Illinois Court on Admissibility of Economist’s Testimony in Workers’ Compensation Case

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In a recent Appellate Court of Illinois, First District decision, United Airlines v. Workers’ Compensation Commission, No. 1-09-2966WC, at issue was whether the lower court properly upheld the adoption of the decision of the arbitrator below in an Illinois Workers’ Compensation case. The disputed issue revolved around the determination of the nature and extent of the claimant’s injuries. The employer disputed the calculation of wage differential benefits, in part because the arbitrator excluded the testimony of their expert on that issue.

As a matter of background, the claimant was injured on the job while working as a flight attendant. She sustained injuries to her back which required 2 surgeries to her back and extensive physical therapy and medical treatment as part of her recovery. During arbitration, her employer sought to introduce the testimony of an economist to prove the predicted age that she would have left the workforce. The arbitrator declined to allow his testimony, ruling that it was irrelevant in a section 8(d)(1) proceeding.

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