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Judicial system causing high workers comp costs in Illinois: Report

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A report the Illinois Chamber of Commerce released Tuesday blames the state's judiciary for “high workers compensation costs” and calls for lawmakers to correct the problem.

“Rulings by the Illinois Appellate and Supreme Courts over the last decade have expanded employer liability far beyond what was intended by state law,” Chamber President and CEO Doug Whitley said in a statement announcing the report's release.

“The General Assembly must pass clearer guidelines in 2014 to stop Illinois' higher courts from further undermining legislative efforts to lower employer costs and improve the workers compensation system,” he said.

The report, titled “The Impact of Judicial Activism in Illinois: Workers' Compensation Rulings from the Employer's Perspective,” discusses 19 cases where judges engage in practices such as “creating new concepts that have no statutory basis.”

To correct the problem, the chamber wants the Illinois General Assembly to require an employee's medical condition to be causally connected to an accidental workplace injury before workers comp benefits are awarded and better define a “traveling employee” so employers are not responsible for injuries occurring during commutes or while workers engage in personal activities.

The report is available here.