Posted On: February 10, 2011 by Steven J. Malman

State Arbitrator Tried to Keep Illinois Workers’ Compensation Hearings of Trooper Who Caused Deadly Car Crash that Killed the Uhl Sisters a Secret

According to the Belleville News Democrat, Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission arbitrator Jennifer Teague tried to keep public hearings of ex-Trooper Matt Mitchell a secret. The ex-trooper, who pleaded guilty to two counts of reckless homicide in the car accident deaths of Kelli Uhl, 13, and Jessica Uhl, 18, is seeking benefits for the injuries he sustained during the collision.

The vehicle he was driving struck the girls’ car head-on while Mitchell was texting and talking on a cell phone and driving 126 mph. The Illinois Court of Claims recently awarded the sisters’ parents $8 million—the largest award against the state ever recorded. Mitchell, who was sentenced to 30 months probation, eventually resigned form the Illinois State Police.

However, because the car crash occurred while Mitchell was on the job, he may still be entitled to receive Illinois workers’ compensation. An injured worker can still be eligible to receive benefits for causing his work injuries.

At issue in this latest development isn’t the validity of Mitchell’s claim. The question is why Teague was trying to keep the hearing date secret from the press. According to
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan chief of staff Anne Spillane, attempting to keep the public or the media out of Mitchell’s hearing is “completely unacceptable.” Workers’ compensation hearings should be open to the public.

It is important that you realize that no one needs to be at fault for you to be entitled to receive Illinois workers’ compensation benefits. Even if you were at fault for causing your Illinois work accident, you are still likely entitled to work injury benefits.

Embarrassing Emails After Deadly Crash, Courthouse News, February 10, 2011

Worker's comp arbitrator tried to keep hearing secret, The Telegraph, February 9, 2011

Related Web Resources:
Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

Illinois Workers' Compensation Act

Related Blog Posts:
Ex-State Trooper Convicted of Motor Vehicle Deaths of Uhl Sisters Seeks Illinois Workers’ Compensation Benefits for His Injuries from the Crash, Chicago Workers' Compensation Lawyer Blog, September 9, 2010

Illinois Court of Claims Awards $8M to Family of Uhl Sisters Killed in 2007 Car Crash Caused by State Trooper Accused of Speeding, Texting, and Cell Phone Driving, Chicago Car Accident Lawyer Blog, January 20, 2011

Illinois Car Accident Lawsuit: Uhl Family Seeks $46 Million for Wrongful Death of Daughters From Police Pursuit, Chicago Car Accident Lawyer Blog, May 7, 2010

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