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Governor's proposal could negatively affect workers' compensation

Almost every work environment has some form of potential dangers. Construction sites are rife with hazards as workers must use heavy machinery and are often performing tasks on scaffolds and ladders. Warehouse workers are often required to lift heavy objects, leaving them vulnerable to back injuries. And those performing less physical tasks in schools or offices can fall victim to the debilitating symptoms of depression. The list goes on and on.

Fortunately, if you should suffer an injury or illness related to your work, you can typically get financial help to pay for your medical and other expenses in the form of workers' compensation. As such, it is easy to understand just how important it is for Illinois to have a well-funded workers' compensation system.

But at present, Governor Bruce Rauner (R-IL) is proposing budgetary changes that, according to the Illinois Trial Lawyer's Association, will negatively impact the safeguards provided by the state's workers' compensation system. The association has expressed the belief that the governor is putting the interests of big businesses ahead of those of injured workers.

The association also stated that previous changes to the system, enacted in 2011, proved mostly detrimental to the working men and women of Illinois who suffered on-the-job injuries while benefiting employers and insurance companies.

It remains to be seen if the proposed rollbacks will become a reality. And while it seems that helping injured workers get the care and treatment they need should be a top priority for employers and the state's government, this may not always be the case.

Sometimes it is up to an injured worker to take the initiative in protecting his or her interests. If you have been hurt while at work, you should get all of the benefits to which you are entitled. An Illinois workers' compensation attorney could go over the details of your claim and may be able to help you get appropriate recompense.

Source: WTVO/WQRF, "What Others are Saying: Reaction to Governor's State of the State Address," Jan. 27, 2016

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