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10 South LaSalle Street, Suite 900, Chicago, IL 60603

211 Landmark Drive, Suite C2, Normal, IL 61761

211 North Broadway, Suite 2200, St. Louis, MO 63102

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Limiting The Impact of Opioids

April 2019

By: Francis M. Brady

Outside of “medical marijuana,” the term most often heard recently regarding healthcare in Illinois, and by extension, workers’ compensation practice, is “opioid crisis.” Unlike the alarm over marijuana, where there is no actual experience underlying the sense of foreboding, concerns over opioid usage are founded upon hard data.1

Per the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), opioids are “a class of drugs that include heroin; common prescription pain relievers such as oxycodone and hydrocodone (Vicodin, Percocet, Oxycontin); and, synthetically manufactured analogs such as Fentanyl.” The IDPH warns that “…physical tolerance to opioids can develop in as few as 2-3 days of continuous use...opioids affect respiratory regulation of the brain and an overdose can cause someone to stop breathing…”

Stormy Weather for Parking Lot Falls

April 2019

By: Charles M. Maring, II

Employee accidents in parking lots on the employers' premises can present a "slippery" analysis in determining compensability. A recent decision from the Court of Appeals, Cher Smith v. IWCC et al., suggests a new standard for determining compensability in these cases.

Before discussing the case facts, we should point out a procedural issue. The Smith case was decided under Rule 23 meaning it will not be published and is not controlling on any future case. That could change but as of right now, publication is not expected.

“The Hand That Feeds Us”

April 2019

By: Steven L. Miller

The Illinois Appellate Court recently addressed the issue of whether an employee’s repetitive movement while on the job constituted an “accident” as defined by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act.

The petitioner, best described as a “waitress/trainer/manager” was, on a busy day at a restaurant chain, keeping the dining room clean and moving quickly to keep up with the flow of customers. Although she was a manager, she started bussing tables herself and carrying tubs of dirty dishes out of the dining room to help keep things tidy. She testified that she was “busy as all get out,” which Merriam-Webster defines as “to the utmost conceivable degree.” While swiftly wiping down a table, she felt and heard a loud “pop” in her right hand. The petitioner ultimately was off of work for over 2 1/2 years and underwent five surgeries to her hand/thumb. After deciding to forego a recommended thumb amputation, she received permanent restrictions.

What About My Credit?

January 2019

By: Francis M. Brady and Farrah L. Hagan

Some years back, the Appellate Court taught an anatomy lesson. The shoulder, it concluded in the case of Will County Forest Preserve v IWCC, is not part of the worker’s arm, but of her body as a whole. At first blush, that holding’s effect on the issue of credit seems to be for- ward looking: since shoulder injuries were reclassified from specific loss awards to recoveries under the whole person, they are no longer available to offset future accidents.

But while Will County clearly has that impact on damages paid after its date, less clear is how it operates on compensation recovered for upper extremity injuries before its decision. Specifically, can a Respondent use the prior settlement or award to reduce the value of a claim for the same arm the worker brings after Will County? Take, for example, a situation involving a worker diagnosed with SLAP lesion and tears of the labrum and rotator cuff due to a post-Will County accident. The worker’s attorney insists the case is worth full value. Investigation, however, reveals the worker got 25% loss of use of the arm in a settlement before Will County. Does that prior recovery afford leverage to negotiate the worker’s lawyer off his full value demand?

“Oh! What A Tangled Web”

January 2019

By: Farrah L. Hagan

Petitioners can often explain away film of them doing activities outside of their restrictions on just one occasion. The key to effectively using surveillance is to capture more than a single episode. Surveillance is most damning when it shows a pattern of exertion falling outside of existing physical limitations.

Once such surveillance is developed, its existence should be guarded against disclosure. Keeping it secure until trial is often the most effective way of impeaching petitioner’s credibility. Thus, think carefully before sending surveillance video to your IME doctor for review. If you do, you’ll have to turn it over to the petitioner’s attorney before the doctor’s testimony. Once film is in the hands of petitioner, he can inform his testimony accordingly and you can expect he will be ready with an explanation of his activity and how badly he felt afterwards.

New Legislation Allows More Comp Litigation 1.

December 2018

By: Francis M. Brady

Hornets! Nine hundred and four!
We scream as we race for the door.
Though the swarm's now arising
Is that really surprising?
Its nest had been built long before.

Medical care rendered after November 27, 2018, for work-related injuries, imposes additional responsibilities on Business. 2.

Previously, it was obligated to timely pay the cost of the worker's reasonable and necessary medical expenses pursuant to the pricing guidelines of the Illinois Fee Schedule. If it delayed payment, Business risked a proceeding by the worker under Section 8(a) of the Comp Act at the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission to force payment of the bill's principal and interest, and possibly to collect penalties, including attorney's fees.

  • Chicago Bar Association
  • Workers' Compensation Lawyers Association
  • IRTB
  • DRI - The Voice of the Defense Bar
  • The Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel
  • Illinois Self-Insurers' Association
  • Chicago Bar Association
  • Workers' Compensation Lawyers Association
  • IRTB
  • DRI - The Voice of the Defense Bar
  • The Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel
  • Illinois Self-Insurers' Association
10 South LaSalle Street, Suite 900
Chicago, IL 60603
Phone: 312-425-3131
211 Landmark Drive, Suite C2
Normal, IL 61761
Phone: 309-862-4914
One Metropolitan Square
211 North Broadway, Suite 2200
St. Louis, MO 63102
Phone: 314-300-0527
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