Whether in an Illinois workers’ compensation order or in a civil claim, the court has the power to award attorneys’ fees to different parties based on different procedural rules. Understanding when an award of attorneys’ fees is appropriate is essential to ensuring that you are treated fairly. A recent appellate opinion discusses this procedural rule.
The case arose from an injury that the plaintiff sustained as a construction worker. The plaintiff sought workers’ compensation benefits and filed a civil claim against the employer and a third-party defendant. The parties eventually reached a settlement in the civil action, which seemed to settle the civil claim as well as the workers’ compensation claim. The arbitrator assigned to the workers’ compensation claim approved the settlement and ordered the plaintiff to pay attorneys’ fees to the lawyers who provided him with counsel during the hearings. The claimant appealed the attorneys’ fees award, which was unanimously affirmed on review.
Next, the plaintiff appealed the decision to the civil court. He did not post an appeal bond at the time he filed his petition for review. One of the attorneys provided with attorneys’ fees in the original decision filed a request to quash the appeal on the basis that the failure to post an appeal bond rendered the appeal improperly filed. The circuit court agreed with the attorney and dismissed the worker’s claim for review.