Posted: August 19th, 2016 | Author: Staff Writer | Filed under: Illinois workers comp, Personal Injury | Tags: Chicago workers compensation lawyer, fault, Illinois law, liability, Personal injury, workers compensation | Comments Off
What happens if you get injured on the job and it was your fault? You cannot receive damages because you would not win a lawsuit or be eligible for workers’ compensation, right? Wrong. Some injured workers confuse personal injury lawsuits and workers’ compensation, thinking that if they themselves were the cause of their injury, they are not entitled to anything. However, the truth is that you can rarely file a personal injury lawsuit against your employer because the modern system is set up to protect workers not through civil lawsuits, but through workers’ compensation. Additionally, fault is not generally relevant one way or the other when it comes to workers’ compensation.
If worker A was injured on the job because they simply made a mistake and if worker B became injured because their employer failed to provide a non-slippery working surface, the two workers would receive the same compensation for their injuries (assuming the injuries were identical in this hypothetical situation). If you were injured on the job, contact an experienced Chicago workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible.
There are other differences between workers’ compensation and a personal injury lawsuit as well. Understanding these differences is important in determining how to seek the compensation you deserve.
Personal Injury Lawsuit
To successfully recover damages in a personal injury lawsuit:
- Fault must be found with the party that is being sued;
- Medical bills are covered, as are rehabilitation bills, property damage, missed wages, lost earning capacity, and permanent impairment; and
- Pain and suffering are factored into the equation, as is loss of enjoyment of life.
A workers’ compensation claim, by contrast, has very different requirements:
- Fault is not relevant. Either you or your employer could be negligent and it would not affect the amount of compensation you receive;
- Medical bills are covered, as are vocational rehabilitation bills, weekly missed wages, and permanent impairment benefits if the injury will result in a permanent disability; and
- Pain and suffering are not factored into the equation.
When You Can File a Personal Injury Lawsuit Against Your Employer or Another Party
While, in most cases, you cannot file a personal injury lawsuit because of an accident that happened at work (this includes filing against a coworker), there are some exceptions to the rule. For one, if a maritime worker is injured on the job, they can file a personal injury lawsuit against their employer under the Jones Act. Interstate railway workers can also file personal injury lawsuits against their employers under the Federal Employers Liability Act. If an employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance, an injured worker can file a lawsuit against them. Additionally, you may be able to file a personal injury or faulty products lawsuit against the negligent party:
- If you were injured by a chemical or toxic substance injury you may be able to file a toxic tort lawsuit against the manufacturer of the toxic product;
- If you were injured by a defective product you may be able to bring a product liability lawsuit to the manufacturer; and
- If your employer or co-worker intentionally caused the injury to occur, you will probably be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against them, and they may face criminal punishment as well.
If you were injured on the job, contact the experienced Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys at the Law Offices of Francis J. Discipio today at 630-574-2288. Reach out to us today for help.
Posted: August 5th, 2016 | Author: Staff Writer | Filed under: Dangerous Drugs | Tags: Chicago workers compensation lawyer, drugs, injury, opioids, pain management, prescription | Comments Off
When a worker becomes seriously injured, they will most likely be put on pain medication to help cope with their incredible discomforts while healing. In fact, according to a report done by the National Public Radio, successful pain management not only speeds up the recovery time, but it also cuts costs overall. Patients who are able to manage their pain with medication are able to take fuller breaths, which reduces the risk of pneumonia, and they are able to get up and walk more quickly after surgery and the initial injury, which reduces the chance of developing blood clots in the legs. Not only that, but severe acute pain, when left untreated by medication, is more likely to develop into chronic pain that can last for years after the initial injury has faded away. Pain slows recovery by not allowing the patient to sleep or feel comfortable, and it wears on them mentally as the days and weeks go by. Pain medication is vital to many injured workers, yet there are dangers with unchecked or unnecessary use of these drugs.
Opioids for Pain Management
The medical world has come a far way in pain medication over the last few decades and has created a vast array of pain medications for doctors and patients. Very often, the preferred pain medication is an opioid drug. Opiates, such as morphine, are derived from opium (and are classified as opioids), and most opioids that are used now are created synthetically, such as hydrocodone. Opioids are an incredibly useful, yet dangerous type of pain medication. They can drastically reduce the pain and suffering an injured person is going through and are handed out, with prescriptions, by the million every day. However, they are incredibly addictive and, when overdoses occur, they can be fatal.
Because of these dangers, medical workers and many people in the healthcare industry have been trying to find ways in which to decrease the abundance of these drugs, such as hydrocodone, codeine, oxycodone, fentanyl, morphine, and methadone. A recent study done by the Workers’ Compensation Research Institute showed that in the majority of the 25 states studied, including Illinois, opioids were being prescribed less and less in workers’ compensation claims. In some states, opioid prescriptions for injured workers were down by 30 to 40 percent. In another study, in 2014, injured workers received, on average, 3.33 prescriptions of opioid pain medications per year. That number was down to 2.91 in 2015.
These results are a reflection of state reforms aiming to decrease the number of people that become dependent on these highly addictive substances. However, if you have been seriously injured on the job, you may very well require an opioid pain medication to return to health without developing chronic, lifelong pain. If you have been injured on the job, contact an experienced Chicago workers’ compensation attorney from the Law Offices of Francis J. Discipio. Call 630-574-2288 today for a free consultation.
Posted: July 22nd, 2016 | Author: Staff Writer | Filed under: How to File a Worker's Compensation Claim, Illinois workers comp | Tags: denied claim, denied claims, filing a claim, Illinois law, Illinois workers' compensation attorney, workers compensation | Comments Off
Unfortunately, not all workers’ compensation claims go as smoothly as they should. Even if the injuries you sustained clearly happened on the job and, and are severe, you may run into problems with your employer’s insurance provider, or even the employer themselves. However, when you receive a denial, you have the right to challenge the claims administrator’s decision. During this process of challenging the claim, it is in your best interest to seek the advice of an attorney. An attorney can not only help you decide if an appeal is the right way to go, but can help you navigate the paperwork, gather evidence, and build a case that will win in court.
Common Reasons for Claim Denials
First of all, approved insurance claims cost everyone money. That is, they cost your employer and their insurance provider money in terms of higher insurance rates and lost profit, respectively. As such, it does not make good economic sense to accept every workers’ compensation claim without thorough analysis. Unfortunately, it does not always stop there. Some employers or insurance claim adjusters will come up with any imaginable excuse for denying coverage. It may come down to a lack of trust (the employee or insurance adjuster does not believe that the injury occurred on the job), or the claim may be denied for more mundane reasons, such as an improperly filled out or signed claim. Not all workers’ compensation claims are denied for the reasons listed below, but the following list includes some of the more common reasons as to why a claim may be denied:
- The injury was not reported immediately. In Illinois, workers have 45 days from the accident to notify their employer of the injury, according to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. The length of time increases for radiological exposure injuries; indeed, workers have 90 days from the time they know or expect they have been exposed to excessive radiation. And, workers that come down with an occupational disease must notify their employer as soon as they are aware of the illness;
- The injured person was not treated by a medical professional immediately (or at all), which may lead a claims adjuster to believe that the injury was not serious;
- There were illegal drugs in the injured person’s blood work when they went into the emergency room for treatment;
- There were no witnesses present to the injury;
- The accident report does not match medical records. For example, the injured person claimed they fell down a flight of stairs but their injuries do not match up to that type of accidental fall;
- The claim was filed after the employee was fired or let go; and
- The paperwork was not completed correctly.
While workplace fatalities have been on the decline in Illinois (there were 163 in 2014 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics), serious injuries still occur in all too high numbers. Workers’ compensation is an essential aid in getting employees like you back on your feet.
If you are dealing with a denied claim, contact a skilled Chicago workers’ compensation attorney at the Law Offices of Francis J. Discipio today at 630-574-2288 for immediate help, as the deadline for making an appeal is usually very short.