Posted: September 17th, 2014 | Author: Staff Writer | Filed under: Construction Accident, Employer Liability, How to File a Worker's Compensation Claim, Illinois workers comp, Personal Injury, stress injury, Workers Comp, Workers Comp Benefits, Workers compensation attorney | Tags: Chicago workers compensation lawyer, Cook County workers compensation attorney, DuPage County Personal Injury Lawyer, DuPage County Workers Compensation Lawyer, employer liability, Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, injured on the job, medical costs, Teen Injured on the job, Young Workers Injured on the Job | No Comments »
According to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), young workers are at the highest risk of any age group to be injured or killed on the job. Workers who are under 25 years old face more than double the risk of older workers of being injured. The majority of young workers are unaware of the legal workplace rights they have.
The DOL statistics reveal that in 2012, more than 170,000 of younger workers were injured on the job and another 361 were killed. That means that a teenager is hurt on the job every nine minutes in this country.
The OSH Act of 1970 requires every employer provide workers with a safe work environment, without dangerous recognized hazards. Working teens are also covered under this law and have the same right to a safe workplace as working adults. In many incidents where teens have been hurt on the job, there was a lack of training and education on the part of the employer that contributed to the incident.
Some of the most common injuries teens receive in the workplace are caused by inadequate safety training, lack of proper supervision, unsafe equipment, dangerous work that is inappropriate and illegal for teen workers, stressful conditions and pressure to perform their work at a faster pace.
The Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (MassCOSH) has developed a work safety program directed specifically at young workers called Teens Lead @ Work. The program focuses on peer-to peer training by teaching teens to develop the skills to teach other teens about healthy and safe workplaces. The teens are also taught about child labor laws and encouraged to reach out to all teen workers, including those who are the most vulnerable, such as undocumented and illegal teen workers.
If you or someone in your family has been injured on the job, contact an experienced Chicago workers’ compensation attorney to find out what civil recourse you may have for compensation for pain and loss you have suffered.
Posted: September 4th, 2014 | Author: Staff Writer | Filed under: Construction Accident, Construction Workers, Employer Liability, Francis J. Discipio, How to File a Worker's Compensation Claim, Illinois workers comp, Workers Comp, Workers compensation attorney | Tags: Chicago workers compensation lawyer, Cook County workers compensation attorney, employer liability, Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, injured on the job, medical costs | No Comments »
Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act 820 ILCS 305 clearly outlines the responsibility that employees have when a worker is injured on the job.
There are many factors that determine the amount of benefit an employee will receive if they are injured. The amount of pay the injured employee was earning is used to determine the workers compensation benefit and/or settlement amount he or she is entitled to receive.
Another factor considered is the severity of the employee’s injury and what body part is involved. What future medical costs be, as well as what limitations the permanent injury will place on the employee’s life, are also used to determine what settlement amount the employee will be awarded.
The purpose of the law is to protect employees because often, an employer and their insurance company will try to avoid responsibility for the injury, which is why it is critical for an injured employee to hire a workers’ compensation attorney. If the employee has received a prior injury of the same body part, the insurance company’s attorneys could argue that the current injury is related to the prior injury and, therefore, they are not responsible for benefits.
That is what happened in a recent case that went before the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. The employee, who worked as a truck tire builder, filed a claim in January 2010 after being diagnosed with spurring and impingement syndrome of his left shoulder and both elbows, which was caused by repetitive stress of building tires. He eventually had surgery on both elbows and also on his shoulder.
The employee had previously undergone surgery of his left shoulder in April 2007 due to another work injury. At that time, he was awarded a settlement for 25 percent loss of use of his left arm. Because of the prior injury, an arbitrator only awarded the employee benefits and medical costs for the injuries to his elbows, but did not include an award for injury to his shoulder.
The Commission disagreed with the arbitrator’s ruling. They said that surgery in 2007 took care of the prior injury, evidenced by the employee’s return to full-time work. They awarded the employee temporary total disability, as well all medical costs for the left shoulder injury. They also awarded the employee a 7.5 percent loss of use of the person as a whole, which can be found under Section 8(d)2 of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act.
This case exemplifies why it is so important to have an experienced Chicago workers’ compensation attorney representing you if you are injured on the job.
Posted: August 27th, 2014 | Author: Staff Writer | Filed under: Employer Liability, Illinois workers comp, Traveling Employee Injury, Workers Comp, Workers compensation attorney | Tags: business travel, Chicago workers compensation lawyer, employer liability, Illinois employee compensation lawyer, travel injury, traveling employee | No Comments »
A bill currently pending in the Illinois legislature would put limitations on an employer’s liability for injuries an employee receives while traveling on the way to work.
Senate Bill 2622, introduced by State Sen. Kyle McCarter (R, Lebanon), would not require employers to provide workers compensation benefits for an employee who becomes injured if the employee was not traveling for work purposes when the injury occurs.
The bill is aimed for employees who are required to travel in connection with their job. It says compensation for an injury that occurs while traveling will only be provided “if the injury arises out of and in the course of employment while he or she is actively engaged in the duties of employment.”
If it passes, the proposed law would cover incidents such as a recent workers’ compensation case that was appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court. The court ruled that just because a worker accepts a job that is a distance away from his or her home that does not mean the employee automatically becomes a “travelling employee”, nor is the employer is automatically liable for any injuries the employee may incur while traveling to and from work. The new bill was introduced a month before the court’s ruling.
Bill 2622 is part of a package of workers’ compensation bills, including Bill 2623, which addresses new injuries to previously paid body parts; Bill 2625, which addresses temporary disability payments for employees who have been terminated for just cause; and Bill 2626, which addresses wage calculations for employees who work less than 52 weeks per year.
If you or a loved one has suffered a workplace injury, you need an experienced Illinois workers’ compensation attorney to represent you and make sure you receive the compensation you are entitled to under the law.
Posted: August 6th, 2014 | Author: Staff Writer | Filed under: Construction Workers, Illinois workers comp, Workers compensation attorney | Tags: Chicago workers compensation lawyer, Illinois workers compensation lawyer, injured on the job, injury, undocumented workers, workers compensation lawyer, workplace accident | No Comments »
A recent study conducted by Cornell University and Penn State University found that illegal immigrants who are working in high-risk or dangerous jobs are not paid a pay premium for working in those hazardous conditions.
The study, titled The Occupational Cost of Being Illegal in the United States: Legal Status, Job Hazards and Compensating Differentials, analyzed data from the U.S. Census’ Survey of Income and Program Participation. This survey provides information about visa and citizenship status. They also used data from Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries and the Department of Labor’s Occupational Information Network.
Not only do undocumented workers not receive a pay premium for working in dangerous conditions, but if they are injured, most are too scared to report the injury for fear they will be deported.
According to the study, one of the biggest problems is the language barrier that often exists when it comes to effective safety training. Another factor regarding undocumented workers in hazardous working environments is that many employers who hire illegal immigrants are not concerned that any safety hazards will be reported because the undocumented worker is afraid of losing their job if they do.
The research team said the evidence they found shows that undocumented workers are not employed in the most dangerous jobs – which are in mining and logging. Instead, they can be found at jobs in agriculture and construction, which can also pose serious health risks. Additionally, many undocumented workers are employed at jobs where they are exposed to dangerous chemicals or radiation, such as working in a dry cleaners or working as janitors in healthcare facilities.
Many state court decisions have ruled that an undocumented worker who is injured on the job is entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits. If you have been injured on the job, contact an experienced Illinois workers’ compensation attorney to find out what civil recourse you may have for compensation for pain and loss you have suffered.
Posted: July 31st, 2014 | Author: Staff Writer | Filed under: Illinois workers comp, Minimum Wage, Workers compensation attorney, Workers Compensation Insurance | Tags: Illinois workers compensation lawyer, Illinois workers' compensation attorney, injury at work, job safety, low wage workers, minimum wage, OSHA, workers compensation lawyer | No Comments »
Over the past several years, much has been publicized about the inequality of wages that exist for Americans. Many low-wage workers have been vocal about the inability to get out of poverty because they don’t earn enough money to cover life expenses. As of this writing, the federal minimum wage is $7.25. Some states and municipalities have raised their minimum wage above the federal level. Illinois minimum wage is currently at $8.25.
In a recent interview, David Michaels, Ph.D., M.P.H, who is the head of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), said that the this inequality of wages is also reflected in the federal rules and regulations that are supposed to be in place to protect workers from injuries and illnesses. Michaels said the current laws are not sufficient enough.
According to Michaels, studies have shown that there is a “clear correlation between low-wage jobs and unsafe jobs.” Michaels points out that an injury or illness received on the job can put roadblocks for that worker to move into better paying jobs and moving into a middle-class lifestyle.
Michaels says the main issue for the lack of protection for workers is due to how long ago OSHA’s workplace standards were written (44 years ago) and how long the process for writing new standards can take. He says that because it can take “many years” for the agency to pass new standard, employers need to take responsibility and not just concentrate on OSHA compliance, but to make sure they create a “culture of prevention” in the workplace.
Statistics are high for workers hurt on the job. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) says there were 49,000 people who died in 2012 from injuries they received on the job. Another 4 million people were injured.
When someone is injured on a job, it can have a devastating effect on their financial situation, especially for someone who is already struggling to make ends meet. The injury can also have an impact on their family relationships and other communal or extra-curricular activities they have.
If you have been injured on the job, contact an experienced Illinois workers’ compensation attorney to find out what civil recourse you may have for compensation for pain and loss you have suffered.
Posted: July 17th, 2014 | Author: Staff Writer | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Illinois workers compensation law, Illinois workers compensation lawyer, Illinois workers' comp attorney, Illinois workers' compensation attorney, two doctor rule, workers' comp law, your rights | No Comments »
According to Illinois workers’ compensation law, if you are injured in a work-related accident, you have the right to choose your own doctor, as well as any other doctors you are referred to, for treatment. Injured workers actually have the right in Illinois to choose two doctors. This is called the “two doctor rule.”
Many companies try to get the injured employee to go to either the company clinic or a doctor that has a contract with the company. This is done with the idea to keep the company costs down, but it is usually not the best choice for the injured employee. If there is a doctor on the company’s premise that you see when you are injured, this is not usually considered your first choice. However, if you initially go to a doctor at the company clinic, it may or may not be considered your first choice, depending on just how agreeable you were to the visit. An initial visit to emergency rooms when you are injured is also not considered your first choice.
A recent case that was brought before the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission highlights just how important the two doctor rule can be to protecting the rights of an injured worker.
The case involved a man who was employed as a carpenter for a remodeling company. The man injured his back while moving a large pile of group studs. The man’s supervisor insisted on driving him to a chiropractic clinic, despite the man’s wish to go to a different doctor. The visit to the chiropractor failed to relieve the man’s symptoms, and three days later he went to the emergency room with severe lower back pain.
The emergency room doctor advised him to make a follow up appointment with his primary care physician. Instead, he went to another physician, who was not his primary care doctor and for which he did not have a referral for, and was diagnosed with bulging disk. The man eventually had to undergo surgery for his injury when other treatment methods fail to produce any relieve.
The commission ruled that the initial visit to the chiropractor was not the man’s first choice of doctor and neither was the emergency room physician the man saw. Although he did not have a referral to go to the physician who he did choose to see, the commission ruled that this physician was the man’s first choice and awarded the man 65 weeks of total disability, as well as $110,666.50 in medical expenses.
If you have been injured on the job, contact an experienced Illinois workers’ compensation attorney to find out what civil recourse you may have for compensation for pain and loss you’ve suffered.
Posted: June 30th, 2014 | Author: Staff Writer | Filed under: Construction Accident, Illinois workers comp, Personal Injury, Workers compensation attorney | Tags: Chicago workers comp lawyer, dust fire, explosion, hazardous work conditions, Illinois workers' comp lawyer, Illinois workers' compensation attorney, workers compensation, workers compensation attorney | No Comments »
When many people think of hazardous working conditions, the first things that come to mind are the careers of law enforcement, firemen, members of the armed forces and construction workers. Many think of common dangers in these career paths that can cause injury.
As reported by Mother Jones, the hazardous condition that employees faced at Hoeganaes Corporation was a dirty work environment, which caused several explosions. Dangerous explosions can lead to workers’ compensation claims.
The company is a metal powder plant that provides the iron powder to vendors such as car part makers. According to several earlier reports, employees have complained about the hazardous coating of powder covering surfaces all over the plant. Workers have even reported that they had become accustomed to putting out small fires quite frequently with extinguishers and even their gloved hands. This inattentiveness to previous warnings ended with an accident where a worker was engulfed in flames. According to Mother Jones, he was burned over 95 percent of his body, and died in the hospital two days later.
While many jobs that have hazards involved, it is the employer’s responsibility to provide the employee with a safe place to work as well as the knowledge and tools to do their job safely. When the employer does not provide a clean workplace or does not heed warnings, this can result in injury to the workers. This is the basis of many workers’ compensation claims.
It seems that it would be a clear cut case and the worker would be justly compensated for injuries. However, this is not always the case. You have to be able to prove that you did everything right and that you do not share in any of the negligence when it comes to your injury. You will also have to go through medical testing and examination. This can be a scary and stressful process, but a necessary one to receive the money that you deserve. You have a better chance of winning your case with the assistance of an experienced Illinois workers’ compensation lawyer.
Posted: June 17th, 2014 | Author: Staff Writer | Filed under: Construction Accident, Construction Workers, Illinois workers comp, Ladder Fall Injury | Tags: accident, CDC, Centers for Disease Control, Chicago, Chicago workers compensation lawyer, Illinois workers compensation lawyer, ladder fall, safety, workers compensation | No Comments »
As summer approaches, construction and repair workers can be found in increasing numbers across Illinois perched on ladders to complete their work. New research from the Centers for Disease Control says that a ladder fall on the job can cause injury or death, and they may make up a significant portion of preventable workers’ compensation claims.
Ladder Falls can be Deadly
According to their data analysis, which was recently published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, nearly half of all falls that have resulted in death in the last ten years involved a ladder. Ladders are a critical source of unintended injuries on worksites, especially in the construction industry.
Although ladders are risky for use in the home, professionals can find themselves the victims of critical on-the-job injuries involving ladders. More than 80 percent of emergency hospital visits for fall incidents in the workplace were linked to ladder usage.
OSHA places certain regulations on any employer whose employees perform work at heights, although in an accident, the height of the ladder is not the most important factor. According to the CDC research, more than 45 percent of all ladder fatalities happened when the fall was between six and fifteen feet.
Ladder falls were most common in extraction and construction industries, and the smallest companies had the highest rates of ladder injuries. It is up to employers whose employees work on scaffolding or ladders to educate their employees on safety and proper use of equipment, as well as to inspect the equipment and ensure that it is up to regulations.
Preventing Ladder Accidents
Employers can do a lot to prevent the prevalence of injuries in the workplace by properly educating all workers about ladder safety. Many people underestimate the impact of a ladder fall from a shorter height, but safety precautions and education can help to improve workplace safety and reduce devastating injuries or deaths.
Both portable and extension ladders pose different safety hazards to employees. A new app from the CDC is meant to increase ladder safety for anyone with a smartphone who is using an extension ladder. The free app allows the user to ensure the ladder is set at the correct angle to safely be used, and provides ladder safety tips to the user.
Contacting an Attorney
In some cases, if you have sustained an injury from a ladder fall at work, you may be eligible for compensation. If your loved one has been killed, your family may be eligible for compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit. Contact an Illinois workers’ compensation attorney who can explain your rights today.
Posted: May 31st, 2014 | Author: Staff Writer | Filed under: Illinois workers comp, Workers Comp, Workers Comp Benefits, Workers compensation attorney, Workers Compensation Insurance | Tags: Illinois workers comp requirements, Illinois workers compensation lawyer, Illinois workers' comp lawyer, light-duty work notification, workers comp attorney, workers compensation requirements | No Comments »
In the recent Marion v. Select Staffing case, an arbitrator’s temporary total disability award was decreased from 144 weeks to 111 weeks. This change happened when the claimant was released to light-duty work and failed to contact the defendant about whether she could return to work in a position that met her restrictions. Light duty work is an important factor to be informed about in workers’ compensation cases.
The ruling of this case has important implications for employees that are released to light duty work. When this particular employee did not contact her employer about whether she could return to work with new restrictions, her temporary total disability benefits were terminated. When the claimant was release to light-duty work in 2012, nearly a year and a half after her employment was terminated with the company, the employee did not contact her former employer about whether she could be re-hired in a position fitting her restrictions. During the arbitration proceedings in which she received 144 weeks of temporary total disability, the claimant stated that she was working part time.
An evaluation of the evidence resulted in a decision that her temporary total disability benefits should have been terminated shortly before the employee was terminated from the company herself. If you are involved in a current workers’ compensation claim, it’s critical that you work with your attorney to determine your responsibilities in the case. Failing to comply with requirements can result in lost benefits for your case, so it’s important that you are aware of all necessary paperwork, guidelines, and any other details that may be pertinent to your case and benefit eligibility.
If you have been injured on the job, your first step should be to hire an experienced attorney who can help guide you through your claim. Contact an Illinois workers’ compensation attorney today.
Posted: May 13th, 2014 | Author: Staff Writer | Filed under: Employee Misclassification, Workers Comp | Tags: Department of Labor, employee, employee classification, Employee Classification Act, employer, Illinois workers compensation, independent contractor, workers compensation, workers compensation attorney, workers' comp | No Comments »
Employee misclassification impacts workers’ compensation benefits. When an employer makes the effort to classify an individual as an independent contractor, the employer no longer retains the responsibility of covering workers’ compensation coverage for that person. Employee misclassification has become an increasing problem in the trucking industry and construction industry, not just in Illinois, but across the country, when employees might only learn too late that an employer has misclassified their role with the company.
If an employer forces you to change your worker status but keep the same job responsibilities, you could be exposed to major risks. Illinois legislators outlined the importance of properly classifying an employee in the Employee Classification Act of 2008, when misclassification of construction employees removed benefits for those workers. After that Act was implemented, the Department of Labor took on the responsibility for investigating claims of misclassification. Those employers caught trying to save money by listing construction or trucking employees as independent contractors can be subject to fines.
Under workers’ compensation guidelines, it must be clear that an employee and employer relationships exists. The term “employee” is rather broad, but the following factors are typically investigated in a case alleging misclassification:
- How the worker was paid;
- Who set the ground rules for the terms under which work was completed;
- What skills were necessary to complete the work; and
- Who was responsible for providing equipment, tools, and materials for the job.
Independent contractors will retain control over most of these factors and he or she will work off of a bid system, while an employee is governed by the employer’s decisions.
Being misclassified has dangerous ramifications for employees who believe they are protected under workers’ compensation. If you have been injured on the job, you need to contact an Illinois workers’ compensation attorney.