A recent editorial about the Illinois workers’ compensation system prompted Illinois Trial Lawyers Association (ITLA) President Todd A. Smith to respond and set the record straight. Mr. Smith told the Chicago Tribune that the recent editorials have again sided with insurance interests and against the rights of injured Illinois workers. Your recent editorials regarding workers compensation shows your paper has once again sided with insurance interests and against the rights of injured Illinois workers. Mr. Smith stated that ITLA’s position has always been in favor of empowering the appropriate authorities, allowing them to crack down on abusers of the system. Any abuse of the workers’ compensation system should not be tolerated. However, Mr. Smith points out that the Chicago Tribune editorials overlook some of the legitimate problems about workers compensation and focus on taking away the rights of Illinois injured workers.
Mr. Smith suggests that a closer look should be taken at the Illinois insurance industry and its lack of regulation. Pending workers’ compensation claims have dropped in Illinois during the last decade from approximately 80,000 to around 50,000; however, insurance company premiums continue to rise. Mr. Smith urges that workers’ rights should be at the forefront of any workers compensation reform debate. Injured Illinois workers should not be subjected to reduced workers’ compensation benefits. Those Illinois injured individuals who are hurt on the job should be allowed to choose their own doctor and have access to quality healthcare. They should also be adequately compensated in the event of an Illinois workplace injury. Most importantly, Mr. Smith stated that the efforts at workers compensation reform should not come at the expense of injured Illinois workers with legitimate honest claims.
Follow the link to the Chicago Tribune to read more about the ITLA response about workers’ compensation reform.