May 30, 2023

Kelley Kronenberg’s Keys to Successfully Defending Workers’ Compensation Claims in Illinois

In Kelley Kronenberg’s Chicago office, we handle workers’ compensation cases with multiple things in mind. First and foremost, our worker’s compensation lawyers must consider each client’s goals. Sometimes a client’s focus is to settle worker’s compensation claims as quickly as possible, while in other instances they need an aggressive attorney to take a questionable case all the way to trial. Understanding a client’s objectives and interests early on ensures the defense plan is uniquely tailored to each client’s needs.  

Second, we continuously weigh the strength of our legal defenses. The strength of a defense constantly changes with each new piece of evidence or information. There are some aspects of a case that lawyers cannot control, such as medical opinions or arbitrator assignment. Immediately obtaining as much relevant information as possible minimizes changes in exposure later in the case. As we have discussed in a prior article, there is no discovery in Illinois workers’ compensation. However, defense attorneys can use this to their advantage. Aside from a few exceptions, such as IME reports, defense teams need not disclose their evidence until the day of trial. There are ways other than discovery to obtain evidence to support your defense. The first actions after receiving a case referral can be crucial to supporting a strong defense for trial or as leverage in settlement negotiations.  

Defense teams often request multiple items at the outset of a case. We request these items early because of the possibility that they may be inadvertently destroyed, copied over, or simply misplaced in the course of business. Here is a list of suggested information to begin gathering and preserving once a case becomes litigated:  

  • TTD and medical payment ledgers, 
  • Any video of the incident, 
  • ISO Report, 
  • Social Media check, 
  • Results of any post-accident drug testing, 
  • Job Description outlining the physical requirements of the position,  
  • Wage statement containing wages for the fifty-two weeks prior to the accident, 
  • If Petitioner is back to work, post-accident wages and attendance records, 
  • Personnel file, including all disciplinary forms and medical records, 
  • If the workplace injury was witnessed, the contact information for all witnesses and involved parties, 
  • Whether the Petitioner received any group health or disability benefits after the accident, 
  • Copies of all utilization review reports, and  
  • Any denied medical bills.  

This list is a good start, but it is not comprehensive. Likewise, not all the above items are necessary for every case. However, keeping a list of such items can serve as a reminder of what a defense attorney needs at the outset to help you defend your case. Ideally, employers, insurance companies, and defense attorneys will work together to create a list that is individualized to their team.  

Our worker’s compensation lawyers is comprised of experienced litigators who provide thorough and detail-oriented workers’ compensation defense. We will work with you on how to create the best defense plan for your case. Email or call to schedule a meeting about ways in which we can help meet your specific defense needs. 

Kristin E. Lechowicz
Partner, Workers’ Compensation
Kelley Kronenberg-Chicago,IL.