What does the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission do?

welder with protective equipmentAccording to its official website, the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission is a no-fault system of benefits paid by employers to workers who experience work-related injuries or diseases. In other words, the IWCC is a public institution acting as an intermediary between workers at risk of injury and employers at risk of liability for those injuries.

IWCC performs three primary functions

Within its role as an intermediary between workers and employers in workers’ compensation cases, the IWCC performs three primary functions:

  • Resolves workers’ compensation claims
  • Ensures compliance with the law
  • Administers self-insurance

Resolving claims made by injured workers for injuries resulting in the workplace or otherwise in consequence of employment is among the critical roles performed by the Commission. In this capacity, its goal is to provide a fair and timely process by which disputed claims may be resolved, whether by decision or settlement.

In the process of resolving disputes between injured workers and employers, cases under the IWCC’s purview are initially tried by an arbitrator. A panel of three commissioners may then review the arbitrator’s decision. In sequence, cases may then be appealed to the circuit court, Appellate Court and Illinois Supreme Court. The Commission indicates on its website that the majority of workers’ compensation disputes in Illinois are resolved by settlement.

Ensuring compliance with the law, the second of the Commission’s three primary functions, consists of protecting the rights of workers and employees under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation and Occupational Diseases Act. This recently revised state law covers substantially all job-related injuries or diseases.

The third primary function of the IWCC is administering self-insurance. In most cases, employers seeking workers’ compensation insurance will do so through a third party. In some cases, however, employers may wish to insure themselves for their workers’ compensation liabilities. To this end, the Commission evaluates and approves eligible employers for self-insurance.

Additional services provided by IWCC

Additionally, the IWCC provides a range of informational services for both workers and employers seeking further knowledge about worker benefits and administrative procedures in Illinois. Alongside the Commission’s Handbook, which explains rights and obligations under the recently revised Act, its website offers case, coverage and fee information.

Perhaps as important as understanding what the IWCC does is to understand what it does not do. Specifically, its staff is available to explain Commission procedures and case status information, but cannot answer legal questions regarding a case or otherwise provide any legal advice. Therefore, those involved in a work-related injury should consult with an attorney.

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