This week marked the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission opening up for live hearings at the Daley Center. I was able to squeeze in a trial on Thursday, June 17th. For those who are wondering how to get to the new Commission location, here is my attempt at directions:

  • Enter the Daley Center from the Washington Street side. As of Thursday, June 17th they were still requring masks in the hallways and common areas, so be sure to bring a mask.
  • Once you enter the Daley Center, you will have your temperature taken. On your right will be the security lines to enter the courthouse. You don’t want to go that way. Instead, go to your left and take the escalator down to the lower levels.
  • After the first escalator, you can hang a left and head for the security line / attorney entry if you don’t want to carry your trial bags down the next flight of stairs. But if you’re traveling light, all you have to do is keep walking straight off the escalator to the stairs that will take you to the lower level.  If you don’t want to have to go through the security line, you will need your Cook County Sheriff’s ID to get through if you’re an attorney.
  • If you take the elevator down, take a left as you exit and you will see a long corridor. Follow that corridor all the way to the end. The Commission is on the right at the very end of that corridor.
  • If you take the stairs down, you will walk into an area that looks like the DMV. It’s not the DMV, but when you see it you’ll know what I mean. Hang a quick right and then another quick right and you’re in the same corridor as the elevator people.
  • Follow that corridor all the way down and the Commission is on your right.
  • The ladies’ restroom is right next to the Commission. The one men’s restroom I saw was at the beginning of the corridor. So as you leave the Commission, and walk back towards the elevators / stairs, the men’s restroom is on your right just before you get to the elevators / stairs.

The Commission’s office is very nice. When you walk in, the Commission staff are right there. To get to the waiting area, just head to your right and follow the hallway. The waiting area opens up on your right. A few more steps and a right will lead you to the hearing rooms. Everything is new. New carpet. Freshly painted walls. New furniture. Feels very Federal. For those who have appeared before Federal agencies, you’ll know what I mean when you see it.

Congratulations to the Commission. It’s a very professional hearing site, and I’m glad I had the opportunity to have a hearing during the first week of operations. I look forward to the next one!

 

If you would like to know more about how workers’ compensation law works in Illinois, you can read all about it in my new book: The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Law Field Guide. The book is available via Kindle and in paperback. You can also reach out to me if you find yourself in a bad situation with a workers’ comp claim, or if you’ve been injured at work and want to start off on the right foot. All initial consultations are free of charge. I look forward to hearing from you!

Lawyers like to believe that they are the most important player in your workers’ compensation claim. That is not the case. Your doctor is the star of this show, which is why it’s  imporant to seek out an experienced, reputable physician when you are injured at work. Not all doctors understand workers’ compensation claims. There are even more than a few doctors that won’t even treat you if you are treating for a work injury. I recently reviewed a note for one of my clients where the doctor wrote in the chart that she does not accept workers’ compensation claims and that the injured worker should return to her employer’s occupational medicine doctor for further treatment.  You have a limited number of physician choices when it comes to a workers’ comp claim. Don’t waste it on doctors like that one!

In your search for a good doctor, you should be wary of treating at  “work comp treatment mills” that overtreat and overbill. These providers tend to target immigrant communities that may not be as savvy as others  when it comes to choosing a reptutable doctor. Rest assured that the workers’ compensation carrier and the Arbitrator assigned to your case ARE savvy, and will have experience with these providers. If they see excessive treament and billing, then you are likely to end up paying these bills either out of your own pocket, or you will spend a big portion of your disputed settlement paying off their bills, leaving you with almost nothing at the end of your claim.

*** STAY AWAY FROM SHADY WORK COMP TREATMENT MILLS ***

Illinois allows you to pick two doctors. If your employer is part of a Preferred Provider Program, you will get a notice of the program and a list of doctors to choose from. If you don’t want to see one of the doctors in that plan, then you will be limited to one choice outside of the Preferred Provider Program.  DO NOT WASTE THESE CHOICES.  Any reputable, experienced workers’ compensation lawyer should have a list of excellent doctors that have experience treating work related injuries. Your lawyer should be more than willing to give you a list of good doctors and encourage you to research them . Then you should both sit down and talk about which doctor would be best for your particular situation. Choosing the right doctor at the beginning of your claim will go a long way in saving you time, money and frustration.

If you would like to know more about how workers’ compensation law works in Illinois, you can read all about it in my new book: The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Law Field Guide. The book is available via Kindle and in paperback. You can also reach out to me if you find yourself in a bad situation with a workers’ comp claim, or if you’ve been injured at work and want to start off on the right foot. All initial consultations are free of charge. I look forward to hearing from you!

I tell all of my clients the same thing. At the end of your doctor’s appointment, be sure to ask the doctor for a work status note IN WRITING. I also ask them to immediately take a picture of the work status with their cell phone and text it to me. Finally, I tell them that once they get tot their car, they should call to let me know how the appointment went so I can update their file.  About 50% of my clients follow that advice. Here’s what the other 50% almost always tell me:

  • The doctor’s office said they will fax it over to you.
  • The doctor said he will be sure to put it in his chart note.
  • The doctor asked me to tell you to call him.

Here are my responses:

  • The doctor’s office isn’t going to fax the note to me. Even if they intend to, they often forget and it takes numerous follow up phone calls to have it faxed over. Oftentimes, we never get it until we issue a subpoena, which costs the client $25.00.
  • The doctor might put it in her chart note. The doctor might not put it in her chart note. Regardless, the defense attorney or the adjuster is going to ask for an updated work status, and if I can’t get it to them, they are likely going to stop sending you TTD checks until I do. And then, it will take forever to get the checks started up again. In the meantime, you sit there with no money coming in.
  • If your doctor is asking to speak with your lawyer regarding a work status, then either the doctor doesn’t understand how to handle workers’ compensation claims, or the doctor thinks you can return to work but doesn’t want to tell you. It is usually the latter.

Get a work status at each doctor’s visit and get it to your attorney as qucikly as possible to make sure your checks are not interrupted. If you are treating with a doctor that refuses to provide you with a work status, or wants to make you jump through hoops to obtain one, then speak to your attorney about switching to another doctor.

 

If you would like to know more about how workers’ compensation law works in Illinois, you can read all about it in my new book: The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Law Field Guide. The book is available via Kindle and in paperback. You can also reach out to me if you find yourself in a bad situation with a workers’ comp claim, or if you’ve been injured at work and want to start off on the right foot. All initial consultations are free of charge. I look forward to hearing from you!

Coal Miner, Coal Miner, shining your light. Working in a mine shaft dark as the night. What you gonna do before you go back in? Gonna ask the Lord to let me come out again. (from the song “West Virginia Coal Miner” by Roger White.)

If you enjoy Netflix as much as I do, you may have seen the film “Mine 9” while scrolling through the movie menu.  “Mine 9” was originally released back in March of 2019, and was directed by Edie Mensore. It tells the story of nine Appalachian coal miners who end up stuck 2 miles underground after a methane explosion. In the movie, the mining company had knowledge of the methane issues, but refused to do anything about it. The mining company also had no mine rescue capabilities and no outside foreman. Prior to their last descent into the mine, the section leader calls the Mine Safety and Health Administration. Unfortunately, MSHA tells him there is nothing they can do until Monday morning, which turns out to be too late for the miners.

The film struck home because it reminded me of the Cherry Mine Disaster of 1909 that eventually led to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. In the Cherry Mine Disaster, the culprits were fire, smoke and the dreaded “black damp”, which is the mining term for a mixture of carbon dioxide and other unbrethable gases that build up in mines causing poisoning, asphyxiation and death. In  “Mine 9”, the miners battle “Firedamp” which is the term for methane. Methane can build up in mines, and when it accumulates  in sufficient quantities it can displace oxygen just like “black damp” and cause asphyxia and death. I’ll avoid spoiling the movie for you, but as you’ve probably surmised, it is not a happy ending.

I talk about the Cherry Mine Disaster in the opening of my recent book, “The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Law Field Manual”. If you are interested in learning more about the Cherry Mine Disaster of 1909, I would recommend that you pick up a copy of “Trapped: The 1909 Cherry Mine Disaster” by Karen Tintori, or “Black Damp: The Story of The Cherry Mining Disaster” by Steve Stout. And of course, check out “Mine 9” on Netflix this weekend!

If you would like to know more about how workers’ compensation law works in Illinois, you can read all about it in my new book: The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Law Field Guide. The book is available via Kindle and in paperback. You can also reach out to me if you find yourself in a bad situation with a workers’ comp claim, or if you’ve been injured at work and want to start off on the right foot. All initial consultations are free of charge. I look forward to hearing from you!

I hear lots of injured workers complain that their temporary total disability (TTD) benefit is not adjusted for inflation and cost of living increases, but instead remains stagnant until they reach maximum, medical improvement. TTD is based on an injured workers’ average weekly wage, which in turn is based on their earnings in the 52 weeks prior to the work injury. The “true value” of the weekly TTD check an injured worker receives in Illinois is devalued over time when there is a steady increase in the cost of living. Most people think of Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA) as associated with Social Security benefits. But here in the real world the cost of living doesn’t increase just for people on Social Security, it goes up for everybody else as well. Unfortunately, the only way to get extra money to cover cost of living increases in Illinois Workers’ Compensation is if you are deemed permanently and totally disabled after a hearing before the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, or if you are the survivor of a fatally injured worker. In those cases, cost of living increases are paid to the recipients courtesy of the Rate Adjustment Fund. But everybody else, including workers on TTD,  has to make due with 2/3 of their average weekly wage until the end of their claim.

Not all injured workers are left without the benefit of a COLA. For example,  federal workers’ compensation recipients are entitled to a COLA that is determined in March of every year. The injured worker must be off of work for in excess of one year prior to March 1st, which is when the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP) COLA goes into effect annually. Other states also offer COLAs for injured workers that are receiving TTD benefits. The last significant reform of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act took place in 2011. Let’s all hope that when the next big reform comes down the pike, cost of living adjustments for workers on TTD will be included in the package. Provding injured workers with a cost of living increase as part of their temporary total disability benefits will go a long way to help protect injured Illinois workers and their families.

If you would like to know more about how workers’ compensation law works in Illinois, you can read all about it in my new book: The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Law Field Guide. The book is available via Kindle and in paperback. You can also reach out to me if you find yourself in a bad situation with a workers’ comp claim, or if you’ve been injured at work and want to start off on the right foot. All initial consultations are free of charge. I look forward to hearing from you!

Dealing with a workers’ compensation claim is easy until it’s not. One day your medical treatment is authorized and your checks arrive on time. The next day your claim is denied, your doctor won’t see you without “authorization” and the workers’ compensation carrier has cut off your weekly checks. You find yourself in the position of taking on a well funded insurance company while you are all alone wondering how you’re going to make the next mortgage payment and keep food on the table. Many injured workers feel helpless, and some give up immediately.

But others feel the need to fight back. It can certainly be an intimidating proposition. After all, the workers’ compensation insurance carrier has unlimited resources including lawyers, doctors, nurse case managers, vocational experts, and private investigators. Not to mention that this is not the carrier’s first rodeo. They are fighting these battles 24 hours a day, 7 days per week,  52 weeks per year and have been doing so for a long time. How can you compete with that?

The first thing you need to do is hire an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer. You don’t have time to learn how to properly handle a workers’ compensation claim. I’m not talking about non-surgical soft tissue injuries that require less than 3 months of treatment and you are able to return to work full duty. I’m talking about nasty injuries that could result in permanent restrictions that could keep you from returning to your prior job, and might even render you unemployable. Fighting that battle alone is almost impossible.

Even after you hire an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer, understand that you are still going to be outgunned. A workers’ compensation law firm is not usually going to have the ability to go toe to toe with an insurance carrier when it comes to dollars. There are a few firms out there that can, but even they aren’t likely to want to spend large amounts of money on a workers’ compensation claim.  What you’re going to be running is an insurgent guerilla campaign. You and your lawyer will need to improvise, adapt and overcome if you want to avoid pitfalls and maximize the final value of your case.

A guerilla force has to be light and disciplined to prevail. Here are 3 things you can do to help your case:

  1.  Treat with a good doctor. This is the workers’ comp equivalent of holding the high ground The Act gives an injured worker the right to two choices when it comes to treating physicians. Don’t waste those choices on subpar treating doctors, and don’t rely on a family physician who may not know how to handle a workers’ compensation claim. In many ways, the doctor choose is going to be more important that the lawyer you choose. If your employer has joined a preferred provider program, then you will get notice of the doctors you can choose from within that plan. Consult with your lawyer as to which of those doctors might be best for your situation, and if you feel you would be better served with a doctor outside of that program, then you need to be very careful because declining will count as one of your choices, leaving you with only one choice.
  2. Communicate with your lawyer. This is the workers’ comp equivalent of cover and move. I tell all of my clients to call me after every doctor’s visit. I also ask them to take a photo of their work status note, and text it to me as soon as they leave the doctor’s office.  This ensures that the defense attorney or claims adjuster knows immediately if you are being continued off work, if you have light duty restrictions, and if you are going to need additional treatment. This cuts down on excuses when it comes to late payments. And if your benefits are late, call your letter and let him or her know. Waiting to see if a check shows up often just prolongs the amount of time you’re going to go without money.
  3. Keep your mouth shut. Loose lips sink ships. So does posting every aspect of your life on social media. Think of it as communication security. It doesn’t cost much for an insurance company to check your social media pages. They might also ask your “friends” at work to send them screenshots of your daily life. Be disciplined and don’t post anything while your claim is pending.

THE ILLINOIS WORKERS' COMPENSATION LAW FIELD GUIDE FM-ILWC-01

Rigid adherence to all three of these recommendations won’t guarantee success, but it will certainly help your chances. If you would like to know more about how workers’ compensation law works in Illinois, you can read all about it in my new book: The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Law Field Guide. The book is available via Kindle and in paperback. You can also reach out to me if you find yourself in a bad situation with a workers’ comp claim, or if you’ve been injured at work and want to start off on the right foot. All initial consultations are free of charge. I look forward to hearing from you!

The days of walking over to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission with a folder full of applications and requests for hearing are over! Electronic filing is in full swing and the transition has been smooth and relatively painless from a Petitioner’s perspective. The COMPFILE web portal now gives us the ability to file Applications, claim cases, file motions, submit settlement contracts for approval, file appearances, file petitions for review, and even submit briefs. The only thing you really need in addition to COMPFILE is Adobe Acrobat, and you should be locked, loaded and ready to file. The only issue I’ve run into is with 19(b) petitions and the inability to file in months when the claim does not appear on the Arbitrator’s call, but I expect that will be remedied in due time.

It is important to remember that when you initially file an Application for Adjustment of Claim via COMPFILE, you need to make sure that you provide written notice to the employer. The Commission requires that you upload proof of notice on the employer at the time you file the Application for Adjustment of Claim. The same goes for any motions in claims where defense counsel has not yet appeared. Be sure to notify the employer, and attach proof of that notice along with the motion when you file online. Once defense counsel has appeared on a claim, he or she will be notified via COMPFILE of any motions filed in the case. If you’re like me, you might want to make a courtesy phone call to advise opposing counsel while we’re still in the “honeymoon” phase of online filing.

My hope is that the Commission will eventually be in a position to conduct online hearings similar to the Social Security Administration’s Office of Disability Adjudication and Review. The COVID pandemic has resulted in the Administration offering online hearings via Microsoft Teams. All evidence must be submitted to the Administration online 5 business days in advance of any hearing. Unfortunately, the IWCC does not have the same level of funding that is enjoyed by the Social Security Administration, so online hearings may be a ways off. But in the meantime, let’s be thankful that our practices are being significantly streamlined by the implementation of COMPFILE. Kudos to Chairman Brennan and all the people who made this transition possible.

CLICK HERE TO ACCESS THE COMPFILE INFORMATION PAGE

It took a while, but the “first edish” of The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Law Field Manual is now available on Kindle and in paperback. If you’re new to Illinois Workers’ Comp, or if you are an injured worker and have difficulty understanding what is going on with your case, this book will help. It addresses the basics of Illinois Workers’ Comp, but also delves into some more technical and advanced areas:

Making sense of Illinois Workers’ Compensation Law can be difficult. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Law Field Manual (FM-ILWC-01) was written to empower the reader with a basic understanding of the issues and procedures he or she might face when navigating the Illinois Workers’ Compensation regime. It will answer questions, and help the reader avoid some of the frustrations, pitfalls and delays that could prove costly in terms of both time and money. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Law Field manual (FM-ILWC-01) can also serve as a springboard to more in-depth research for those interested in learning more about this interesting and technical area of Illinois law.

ORDER YOUR COPY TODAY!

Alan Hampton was a police officer for the Village of Bolingbrook. Hampton was on duty on December 20, 2016 when he responded to an accident with injuries in the center of an intersection. Hampton’s lights and sirens were on. There was a fire vehicle on the scene with activated lights. Hampton tried to position his vehicle to protect the scene by blocking traffic from entering the intersection, and while positioning his patrol car was struck on the driver’s side. As a result of the collision, Hampton suffered injuries to his left shoulder, and had to be extricated from the police car.

Hampton submitted an application for line-of-duty disability pension benefits on December 4, 2017. In addition to his treating physicians, he was examined by three physicians at the Board’s direction and expense.

HAMPTON’S TREATING PHYSICIANS

Dr. Charles Paik

Dr. Paik ordered an MRI of Hampton’s left shoulder, which revealed moderate glenohumeral osteoarthritis with an associated superior labral tear extending to the posterior inferior portion of the labrum. The MRI also revealed a paralabral cyst, a Bankart lesion and a Hill Sachs deformity. After reviewing the MRI, Dr. Paik referred Hampton to Dr. John Lee, an orthopedic surgeon.

Dr. John Lee

Dr. Lee diagnosed Hampton with left shoulder pain due to degenerative joint disease, a labral tear, and a possible Bankart lesion. Dr. Lee recommended 4 weeks of physical therapy.

Dr. Steven Chudik

Hampton was next seen by Dr. Chudik, another orthopedic surgeon. Dr. Chudik referred Hampton for physical therapy followed by work conditioning. At the completion of work conditioning, Dr. Chudik ordered an FCE. After the FCE, Dr. Chudik recommended a return to modified duty because Hampton’s shoulder injury posed an unacceptable risk if Hampton was involved in a physical altercation or a situation requiring physical force. Dr. Chudik placed Hampton at maximum, medical improvement as of September 15, 2017.

THE WORKERS’ COMPENSATION SECTION 12 MEDICAL EXAMINER

Dr. Vishal Mehta

Dr. Mehta examined Hampton as part of the underlying workers’ compensation claim. Dr. Mehta opined that Hampton had an underlying glenohumeral osteoarthritis that was aggravated by the work incident on December 20, 2016. Mehta recommended restrictions of no pushing, pulling, or lifting greater than 20 pounds with the left shoulder, no over-the-shoulder use, and indicated that Hampton was not to be placed in situations that could result in physical altercations.

THE BOARD DESIGNATED PHYSICIANS

Dr. Joshua Alpert

Dr. Alpert, an orthopedic surgeon, certified Hampton disabled from performing full and unrestricted police duties based on aggravation of the osteoarthritis in Hampton’s left shoulder, which had been asymptomatic prior to the accident.

Dr. Denis Williams

Dr. Williams, also an orthopedic surgeon, agreed that Hampton had pre-existing osteoarthritis that was aggravated by the accident, but found Hampton not disabled based on the FCE.

Dr. Sam Biafora

Dr. Biafora, an orthopedic surgeon, certified Hampton not disabled from performing his duties as a police officer, opining that Hampton sustained only a temporary exacerbation of pre-existing arthritis in the left shoulder. Dr. Biafora opined that Hampton’s left shoulder pain was due to the natural progression of the arthritis, and was not related to the accident.

After the hearing, the Board found that Hampton was not disabled and denied Hampton’s claims for both line-of-duty disability benefits and not-on-duty disability benefits.

The circuit court reversed the Board’s decision, finding there was insufficient evidence in the record to support the Board’s findings, and that the Board’s findings were against the manifest weight of the evidence.

The appellate court noted that a police officer is entitled to a line-of-duty pension if “as the result of sickness, accident or injury incurred in or resulting from the performance of an act of duty, is found to be physically or mentally disabled for service in the police department, so as to render necessary his or her suspension or retirement from the police service.” 40 ILCS 5/3-114.1(a). In defining disability, the court referred to article V of the Pension Code, which states that disability is “a condition of physical or mental incapacity to perform any assigned duty or duties in the police service.”

The appellate court affirmed the circuit court, and found that the Board’s conclusion that Hampton was not disabled from being a Bolingbrook police officer was against the manifest weight of the evidence, and pointed to the following facts in the record:

  • An MRI from January 2017 objectively showed a labral tear, paralabral cyst, Bankart lesion and Hill Sachs deformity.
  • Mehta, the IME doctor from the underlying workers’ compensation claim, found that the pre-existing shoulder condition was aggravated by the December 20, 2016 accident and that Hampton required work restrictions that could be permanent in nature.
  • Alpert, one of the Board designated physicians, concluded that Hampton was disabled from performing full and complete police duties.
  • Chudik, a treating doctor, recommended modified duty that restricted Hampton from situations that would require any type of physical altercation.

The appellate court found that the Board’s reliance on Dr. Williams was misplaced in that Williams’ conclusions were inconsistent with the facts available to him. The appellate court also found Dr. Biafora’s conclusion that Hampton had suffered merely a temporary exacerbation to be inconsistent with the facts in the record.

The Board’s decision did not address whether Hampton was injured in the performance of an act of duty. The appellate court found that the Board did make the necessary factual findings for the appellate court to make that finding as a matter of law. Relying on the Board’s findings of fact, the appellate court found that Hampton was injured while performing an act of duty.

TAKEAWAYS:

  • When appearing before the pension board, be sure to present a complete record of all treatment received for the injury, including the opinions of any doctors that rendered care and treatment in any underlying workers’ compensation claim. Make sure that the record includes the opinions of treating physicians in addition to the chart notes.
  • If a pension board finds that an officer is not disabled, the Board might not address the issues of line of duty vs. not-on-duty disability benefits in its decision. When appealing such a decision, be sure to present arguments to the court as relates to line of duty vs. not-on-duty disability benefits, as the court does have the power to take the Board’s factual findings and apply those facts to determine whether the officer was injured while performing an act of duty. Be sure to reference any non-disputed facts contained in the record to bolster your argument for a line of duty disability pension.

If you are a police officer and have been injured on the job, feel free to call me for a free consultation.

Governor JB Pritzker has activated 250 members of the Illinois National Guard for State Active Duty in response to the warnings issued this week by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) regarding threats to state capital cities in the days leading up to the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden. At the request of the U.S. Department of Defense, the Governor also activated an additional 100 members of the Illinois National Guard in support of the 59th Presidential Inauguration in Washington D.C. These additional troops will join the approximately 200 members of the Guard that were previously activated by the Governor. What happens if  an officer, warrant officer or enlisted member of the Illinois National Guard is injured while he or she is on duty?

The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act states that for purposes of the Act, members of the National Guard are considered employees of the State while on active duty in service of the State in Section 1(b). The Military Code of Illinois  addresses treatment and compensation for members of the Illinois National Guard who are injured while on duty and lawfully performing the same. Section 52 of the Code states:

Officers, warrant officers, or enlisted personnel of the Illinois National Guard who may be injured in any way, including without limitation through illness, while on duty and lawfully performing the same, are entitled to be treated by an officer of the medical or dental department detailed by the Adjutant General, or at the nearest appropriate medical treatment facility if such an officer is not detailed. Officers, warrant officers, or enlisted personnel of the Illinois National Guard who may be wounded or disabled in any way, while on duty and lawfully performing the same, so as to prevent their working at their profession, trade, or other occupation from which they gain their living, are entitled to be treated by an officer of the medical or dental department detailed by the Adjutant General, or at the nearest appropriate medical treatment facility if such an officer is not detailed, and, as long as the Illinois National Guard has not been called into federal service, are entitled to all privileges due them as State employees under the “Workers’ Compensation Act”, approved July 9, 1951, as now or hereafter amended, and the “Workers’ Occupational Diseases Act”, approved July 9, 1951, as now or hereafter amended. For purposes of this Section, injured, wounded, or disabled “while on duty and lawfully performing the same” means incurring an injury, wound, or disability while in a State military status pursuant to orders of the Commander-in-Chief, except when the injury, wound, or disability is caused by the officer’s, warrant officer’s, or enlisted personnel’s own misconduct. 20 ILCS 180-5/52. 

This means that as long as the Illinois Guardsman is injured while in a State military status, he or she is entitled to the protections of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act and the Illinois Occupational Diseases’ Act so long as the injury, wound or disability is not caused by the Guardsman’s own misconduct. It is important to note that if the Guard is federalized, an injured Illinois Guardsman is no longer considered a State Employee, and therefore would lose any protections afforded by the Workers’ Compensation Act and / or Workers’ Occupational Diseases Act.

If you are a member of the Illinois National Guard injured while on active duty in service of the State of Illinois, do not hesitate to contact me for a free consultation.