Workers Compensation' Case Law Updates 2011
Supreme Court of Illinois
Filed December 1, 2011
Don Nowak v. The City of Country Club Hills
OBLIGATION OF EMPLOYER TO PAY HEALTH INSURANCE PREMIUM FOR CATASTROPHICALLY INJURED PEACE OFFICER AND HIS FAMILY—under Public Safety Employee Benefits Act, obligation attaches upon a determination that the officer is permanently disabled, rather than when the office may have sustained the injury.
Appellate Court of Illinois
Filed November 21, 2011
Curtis Burcham v. West Bend Mutual Insurance Company
TRUCK DRIVER INJURED IN MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT ALLEGEDLY CAUSED BY UNINSURED DRIVER—trial court properly allowed claimant to seek compensation for disfigurement within arbitration, under the uninsured motorist coverage of his employers’ motor vehicle policy.
Filed November 16, 2011
Melinda Jacobo v. Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission (New Breed Leasing of Illinois, Inc.)
CLAIMANT ENTITLED TO PENALTIES AND ATTORNEY FEES—the Workers’ Compensation Commission erroneously refused to award penalties and attorney fees where the employer refused to pay the undisputed portions of claimant’s benefits until all appeals were exhausted on unrelated issue.
Filed November 7, 2011
Arcelor Mittal Steel v. Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission et al. (Robert Common, Appellee)
AWARD TO MECHANICAL MAINTENANCE TECHNICIAN FOR RIGHT ARM INJURIES—CALCULATION OF AVERAGE WEEKLY WAGE—overtime wages and production bonuses were properly included in calculation of claimant’s average weekly wage.
Filed October 28, 2011
Clint Mason v. John Boos & Company, Westaff, Inc., and Real Time Staffing Services, Inc.
CIVIL ACTION BARRED UNDER EXCLUSIVE REMEDY PROVISION OF WORKERS’ COMPENSATION ACT—although the temporary staffing agency, which assigned claimant to work at a wood products manufacturing company failed to register as an employee leasing company as required by section 20 of the Employee Leasing Company Act, claimant was barred from a civil action against the temporary staffing agency after receiving workers’ compensation for severe hand injuries suffered while assigned to work at the wood products manufacturing company.
Filed October 28, 2011
Amy Shafer v. Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission et al. (Bill Doran Company, Appellee and Cross-Appellant)
WAREHOUSE WORKER—AWARD FOR NECK AND BACK INJURIES UPHELD—Industrial Commission properly found absence of intervening injuries—employer’s typographical error as to case number on its petition for review did not deprive the Industrial Commission of jurisdiction.
Filed October 6, 2011
William Gross v. Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission et al. (Freeman United Coal Mining Company, Appellees)
OCCUPATIONAL DISEASE—CHRONIC OBSTRUCTIVE PULMONARY DISEASE—Appellate Court reversed finding of Industrial Commission that coal miner’s chronic obstructive pulmonary disease did not arise out of and in the course of his employment, despite a history of cigarette smoking. Although claimant was a heavy smoker for 40 years, his exposure to coal dust for a similar period was a contributing factor to his chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and therefore the Industrial Commission’s denial of his claim was error.
Filed September 29, 2011
Otto Baum Company, Inc. v. Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission et al. (Tim Hilton, Appellees)
AWARD OF TTD BENEFITS UPHELD DESPITE CLAIMANT’S EARLIER REFUSAL TO ACCEPT LIGHT DUTY WORK—TTD benefits were suspended only during periods light duty work was available.
Filed September 23, 2011
Frank Richter v. Village of Oak Brook
FIREFIGHTER--VILLAGE WAS COLLATERALLY STOPPED FROM RELITIGATING ISSUES OF CAUSATION IN ACTION TO HAVE FIREFIGHTER’S HEALTH INSURANCE PREMIUMS PAID UNDER PUBLIC SAFETY EMPLOYEE BENEFITS ACT—earlier awards of compensation by Industrial Commission constituted judgments.
Filed August 15, 2011
David Johnson v. Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission et al. (Sheriff of Will County and Will County, Illinois)
SHERIFF’S DEPUTY, INJURED IN AUTO ACCIDENT WHILE OUTSIDE HIS ASSIGNED PATROL AREA WITHOUT PERMISSION, WAS WITHIN THE COURSE OF HIS EMPLOYMENT AND ENTITLED TO COMPENSATION—the deviation from duties ended when he commenced responding to the dispatcher’s call assigning him to aid another deputy in an arrest within his assigned patrol area.
Filed July 22, 2011
Mary Collins v. The Town of Normal, a Municipal Corporation, Defendant-Appellee
RETALIATORY DISCHARGE ACTION, BASED ON WORKERS’ COMPENSATION ACT, WAS NOT AFFECTED BY ONE-YEAR STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS OF SECTION 8-101(a) OF TORT IMMUNITY ACT.
Filed June 30, 2011
Country Insurance and Financial Services v. Timothy B. Roberts
WORKERS’ COMPENSATION FRAUD—Industrial Commission, not circuit court, had jurisdiction to hear insurer’s complaint, premised on several theories of fraud, to recoup TTD, medical benefits, attorney fees, and cost.
Filed April 28, 2011
Cathy Baldwin v. Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission
LEG AND ANKLE INJURIES FROM FALL AT WORK—claimant, a security guard, failed to establish that two separate falls on a stairwell resulted in compensable injuries.
Filed April 28, 2011
Absolute Cleaning SVMBL v. Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission
AWARD FOR NECK AND BACK INJURIES UPHELD—claimant did not exceed her permitted choice of physicians under section 8 of the Comp. Act, by being treated by two physicians after exhausting the two-physician limitation.
Filed April 27, 2011
Gunther Gassner v. Raynor Manufacturing Company
SETTLEMENT CONTRACT CONTAINING OPEN MEDICAL PROVISION FOLLOWING STAPH INFECTION RESULTING FROM SURGERIES TO REPAIR WORK RELATED BACK INJURY RESULTING FROM A FALL—Appellate Court found settlement contract to be ambiguous and remanded cause to determined if staph infection that damaged claimant’s heart is the same infection that originated in his low back following back surgery.
Filed April 25, 2011
Elgin Board of Education School District U-46 v. Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission
SCHOOL TEACHER—TRAUMA INDUCED HEMARTHROSIS OF KNEE—finding of causal relationship upheld—employer was entitled to credit under section 8 (j) of Compensation Act for wages paid claimant in lieu of TTD.
Filed April 18, 2011
Loryann Johnson v. Ayalnesh A. Tikuye and Amigo Driving School, Defendants (The People ex rel. The Department of Central Management Services, Intervening Plaintiff-Appellant)
EMPLOYER’S WORKERS COMPENSATION LIEN—where State employee received compensation benefits as result of injuries in auto accident determined to be work related and later received less that amount of compensation award in settlement of negligence action against third party tort feasors, the State, as the employer, was entitled to the full amount of the recovery, less attorney fees.
Filed April 11, 2011
Robert Baumgardner v. Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission et al. (County of Cook, Appellee)
MULTIPLE INJURIES TO SAME BODY PART—Industrial Commission properly evaluated the totality of the evidence as related to claimant’s overall condition at the time of its hearing and entered a single award covering the full extent of disability.
Filed April 11, 2011
The City of Chicago v. Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission et al. (Thomas O'Rourke, Appellee)
CLAIMANT WAS NOT ENTITLED TO TWO SEPARATE AWARDS FOR SEPARATE AND DISTINCT INJURIES TO THE SAME BODY PART.
Filed March 28, 2011
William Mulligan v. Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission (Rand McNally, Appellee)
INDUSTRIAL COMMISSION ERRED IN ALLOWING MEDICAL EVIDENCE OVER CLAIMANT'S SECTION 12 OBJECTION THAT NOTICE WAS UNTIMELY.
Filed March 10, 2011
Raul Sanchez v. Rental Service Corporation (Paul's Welding Service, Inc.)
EMPLOYER’S LIEN AGAINST EMPLOYEE’S PERSONAL INJURY SETTLEMENT—section 5(b) of Compensation Act provides for recovery to the employer of the amount of compensation paid, regardless of the identity of the actual party to make the payment.
Filed February 22, 2011
Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago v. Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission, et al. (Ruth Lindquist, Appellant)
FALL ON PUBLIC DRIVEWAY AROSE OUT OF AND IN COURSE OF EMPLOYMENT—accounting clerk was acting within the course of her employment, where she fractured both wrists when she stumbled and fell on a dip in a commercial driveway that she crossed while walking to a bank to deposit checks for her employer—permanent partial disability to extent of 35% loss of use of both hands.
Filed January 31, 2011
Tower Automotive v. Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission, et al. (Robert Nawrot, Appellee)
FORKLIFE OPERATOR—CERVICAL SPINE STENOSIS—DISC HERNIATION—awards for TTD and PPD upheld, but award of $165,289 for medical expense set aside.
Filed January 18, 2011
United Airlines v. Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission and Charlotte Graham, Defendants-Appellees)
BACK INJURY—AWARD OF WAGE DIFFERENTIAL BENEFITS UPHELD—Commission properly refused to allow employer’s expert to give opinion on claimant’s age at the time of her expected exit from the workforce.