Recreational Marijuana and Workers’ Compensation: What Employers Need to Know

With the impending legalization of recreational marijuana in Illinois on January 1, 2020, employers are abuzz about the potential implications on their operations, particularly how legalization impacts alleged work injuries. Under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, employees found intoxicated at the time of an accident are denied compensation if the intoxication was the proximate cause of the injury or if the employee was so intoxicated it constituted a departure from the employment. 820 ILCS 305/11.

The act already considers evidence of intoxication from the use …

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Conflict Over Neutral Risk Work Injuries

Neutral risk injuries have become a contentious topic in Illinois Workers’ Compensation law. In Illinois Senate Bill 12, the legislature attempted to codify recent trends that courts have taken by calling for an analysis of whether an injured worker’s employment quantitatively or qualitatively contributes to a neutral risk to determine a compensable injury. The First District Appellate Court of Illinois applied these factors in Noonan v. Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission and determined that a neutral risk is compensable where the employee proves he was qualitatively …

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Illinois Legislature Looking to Reduce Costs by Reforming Risk

Illinois has recently proposed legislative reform to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. The ultimate goal of the proposed legislation is to reduce costs of litigation and exposure for workers’ compensation injuries. While it is important to deliberate proposed legislation, it is also important to remember its impact is undecided. The following is an analysis of one particular proposed amendment regarding neutral risk, which may not meet the goals of legislative reform.

The proposed amendment, Illinois Senate Bill 12, attempts to provide more guidance regarding the …

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The Illinois Appellate Court Narrows the Scope of Compensable Parking Lot, Slip and Fall Claims

As the harsh conditions of winter wind down in the Midwest, slip and fall claims tend to ramp up. Traditionally, injuries sustained as the result of a hazardous condition in an employer maintained parking lot have supported a finding of compensability. Suter v. Illinois Workers’ Compensation Comm’n, 2013 IL App (4th) 130049WC. However, recent decisions from the Illinois Appellate Court and Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission have narrowed the scope of what are considered “hazardous conditions” under neutral risk analyses in evaluating compensability of parking …

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Is Your Valid FCE Really Valid?

It may not be. There is a tendency to accept a Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE) as an objective measurement of everything a claimant can and cannot do. However, it may pay to delve deeper as not all FCEs are created equal. Understanding what to look for and when to challenge a valid FCE can be the difference between a simple loss of use becoming a job change or even a wage differential award.

FCE Method

There is no standard method of performing an FCE so …

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Holocker Widens the Interstate: A New Workers’ Compensation Decision Sets Forth Employer Defenses to Terminate Temporary Total Disability Benefits

A recent Workers’ Compensation decision has outlined employer defenses to terminate temporary total disability (TTD) benefits prior to a maximum medical improvement (MMI) finding.

In Holocker v. Ill. Workers’ Comp. Comm’n, 2017 IL App (3d) 160363WC (June 16, 2017), the Appellate Court affirmed that termination of temporary total disability benefits was proper despite the petitioner’s ongoing causally related treatment. The court also affirmed that termination of benefits due to the petitioner’s discharge for cause was proper because the petitioner’s restrictions had no effect on …

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Post-Accident Drug Testing: Part 4 — Illinois

No compensation is owed under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act if: (i) the employee’s intoxication proximately caused the injury, or (ii) the employee was so intoxicated at the time of the accident that the intoxication was a departure from the employment. Evidence of the concentration of alcohol, cannabis, a controlled substance, or an intoxicating compound in the employee’s blood, breath, or urine at the time the accident can be used as proof that the employee was intoxicated at the time of the employee’s accident. If …

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