The COVID-19 pandemic has far reaching effects on all of our lives. Law firms are allowed to continue to perform essential functions and minimal basic operations. Although hearings have been suspended by the Workers' Compensation Commission on pending claims, new workers' compensation claims can still be filed and Statutes of Limitations on all legal claims, including Workers' Compensation Commission cases are still in force. In addition, the Workers' Compensation Commission will still approve settlements.
Listed below is a summary of actions taken by the State of Illinois and the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission in response to the COVID-19 pandemic:
On March 9, 2020, Governor Pritzker declared all counties in Illinois as disaster areas.
The Thompson Center (aka the State of Illinois building) was closed to all except for state business on March 12, 2020.
On March 17, 2020, the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission suspended in person hearings.
On March 20, 2020, the Governor issued a shelter in place order commanding all individuals in the state to stay at home or at their place of residence through April 7, 2020. The order was later extended through April 30, 2020. There are exceptions for essential operations and businesses.
On March 20, 2020, the Workers' Compensation Commission established a procedure for emergency motions.
On March 27, 2020, the Workers' Compensation Commission suspends regular operations through the month of April 2020.
On April 10, 2020, the Workers' Compensation Commission announces that all cases coming up during the suspension of operations are automatically continued to their next regularly scheduled 90-day continuance date. Parties are asked to waive oral argument on reviews so that the Commission can move forward with their decisions, but a telephone option will be made available if necessary.
On April 13, 2020, the Workers' Compensation Commission enacts a rule that an injury or illness of first responders and front-line workers with COVID-19 exposure will be rebuttably presumed to have a condition relating to the employment.
The Commission’s suspension of normal operations is currently in effect through April 30, 2020. We will provide further information when a decision is made about the status of the Commission after that date.