Posted On: March 30, 2009 by Steven J. Malman

Illinois Appellate Court Says Workers’ Compensation Case of Employee that Died During the Claims Process Can Proceed

An Illinois Appellate Court ruling has affirmed that the workers’ compensation claims of claimants that die during the claims process shall proceed as if their deaths never happened. The case, Freeman United Coal Mining Co. V. Van Houten, Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, involved a coal miner that died after filing for an adjustment to his claim, per the Workers’ Occupational Diseases Act.

The worker wanted to obtain Illinois workers’ compensation benefits for a disability he said he sustained because of exposure to coal dust. He died from a heart attack two months after filing the application.

His wife sought to obtain death benefits from his employer. She claimed that her husband’s work-related lung disease aggravated his heart attack.

An arbitrator determined that conditions from coal mining did in fact contribute to the miner’s occupational disease, which was a factor in his death. The miner’s widow was awarded spousal benefits and funeral costs. The arbitrator, however, denied the miner’s benefits claim.

The Illinois Appellate Court affirmed that the miner was suffering from an occupational disease, including chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and coal workers’ pneumoconiosis and its related effects, and held that his workers’ compensation claim should still continue unaffected despite his death.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Although Illinois workers’ compensation law mandates that employers provide employees with injuries and death benefits, it can be a very good idea to retain the services of an experienced Chicago workers’ compensation law firm to make sure that your claim goes through without a hitch and that your request for benefits is not unfairly denied or delayed.

Getting hurt because of your job or losing someone you love in a work accident or because of an occupational disease can be upsetting enough without having to deal with the employer's insurer and any hassles that could lead to financial worries.

Coal miner's claim doesn't abate at his death, Risk & Insurance, March 19, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Workers’ Occupational Diseases Act

Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

At the Law Offices of Steven J Malman & Associates, we know what needs to be done to protect your rights and make sure that you receive all the work injury or death benefits you are owed. Contact Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer Steve Malman today.

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