Inadvertent Mistake Does Not Excuse Employer’s Delay In Paying Benefits

Case nameChomyk v. City of Chicago/Dept. Of Streets and Sanitation, 12 ILWCLB 34 (Ill.Ind.Comm.2004)

Ruling: The Commission awarded $16,278 in additional compensation under Section 19(k) and $3,255 in attorney’s fees under Section 16 for the city of Chicago’s delay in paying workers’ compensation benefits to an injured employee.

What it means: An employer’s explanation that a delay in payment was due to a misunderstanding of the time limitations does not justify a delay of payment, especially where the employee has sent repeated written request reminding the employer of its obligation to pay the award.

Summary: The arbitrator awarded the claimant $32,500 in permanent partial and temporary total disability benefits for injuries sustained while working for the City of Chicago. The claimant sent four written requests for payment of the award. On Sept. 10, 2003, the claimant filed a petition for penalties and attorney’s fees. Payment was received by the claimant’s attorney on Sept. 12, 2003. The Commission granted the petition, noting that where there is a delay in payment of benefits due a claimant, the burden is on the employer to justify the delay. Here, the employer claims that this case inadvertently “slipped through the cracks” and that an employee involved in the claims process did not understand the time limitations for review proceedings. The Commission found such justification not persuasive, particularly in light of the claimant’s repeated written requests reminding the employer of its obligation to pay the award.

Dear valued clients:

Our office is aware of the Covid 19 situation and is taking measures to keep our staff safe during these difficult times. For the immediate future, we will not be meeting in person with any of our clients. However, all of our clients can reach us by telephone, email at or by facsimile at 630-451-9477. Our office remains open and we will continue our work as usual. We feel this is best for everyone concerned.

If you have recently suffered an injury from a work related accident and would like to retain our services, the entire process can be done by telephone, electronic and/or regular mail. We have operators available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Please feel free to contact us anytime at 312-661-0450 and speak with one of our experienced and knowledgeable attorneys. Once this is has passed, we will gladly meet with you in person to answer any questions or address any concerns you may have.

Thank you for your patience and consideration. Be safe and stay healthy!


Donald Fohrman
Donald W. Fohrman & Associates, Ltd.