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Workers' Compensation

Illinois: No Penalties for Delay in Authorizing Medical Care

While the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act provides, under some circumstances, for the imposition of penalties for the delay in paying medical expenses and other benefits, there is no statutory authority for imposing penalties for an alleged delay in authorizing medical treatment, held a state appellate court. An arbitrator found that the employer’s initial refusal to authorize treatment (the decision was later reversed) had not been made in good faith and imposed a $6,900 penalty pursuant to 820 ILCS 305/19(l) “for without good and just cause failing, neglecting, refusing, and unreasonably delaying payments under section 8(a) of the Act (820 ILCS 305/8(a) (West 2016)), i.e., authorizing the surgery” [emphasis added]. In addition, the arbitrator found respondent liable for attorney fees in the amount of $1380 pursuant to section 820 ILCS 305/16. A divided Commission reversed. The appellate court stressed that the statute spoke to delays in payment of benefits, not the delay. The court added that it was “not unsympathetic” to claimant’s concerns, but added that it simply could not read into the statute any exceptions, limitations, or conditions that the legislature did not intend.

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is co-author of Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law (LexisNexis).

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance.

See O'Neil v. Ill. Workers' Comp. Comm'n, 2020 IL App (2d) 190427WC (Feb. 4, 2020)

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 135.01.

Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law

For a more detailed discussion of the case, see

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