Binding arbitration in Illinois

23 Mar, 2015
By: Donald W Fohrman

What is binding arbitration?

When the parties in a workers’ compensation case decide to submit to binding arbitration, they agree that the decision made by an impartial arbitrator will be the last word of the Workers’ Compensation Commission. Voluntary binding arbitration requires the injured worker and the employer to waive any right to further appeals.

When is voluntary binding arbitration a possibility?

The parties in a workers’ compensation case may submit to voluntary binding arbitration if any of the following issues are at stake:

  • Temporary partial disability
  • Temporary total disability
  • Permanent partial disability
  • Recovery of medical expenses after an accident

Binding arbitration is not used in cases of permanent total disability.

How does binding arbitration work?

If the parties in an Illinois workers’ compensation case want to submit to voluntary binding arbitration, they begin by requesting the services of an arbitrator. The state of Illinois must engage at least seven certified arbitrators at all times to avoid delays in the process. A request for arbitration is made with a standardized form known as Form IC36. Once Form IC36 has been submitted, the individual case is assigned to an arbitrator. After proofs are heard, the arbitrator issues a written decision summarizing the findings and the verdict. This written decision is final.

A case study from a Chicago restaurant

In July 2011, a 28-year-old line cook at a Chicago restaurant filed for compensation after suffering severe burns in a kitchen accident. Her initial claim was denied by the Workers’ Compensation Commission because of ambiguous evidence regarding her use of prescription drugs on the job. Rather than extending the process of appeals, the cook and her employer agreed to submit the case to binding arbitration. She was awarded five months of temporary total disability.

According to the IWCC, an Illinois workers’ compensation claim has a 10 percent chance of failing. Unsuccessful appeals are often exhausting for injured employees. People who have been hurt on the job in Illinois may find it helpful to speak with a personal injury lawyer.

About The Author

Photo of Donald W Fohrman
After completing law school Donald became an assistant Attorney General for 7 years and was assigned to the Industrial Commission Division. During that time he spent evenings establishing his own firm. Donald became a founding partner of a large workers’ compensation/personal injury firm but decided to leave the firm in 1990 to start a smaller “boutique” firm with the belief that bigger isn’t always better!
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