Posted: December 6th, 2013 | Author: Staff Writer | Filed under: Workers Comp, Workers compensation attorney | Tags: Cook County workers compensation attorney, Governor Pat Quinn, Illinois law, Illinois workers compensation lawyer, Oak Brook lawyer, workers comp, workers compensation rates, workers compensation reform law | No Comments »
According to Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, the Illinois Department of Insurance (DOI) has filed a request with the National Council on Compensation Insurance to lower Illinois workers’ compensation rates by 4.5 percent.
While this may sound alarming initially, this could be a very good thing for both Illinois businesses and employees. The DOI has estimated that the rate reduction could save businesses up to $110 million, which may allow many smaller businesses to offer workers’ compensation insurance to their employees. Lower costs also allow businesses to hire more employees, or put more money into expanding their operations, which could increase the number of jobs available in the state.
The state has been working on workers’ compensation reform since Governor Quinn took office. At one time, Illinois had one of the most cumbersome and expensive workers’ compensation systems in the country. Quinn’s reforms have aimed to help relieve the financial stress on businesses, while still allowing employees to receive the coverage they deserve. The newly proposed cuts will represent a 13.3 percent drop in workers’ compensation rates since the Illinois workers’ compensation reform law took effect in 2011. Current estimates show that that the reforms implemented under the new law have saved the state as much as $315 million.
If the new rates are approved, they will be implemented on January 1, 2014. Employers will need to contact their insurance companies before their 2014 renewal to determine if the new rates will have any impact on their premiums. Of course, the rates for each business will vary based on a number of different factors. Employees should not notice any difference in their current coverage or insurance costs; however, you will need to check with your employer to see how the new rates affect you to be sure.
If you have any questions about the newly proposed workers’ compensation rates and how they may affect your current claim, or if you need to file a claim for workers’ compensation, don’t go it alone. Contact a qualified Illinois workers’ compensation lawyer who can help you with your case and get you the help you need.
Posted: November 28th, 2013 | Author: Staff Writer | Filed under: Illinois workers comp, Workers Comp Benefits, Workers compensation attorney | Tags: attorney, fired, getting fired, Illinois, Illinois laws, job loss, lawyer, retaliatory discharge, workers compensation | No Comments »
The state of Illinois protects workers and their right to file worker’s compensation claims without fear of reprisal. Ordinarily, employers in Illinois can discharge employees for any cause or even no cause at all, a condition which the law refers to as “at-will” employment. The statute in Illinois that governs worker’s compensation claims makes a specific exception to the normal doctrine of at-will employment that prevents employers from firing an employee in retaliation for their filing for worker’s compensation.
In order for an injured plaintiff to access this safe harbor and receive compensation for their retaliatory discharge, they need to show three things. First, the plaintiff must show that the company employed them at the time of the injury. Second, the employee must show that they filed for worker’s compensation. Finally, the employee must show that their employer terminated their employment, and that their filing for worker’s compensation caused that termination.
Showing that the company employed the plaintiff seems easy enough, and in many cases it actually is. But, it gets a little more difficult in some cases because the law distinguishes between employees and independent contractors. Generally speaking, the difference between the two is the amount of control the employer exerts over their actions, with employees being more closely supervised than independent contractors. Additionally, some employers attempt to classify people incorrectly by referring to employees as independent contractors, but just because they call someone an independent contractor does not make them one. Instead, the judge will make a classification during the case.
Showing Worker’s Compensation Filing
Showing that the plaintiff made a worker’s compensation filing, again, tends to happen easily enough, but some odd cases do exist. It is sufficient if the employee can produce documents showing that they went through with a filing, but the law actually extends beyond that. If the employee discusses filing a claim, or even if the employer merely learns about the injury and fires the employee out of fear for a worker’s compensation claim, then that may trigger this protection as well.
Showing Cause of Termination
An employee’s filing of a worker’s compensation claim does not, on its own, prove that the employer fired them because of the claim. Instead, the employee must produce some sort of evidence demonstrating that their filing the claim substantially or significantly contributed to the firing.
If you believe that you have an injury that makes you eligible for worker’s compensation, or if you think you may have suffered a retaliatory discharge for filing a worker’s compensation claim, contact an experienced Illinois worker’s compensation attorney today. They can help you get the compensation you deserve.
Posted: November 21st, 2013 | Author: Staff Writer | Filed under: Illinois workers comp, Workers Comp, Workers Comp Benefits, Workers compensation attorney | Tags: attorney, Illinois workers compensation lawyer, lawyer, workers compensation | No Comments »
The Illinois Workers Compensation Commission recently reversed an arbitrator’s decision to deny worker’s compensation to a truck driver who was injured in a traffic accident that happened while he was transporting cargo. It offers a helpful example for those hoping to learn more about the system.
The driver began to feel ill while behind the wheel of his truck. As he attempted to pull off the road, he fainted, resulting in injuries to his neck, back, left leg. The arbitrator initially denied benefits because they considered the driver’s fainting an “idiopathic incident,” which means that some condition of the worker’s caused the injury rather than something related to the worker’s job. Ordinarily, such incidents would not be covered by worker’s compensation because worker’s compensation only covers accidental injuries “arising out of and in the course of employment.” Because an idiopathic injury results from a condition of the worker’s, it does not arise out of their employment.
The driver in question appealed the arbitrator’s decision to the Illinois Worker’s Compensation Commission, which decided to reverse it, awarding compensation to the driver. The Commission reasoned that, even though the injury qualified as idiopathic, the nature of the trucker’s job placed him at a significantly greater risk of injury. This greater risk meant that the injury arose out of the employee’s work.
The Commission also made several other important points about why this particular injury qualified for compensation. First, the Commission pointed out that injuries that happen during a commute do not normally result in compensation. This particular incident differs because the Commission recognized the trucker as a “travelling employee,” which means that the employee needed to travel for their job, and that they travel on a routine basis. According to the Commission, this means that the considered the car crash happened in the course of the trucker’s employment. The Commission also referred to the trucker’s response to the incident as part of the reason that they awarded him compensation. As soon as he began to feel ill, he attempted to pull into a rest stop to avoid the dangerous situation. While, unfortunately, he did not succeed in preventing harm, the Commission took notice of the fact that he took all the steps he reasonably could to avoid injuring himself or others.
If you believe that you or someone that you know may be eligible for worker’s compensation, do not go through it alone. Get in contact with an Illinois attorney with experience getting employees compensation for their work related injuries. It can make all the difference.
Posted: November 11th, 2013 | Author: Staff Writer | Filed under: Illinois workers comp, Workers Comp, Workers compensation attorney, Workers Compensation Insurance | Tags: attorney, Illinois, Illinois attorney, Illinois lawyer, lawyer, workers comp, workers compensation insurance | No Comments »
Workers compensation insurance is designed to protect you, the employee, from injuries and illnesses sustained while on the job. Workplace injuries can be serious and alter the lives of an employee and his or her family forever. In most states, employers are required to keep active workers compensation insurance for their employees. There are penalties for failing to carry workers compensation insurance.
Any employer who purposefully and willfully fails to carry insured can be fined up to $500 for each day of noncompliance. The minimum fine for this lack of compliance is $10,000. Additionally, corporate officers found to be negligently associated with the failure to obtain insurance can be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor, and these officers can be held responsible if the company fails to pay the penalty they are assessed with regards to noncompliance.
If an employer does not carry the necessary workers compensation insurance, that employer also forfeits their protections under the Workers Compensation Act. If an employee is injured during the time period under which the employer does not have workers compensation insurance, that employee can sue the employer in civil court (and in civil court, benefits can be unlimited). During the process of that civil trial, the burden of proof will be on the employer to prove that he or she was not negligent in their behavior. Additionally, if an employer is discovered to have gone without workers compensation insurance, the Illinois Workers Compensation Commission can issue a “work stop” order to force the employer to stop all business operations until proof of insurance has been submitted.
If you think you have the grounds for a workers compensation claim after a workplace injury or illness, it’s recommended that you consult quickly with an Illinois workers compensation attorney. Filing promptly is critical for staying within guidelines.
Posted: November 5th, 2013 | Author: Staff Writer | Filed under: How to File a Worker's Compensation Claim, Illinois workers comp, Workers Comp, Workers Comp Arbitrators, Workers Comp Benefits, Workers compensation attorney | Tags: attorney, case, Chicago workers compensation lawyer, injury, worker's compensation commission, workers compensation, workers compensation attorney, workers' compensation benefits | No Comments »
If you are injured at work or in the course of job-related activities, then you are eligible to seek workers compensation benefits in the state of Illinois. Your employer cannot fire you or harass you for making a claim against their insurance but they can deny your benefits. One way they can deny your claim is if you do not follow the proper procedure as outlined by the Illinois Workers Compensation Act.
That was what happened to Reynolds after he was injured at work at the Pinckneyville Correctional Center. In the course of his daily activities there, he had to restrain an inmate and was injured. He sustained injuries to his right arm, right shoulder, and neck. But it turns out that his workers compensation benefits were denied because he saw too many physicians.
Reynolds was first treated at an urgent care medical facility the day after his injury. He had a nagging pain in his right shoulder that needed treatment. The doctor at that facility advised him to follow up with his primary care physician, which is typical for urgent care facilities. After seeing his primary physician, he saw two other doctors based on recommendations by his wife and lawyer.
For any workers compensation claim, the claimant is allowed two choices outside of the preferred provider of their company. That is unless one of the physicians makes a recommendation to see a specialist which would not count as one of the choices for care. The initial determination by the arbitrator was that the claimant exceeded his choices by seeing recommended physicians and therefore his employer was not responsible for paying for the medical treatment received by Reynolds.
When benefits are denied like this case, the injured party may seek a ruling by the Workers Compensation Commission. The issue that was considered was whether the visit to the urgent care center could be constituted as an emergency care instead of a choice by Reynolds. The contention was that “any distinction between the words ‘urgent’ and ‘emergency’ is arbitrary.” The commission agreed with Reynolds and he was able to receive benefits to pay for the medical treatment he received.
If you have been injured on the job, or if your claim has been denied then you should seek the help of a legal professional. They will be able to assist you in following the proper procedure and make your case in front of the Commission. Contact an experienced workers compensation attorney in Chicago today.
Posted: October 30th, 2013 | Author: Staff Writer | Filed under: How to File a Worker's Compensation Claim, Illinois workers comp, Workers compensation attorney | Tags: American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Cook County personal injury, depression, DuPage, Illinois workers compensation, post-traumatic stress, psychological assessments, Will County, workers compensation lawyer, workers' compensation claims, workers’ compensation claim | No Comments »
A good job with low levels of stress can do wonders for your life outside of work. When the stress in your life is catapulted to a peak from working long hours and experienced high levels of stress on the job, however, you could face increased chances of depression. A recent study published in the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine provides some clues about the background of individuals who end up filing workers’ compensation claims after developing symptoms from their jobs, especially where post-traumatic stress is concerned.
The study looked at workers classified as “long hours overworked”, or those employees who put in at least 60 hours per week. These same individuals had high job demands (measured by their unfinished duties) and were connected to a 15 times greater chance of developing depression over the few years following working in these conditions.
When an employee is suffering from work accident injury recovery or post-traumatic stress on the job, these difficult working conditions are exemplified. When employers altered the working conditions in the favor of the employee, however, their chance of depression was reduced. Attempting to cut through the stress and develop a work-life balance can be helpful.
If you decide to move forward with an Illinois workers’ compensation claim, forensic psychological assessments or evaluations may be required. Having an attorney who is experienced in the field of workers’ compensation is crucial for moving your case along and helping you get the benefits you deserve.
Do not underestimate the impact that your working conditions can have on you. Repetitive stress injuries and situations that flare post-traumatic stress can make the workday more difficult, but it can also have an influence on your life at home. If you have sustained depression or issues with your existing post-traumatic stress because of a working condition, you need the guidance of a knowledgeable Illinois workers’ compensation attorney.
Posted: October 23rd, 2013 | Author: Staff Writer | Filed under: Burn Injury, Workers Comp, Workers Comp Benefits, Workers compensation attorney | Tags: Illinois workers' comp, Illinois workers' compensation attorney, Occupy, Occupy Wall Street, police, protests, workers compensation, workers' comp | No Comments »
In 2011, police around America made headlines due to their what some have called brutal response to protestors associated with the Occupy Wall Street movement. Occupy Wall Street was started as a response to corrupt financial institutions that had a large hand in causing the financial crisis of 2008 but which had, as of 2011, not faced any punitive consequence. One now infamous moment of the protests occurred between a group of protesters on the University of California Davis campus and a police armed with pepper spray. According to a 2011 Huffington Post article, “videos show the students seated on the ground as a UC Davis police officer brandishes a red canister of pepper spray, showing it off for the crows before dousing the seated students in a heavy, thick mist.” It wasn’t the first time in the Occupy protests that officials came under fire for heavy-handed tactics—earlier videos showed New York City Police pepper spraying “several women who were seated and penned in.” One woman involved in the UC Davis incident, according to the Huffington Post, “was transported to a hospital to be treated for chemical burns.”
If anyone should receive compensation for this incident, one would think the students would have a case. Yet according to ABC News the police officer showed spraying a group of seated students, John Pike, earlier this year was seeking a workers compensation settlement, “claiming the incident left him psychologically injured.” Pike was fired from the campus in 2012, “following an internal affairs investigation.” The claim he filed fell into the “nervous system—psychiatric” category, according to ABC.
Workers compensation claims among police officers, given the nature of the job, are common. In 2011, Oregon Health and Science University researchers launched a study in an effort to help bring down the number of workers compensation claims among police officers in Portland. This was meant to “help reduce overall health care benefit costs,” according to BusinessInsurance.com.
If you or someone you know has been injured on the job, or are dealing with psychological damage because of an incident that happened at work, you could be eligible for compensation. Don’t go through it alone. Contact an Illinois workers compensation attorney today.
Posted: October 12th, 2013 | Author: Staff Writer | Filed under: Disability Payments, Illinois workers comp, Workers compensation attorney | Tags: attorney, Illinois, lawyer, southwest airlines, workers comp benefits | No Comments »
Some jobs are more dangerous than others, but even when a job assumes a certain risk, employees can still acquire an unexpected injury. For example, a flight attendant who must assume the risk of the airplane crashing may trip in the aisle and become injured.
A Southwest Airlines flight attendant recently injured her knee while exiting a plane. As she reached for her suitcase in the overhead compartment, it fell and hit her inner thigh and knee. That was her last flight of the day, so she simply shrugged off the injuries and continued on her way to another flight that would take her home. As she was walking on a moving walkway to her flight, though, she felt a pop in her injured knee.
In the lawsuit, the defendant, Southwest Airlines, argued that she was no longer working when she felt the pop, and was therefore not injured at work, but after work. The company also argued that she was at no greater risk than the general public on that flight for sustaining her injury, anyone could have dropped luggage on their own knee.
The arbitrator disagreed, however, stating that the attendant qualified as a traveling employee, and her walk through the airport and her flight home were still part of her job. Both using a moving walkway and getting luggage from an overhead compartment are part of her normal workday.
Although the arbitrator charged the claimant’s attorney’s fees and penalties to the defendant, the Commission dismissed those charges. The argument was that the activities that were being performed at the time of injury were not extraneous activities that would have caused injury due to the job.
The final ruling awarded the claimant temporary total disability, permanent partial disability, and medical benefits as a traveling employee, but the penalties and fees to the defendant were dismissed.
Every workers’ compensation case is unique and an outcome can rarely be guaranteed. Having n Illinois workers’ comp attorney at your side, though, will help turn the tables in your benefit. Contact the Law Office of Francis J. Discipio in Cook County, Ill. if you have sustained an injury at work today.
Posted: October 6th, 2013 | Author: Staff Writer | Filed under: Illinois workers comp, Personal Injury, Workers Comp Benefits, Workers compensation attorney | Tags: attorney, Illinois, Illinois workers compensation lawyer, lawyer | No Comments »
Illinois workers’ compensation laws set forth specific procedures for filing a claim. If everything goes smoothly, the employer will not dispute a claim, allowing the claimant to receive benefits promptly. However, if the employer disputes the claim, the claimant must provide sufficient facts to support a reasonable inference that the injury occurred in the course of employment.
An Illinois workers’ compensation attorney will make sure that the facts are presented and make any reasonable inferences to build your case. However, the employers’ attorneys will also fight hard to prove the contrary.
Take the case of Ms. Oliver, for example, a second grade teacher who was going about her day. As she was walking back from the office, Ms. Oliver fell, injuring herself to the point that she needed to file a workers’ compensation claim. Unfortunately for her, the school disputed that her injury occurred in the course of her employment, which meant that she had to prove otherwise.
Ms. Oliver testified that when she fell, she had seen liquid on the floor, which she tried to side step, and fell in the process. She also testified that later that night, she had seen a small spot on her pants that smelled like coffee. The arbitrator recorded the fact that there was a small coffee stain on the knee of her pants.
In addition to Ms. Oliver, another witness – one of her co-workers – testified that she had passed by the area only a few minutes earlier, and she had not noticed any liquid on the floor, including coffee.
Unfortunately for Ms. Oliver, the arbitrator relied on the other witness’ testimony to find that facts did not support a reasonable inference that the injury occurred in the course of employment. In reaching his conclusion, the arbitrator gave more weight to the other witness, as she had no inherent motive not to tell the truth.
Ms. Oliver did not get important benefits; do not make the same mistake. Contact an experienced Illinois workers compensation attorney who can make sure you get yours.
Posted: September 30th, 2013 | Author: Staff Writer | Filed under: Workers Comp Benefits, Workers compensation attorney | Tags: attorney, healthcare worker safety, lawyer, workers comp | No Comments »
According to a recent article in Medical News Today, the healthcare industry is the most dangerous place for work injuries. The statistics were gathered by the non-profit organization, Public Citizen, which issued a report with all the compiled data.
Those statistics reveal that 45 percent of injuries received in the workplace occur in healthcare settings. The hardest workers hit seem to be orderlies, attendants and nurses’ aides. In 2011 alone, the incident rate of injuries requiring days off work was more than four times higher than that for all workers nationwide. For every 10,000 employees falling into this category, there were 486 worker injury cases.
The most common injury in this group was back injuries, costing more than $7 billion every year in medical costs.
Emphasizing the gap between healthcare workers injuries and other industries, the organization compared 2010 injury statistics between the manufacturing industry, which had 152,000 workplace injuries for the year and the healthcare industry, which had a total of 653,000 for the year.
The report puts the blame of the rate of healthcare workplace injury on the federal government and lack of oversight. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is responsible for overseeing the safety of all workers in this country, yet there are few OSHA inspections that take place at healthcare facilities. OSHA is only allotted a budget of $535 million per year to oversee over 7 million job sites.
The report compares inspections at these facilities compared to inspections at constructions sites. According to national statistics, in 2011, OSHA performed 52,179 construction site inspections, yet only performed 2,504 healthcare facilities inspections.
If you’re a worker in the healthcare industry and you suffer from injuries caused by your job, you need a qualified Oak Brook workers compensation attorney to represent you and ensure that you get the financial compensation you’re entitled to for pain and loss suffered.