’s conduct in the second capacity does not generate any additional obligations that are unrelated to those flowing from the defendant’s first capacity as employer, co-employee, or agent. Kolacki v. Verink, 384 Ill. App. 3d 674, 681, 893 N.E.2d 717(2008). See Fitzgerald v. Pratt, 223 Ill.App.3d 785, 585 N.E.2d 1222, 166 Ill.Dec. 200 (5th Dist. 1992). James v. Caterpillar, Inc., 242 Ill.App.3d 538, 611 N.E.2d 95, 183 Ill.Dec. 242 (5th Dist. 1993).

If you, or a loved one, has been injured at work, then you need information about your rights. At Shunneson Law Office, I am devoted to demanding an insurance company cover your injuries following accidents. Call (847) 693-9120 for more information or contact us to schedule a consultation. Located in Lake County, Illinois, with meeting locations throughout Chicago, we have the ability to meet with you at any convenient Chicagoland location from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday – Friday. However, evening and weekend appointments are available upon request by calling 847.693.9120.

-Drake Shunneson (copyright 2012)

NOTICE: The materials provided are for informational purposes only and should not be viewed as legal advice. It may also be viewed as advertising material. You should contact us directly, or your attorney, to obtain advice to any issue or problems. This article, by itself, does not create an attorney-client relationship and the opinions are those of the individual author and do not reflect the opinions of the Law Office or any other individual, attorney, entity or individual. Photos courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net While the author has utilized his experience and knowledge of workers compensation law in writing this article, as well as many articles, books, statutes, regulatory rules, treatises, and internet sources, some of the ideas and material for this article were obtained from the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education’s Illinois Workers’ Compensation Practice Guide (2011), which deserves special recognition.

Exclusivity Provisions of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act

As a trade-off for automatic, fixed payment of Workers’ Compensation benefits without regard to fault, the Workers’ Compensation Act is the “exclusive remedy” against an employer or its’ insured for compensable work-related injuries. Sharp v. Gallagher, 447 N.E.2d 786 (1983). The “exclusive remedy” provisions mean that employees will be deprived of the right to sue their employers in a state court. It also usually bars an employee from suing any co-employee that injured the employee.

In Illinois, this section is located at 820 ILCS 305/5, which states:

No common law or statutory right to recover damages from the employer… or the agents or employees [of the employer] for injury or death sustained by any employee while engaged in the line of his duty as such employee, other than the compensation herein provided, is available to any employee who is covered by the provisions of this Act (except for illegally employed minors/legal representatives of such minors, can file rejection of these rights if done timely, which is usually about 6 months after the date of injury/death by filing a document with the Commission. Even if not rejected, the Commission must approve a waiver of rejection before any payments are made). 820 ILCS 305/5(a)

Similarly, §11 states:

The compensation herein provided, together with the provisions of this Act, shall be the measure of the responsibility of any employer engaged in any of the enterprises or businesses enumerated in Section 3 of this Act, or of any employer who is not engaged in any such enterprises or businesses, but who has elected to provide and pay compensation for accidental injuries sustained by any employee arising out of and in the course of the employment according to the provisions of this Act, and whose election to continue under this Act, has not been nullified by any action of his employees as provided for in this Act.

If you, or a loved one, has been injured at work, then you need information about your rights. At Shunneson Law Office, I am devoted to demanding an insurance company cover your injuries following accidents. Call (847) 693-9120 for more information or contact us to schedule a consultation. Located in Lake County, Illinois, with meeting locations throughout Chicago, we have the ability to meet with you at any convenient Chicagoland location from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday – Friday. However, evening and weekend appointments are available upon request by calling 847.693.9120.

-Drake Shunneson (copyright 2012)

NOTICE: The materials provided are for informational purposes only and should not be viewed as legal advice. It may also be viewed as advertising material. You should contact us directly, or your attorney, to obtain advice to any issue or problems. This article, by itself, does not create an attorney-client relationship and the opinions are those of the individual author and do not reflect the opinions of the Law Office or any other individual, attorney, entity or individual. Photos courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net While the author has utilized his experience and knowledge of workers compensation law in writing this article, as well as many articles, books, statutes, regulatory rules, treatises, and internet sources, some of the ideas and material for this article were obtained from the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education’s Illinois Workers’ Compensation Practice Guide (2011), which deserves special recognition.

Jurisdiction of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission

Jurisdiction is the right of a government body to hear and enter decisions in a case. The question of “jurisdiction” is usually only an issue for individuals who work outside of the State of Illinois, but whose work either began in Illinois or that frequently occurs in Illinois. What is surprising to many injured workers is that just because they got hurt working outside of Illinois, they may still be able to file a claim, be heard, and obtain compensation from the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission if they can prove the Commission has jurisdiction to hear the case. In this regard, in order for an injured worker to obtain compensation from the Illinois Workers Compensation Commission, the Commission must have jurisdiction over the case. §1(b)(2) of the Act gives the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission jurisdiction over claims of “[e]very person in the service of another under any contract of hire, express or implied, oral or written, including persons whose employment is outside of the State of Illinois where the contract of hire is made within the State of Illinois, persons whose employment results in fatal or non-fatal injuries within the State of Illinois where the contract for hire is made outside the State of Illinois, and persons whose employment is principally localized within the State of Illinois, regardless of the place of accident or the place where the contract for hire was made.” 820 ILCS 305/1(b)(2). See also Cowger v. Industrial Commission, 313 Ill.App.3d 364, 728 N.E.2d 789, 793, 245 Ill.Dec. 707 (5th Dist. 2000).

This means that the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission generally has jurisdiction over a claim when:

  1. The contract for hire was made in Illinois; or
  2. The accident occurred in Illinois; or
  3. The claimant’s employment was principally located in Illinois. See Mahoney v. Industrial Commission, 218 Ill.2d 358, 843 N.E.2d 317, 300 Ill.Dec. 59 (2006).

In most cases, the most important element in establishing jurisdiction is where the location of the contract for hire was created. However, court decisions have allowed for compensation based on a “substantial state interest” theory. See Chambers v. Industrial Commission of Illinois, 139 Ill.App.3d 550, 487 N.E.2d 1142, 1145, 94 Ill.Dec. 265 (1st Dist. 1985).

If you have been injured in an accident outside of Illinois, but think you might have a claim that could be heard by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, you should contact a knowledgeable attorney for more information.

If you, or a loved one, has been injured at work, then you need information about your rights. At Shunneson Law Office, I am devoted to demanding an insurance company cover your injuries following accidents. Call (847) 693-9120 for more information or contact us to schedule a consultation. Located in Lake County, Illinois, with meeting locations throughout Chicago, we have the ability to meet with you at any convenient Chicagoland location from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday – Friday. However, evening and weekend appointments are available upon request by calling 847.693.9120.

-Drake Shunneson (copyright 2012)

NOTICE: The materials provided are for informational purposes only and should not be viewed as legal advice. It may also be viewed as advertising material. You should contact us directly, or your attorney, to obtain advice to any issue or problems. This article, by itself, does not create an attorney-client relationship and the opinions are those of the individual author and do not reflect the opinions of the Law Office or any other individual, attorney, entity or individual. Photos courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net While the author has utilized his experience and knowledge of workers compensation law in writing this article, as well as many articles, books, statutes, regulatory rules, treatises, and internet sources, some of the ideas and material for this article were obtained from the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education’s Illinois Workers’ Compensation Practice Guide (2011), which deserves special recognition.

Basic Elements an Employee Must Prove in an Illinois Workers’ Compensation Case

In Illinois, the employee carries the “burden of proof” that he or she was injured in an injury covered by the Act. Fortunately, most employees will not have a difficult time proving this is the case. In this regard, all that an employee needs to prove in an Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act claim is that he or she, by a preponderance of the evidence, was [a.] an employee of the employer that “[b.] sustained accidental injuries [personal injuries or acquired an occupational disease as defined by the OD Act][c.] arising out of and [d.] in the course of the employment.820 ILCS 305/1. Note that, to be compensable under the Act, an injury to an employee must arise both out of the employment and in the course of the employment.

If you, or a loved one, has been injured at work, then you need information about your rights. At Shunneson Law Office, I am devoted to demanding an insurance company cover your injuries following accidents. Call (847) 693-9120 for more information or contact us to schedule a consultation. Located in Lake County, Illinois, with meeting locations throughout Chicago, we have the ability to meet with you at any convenient Chicagoland location from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday – Friday. However, evening and weekend appointments are available upon request by calling 847.693.9120.

-Drake Shunneson (copyright 2012)

NOTICE: The materials provided are for informational purposes only and should not be viewed as legal advice. It may also be viewed as advertising material. You should contact us directly, or your attorney, to obtain advice to any issue or problems. This article, by itself, does not create an attorney-client relationship and the opinions are those of the individual author and do not reflect the opinions of the Law Office or any other individual, attorney, entity or individual. Photos courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net While the author has utilized his experience and knowledge of workers compensation law in writing this article, as well as many articles, books, statutes, regulatory rules, treatises, and internet sources, some of the ideas and material for this article were obtained from the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education’s Illinois Workers’ Compensation Practice Guide (2011), which deserves special recognition.

Purpose of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act

In Illinois, Workers’ Compensation is designed to promote the general welfare by providing compensation for accidental injuries, illnesses, or death suffered in the course of employment to most workers with job-related injuries. According to the Supreme Court of Illinois, “the primary purpose of the Act is to provide employees a prompt, sure, and definite compensation, together with a quick and efficient remedy for injuries or death suffered by such employees in the course of their employment (O’Brien v. Chicago City Railway Co. 305 Ill. 244; Raymond v. Industrial Com. 354 Ill. 586) and to require the cost of such injuries to be borne by the industry itself and not by its individual members.” O’Brien v. Rautenbush, 10Ill. 2d 167 (1956). In other words, the purpose is to provide protection to employees by providing them with prompt, and equitable, compensation for their injuries. The Act is a substitute from the harsh fault-based common-law rights and liabilities of employees and employers regarding work-related injuries or deaths. In this regard, the Act requires payment of benefits regardless of fault.  This means that the general requirement for an injured party to prove the other party was at fault for their injury  is not applicable to Workers Compensation cases. In this way, the Act provides financial protections for injured workers by providing benefits to those workers without forcing them to show negligence on the part of the employer. Under the Act an injured or sick worker can receive a portion of their wages, medical benefits, and expenses.

The Act also frees injured workers from harsh common-law defenses. For example, employees will not be punished for making a mistake because the Act prohibits a reduction in those benefits under the common-law defense of “contributory negligence.”

If you, or a loved one, has been injured at work, then you need information about your rights. At Shunneson Law Office, I am devoted to demanding an insurance company cover your injuries following accidents. Call 847.693.9120 for more information or contact us to schedule a consultation. Located in Lake County, Illinois, with meeting locations throughout Chicago, we have the ability to meet with you at any convenient Chicagoland location from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday – Friday. However, evening and weekend appointments are available upon request by calling 847.693.9120.

-Drake Shunneson (copyright 2012)

NOTICE: The materials provided are for informational purposes only and should not be viewed as legal advice. It may also be viewed as advertising material. You should contact us directly, or your attorney, to obtain advice to any issue or problems. This article, by itself, does not create an attorney-client relationship and the opinions are those of the individual author and do not reflect the opinions of the Law Office or any other individual, attorney, entity or individual. Photos courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net While the author has utilized his experience and knowledge of workers compensation law in writing this article, as well as many articles, books, statutes, regulatory rules, treatises, and internet sources, some of the ideas and material for this article were obtained from the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education’s Illinois Workers’ Compensation Practice Guide (2011), which deserves special recognition.