In our previous post, we began speaking about the notion of frivolous claims in the context of the workers’ compensation system. As we noted, businesses here in Illinois are currently worried that frivolous workers’ compensation claims are contributing to high premium costs, and are pushing for reforms to address the perceived problem.
To understand what might constitute a frivolous workers’ compensation claim, it is important to understand when and what types of injuries and diseases are covered under the law. As the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission points out in its Handbook on Workers’ Compensation And Occupational Diseases, only work-related injuries and occupational diseases are covered.
By work-related is meant, injuries and occupational diseases that arise out of an in the course of employment. The handbook points out that this generally refers to injuries and diseases which are wholly or partially a result of the employee’s work. In general, workers’ compensation benefits are paid without respect to a fault.
To file a frivolous or meritless workers’ compensation claim, in the most basic sense, then, would mean that a worker files a claim knowing that an injury or disease did not arise out of and in the course of employment, either wholly or partially. An injured worker should not feel guilty about filing a workers’ compensation claim as long as he or she meets these basic requirements, and should not allow his or her employer harass or bully him or her into forgoing the filing of such a claim. If this does happen, it can help to have the guidance and advocacy of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.