Posted On: January 24, 2010 by Steven J. Malman

State Supreme Court Says Company Must Keep Paying Illinois Workers’ Compensation Benefits to Employee Who Was Fired

According to the Illinois Supreme Court, an employer has to keep paying workers’ compensation for temporary total disability benefits owed to an injured worker, even if he was fired from his job for misconduct. This obligation must continue until the former employee’s medical condition becomes stable and he achieves maximum medical improvement.

The former worker, carpenter Jeff Urban, sustained work-related neck, head, and back injuries in 2003 while working for Interstate Scaffolding Inc. In 2005, Urban was involved in a short, heated dispute with another worker. The company then fired him for the use of religious slogans to deface company property.

Interstate refused to pay Urban his Illinois workers’ compensation benefits after they let him go. A workers’ compensation arbitrator sided with Urban’s employer.

However, the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission disagreed, finding that the former employee should receive $1,004.41/week in temporary disability benefits. The company appealed, but a circuit court affirmed the commission’s decision. An appeals court then reversed the ruling and that is when the workers’ compensation case was brought before the Illinois Supreme Court.

Amicus briefs were filed by the Illinois Assn. of Defense Trial Counsel, the Illinois AFL-CIO, and the Illinois Self-Insurers Assn. Those who supported Urban argued that continued payment of work injury benefits shouldn’t be determined by whether a worker has been fired. Rather, the determining factor should be whether the injury has stabilized.

The Illinois Supreme Court says that although employers can fire at-will workers regardless of whether or not they have cause, this should have no effect on an employee's workers’ compensation case.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation
If you have been denied work injury benefits, do not despair. There may be other legal remedies available to you. Most workers injured on the job are entitled to Illinois workers’ compensation benefits.

Fired worker owed comp benefits: Illinois high court, Business Insurance, January 22, 2010

Read the Illinois Supreme Court Opinion (PDF)

Related Web Resource:
Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

An experienced Chicago, Illinois workers’ compensation lawyer can argue your case before the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission and the courts so that you obtain all of the work injury benefits that you are owed.

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