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Worker’s Compensation in Indiana and Illinois: Same Law, Different Cost

indiana-illinois-workers-compensation-injuryIn terms of high workers’ compensation insurance rates, Illinois comes in eighth in the nation, while Indiana comes in forty-ninth. How is this possible when the states’ workers’ compensation laws are so similar?

Indiana and Illinois share a lot in common with their workers’ compensation laws:

  • Both systems are designed to compensate injured workers for medical bills, lost wages, and permanent impairments.
  • Both programs cover “injury by accident arising out of and in the course of employment.”
  • Both states have a no-fault standard of causation. That means an injury need only happen in the workplace to be covered, and even a pre-existing condition that is aggravated in the course of work is covered under workers’ compensation.

The differences between the two systems, however, are significant and contribute to the difference in workers’ compensation insurance rates:

  • In Indiana, the initial choice of treating physician lies with the employer. In Illinois, it is the employee’s choice.
  • Illinois consistently paid more than the national average benefit for permanent partial disability. Indiana paid close to the national average.
  • The average weekly wage in Illinois is 27 percent higher than in Indiana. Since workers’ compensation benefits are based on average weekly wage, it makes sense that Illinois is paying more than Indiana.
  • All workers in Indiana receive the same workers’ compensation recovery regardless of occupation. For example: a concert pianist and an executive who each lose a finger would receive the same compensation. In Illinois, the amount awarded considers a person’s occupation. If the concert pianist and executive lived in Illinois, the concert pianist would clearly receive more in benefits.
  • Indiana has an early return to work program which tends to cut costs.