Marszalek & Marszalek
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An age old adage is "Ignorance of the Law is No Excuse." Every person is presumed to know the elements of the law. However, many workers do not know the basic elements of the Ilinois Workers' Compensation Act.
With relation to the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act, it has been ammended to better inform the public of its contents. The ammendments to Section 15a require employers to forward a copy of the handbook containing the rights and duties of employers and employees under the Workers' Compensation Act to each injured worker. This law requires as follows:
"Beginning January 1, 1981, the commission shall prepare and publish the handbook and readily understand the language in question and answer form containing all information as to the rights and obligations of employers and employees under the provisions of this Act.
The handbook shall be made available free of charge to the general public."
In order to assure that employers were giving this handbook to their injured employees, the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission (IWCC) required every application filed have a statement as to whether or not this handbook was given to the injured employee. As a practicing workers' compensation attorney in this state, I have found the vast majority of the injured workers whose cases I have handled have not received the book. The IWCC notes this violation of the law and began keeping data on employers who did not comply with this aspect of the law and eventually started to send letters to them regarding their non-compliance.
In light of this, many attorneys were writing pamphlets of there own as their clients were not receiving the required handbook from their employer. Several of these books were either too technical, too brief, or did not explain the significant aspects of the workers' compensation law that an injured employee would have to know to protect their rights.