The History of Workers’ Compensation and Who It Covers

Posted: July 8th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Illinois Workers Compensation Attorney, Workers Comp Benefits | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off

workers, Chicago workers compensation attorneyIf you were injured on the job, your employer may be legally bound to provide workers’ compensation to replace your wages while you recover from your injury or illness. Many workers have questions regarding their eligibility, to whom the compensation can be awarded, the amount of payment they should receive, and other questions. In some cases, employers may attempt to deny an injured worker the compensation that they deserve. If you have been denied coverage, it is in your best interests to retain a skilled attorney who can discuss the options available to you..

History of Workers’ Compensation

During the industrial revolution of the 1800s, workplace injuries and fatalities skyrocketed. Factories were famously hazardous and workers were offered little to no protection during their long, dangerous hours on the job. In order to be compensated for an injury, an employee would have to sue their employer for negligence, which was simply impossible for most workers, as they had neither the time, money, or other resources necessary to find success in a courtroom in this manner. Additionally, the court usually sided with the employer in these cases.

It was not until the early 1900s that state-specific legislation was proposed to protect the rights of workers to be compensated for their injuries and fatalities. Wisconsin was the first state to provide a permanent workers’ compensation plan back in 1911. With higher standards and employers being held accountable, fatalities and injuries have fallen dramatically in the century since. However, 13 people are killed on the job every day, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

What Does Workers’ Compensation Cover and Who Receives Benefits?

The injured employee can receive compensation to cover their medical and rehabilitation costs, which are often the highest in a serious workplace accident. Workers’ compensation can also cover lost wages, which can be awarded to a fatally injured worker’s dependents as well. These death benefits may also cover a worker who was killed in the very unlikely event of a terrorist attack. Workers’ compensation is no-fault insurance, which means that an employee will be eligible for compensation regardless of fault. However, workers’ compensation usually takes away the employee’s right to sue their employer for negligence in the event that the injury or illness was the fault of their employer. There are exceptions to this rule, however. If the employee believes the injury or illness was caused by an intentional act, they may bring a lawsuit for an intentional tort. These intentional acts, that may end in physical or emotional damage, include:

  • Assault;
  • Battery;
  • Conversion;
  • Defamation;
  • False imprisonment;
  • Fraud;
  • Invasion of privacy;
  • Intentional causation of emotional trauma; and
  • Trespassing.

What Mandatory Workers’ Compensation Laws Exist in Illinois?

In Illinois, compulsory workers’ compensation begins at 40 hours per week for 13 weeks of the year. If you have been denied, or offered too little for you injuries or illness, it may be time to contact an attorney. Call a skilled Chicago workers’ compensation attorney at the Law Offices of Francis J. Discipio today at 630-574-2288.



OSHA Standards Set to Rise by Summer 2016

Posted: June 24th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Illinois Workers Compensation Attorney, OSHA Workplace Accident Regulations | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off

OSHA, Chicago workers' compensation lawyersWhile job safety has been on a rapid rise over the last half century, there is still a very long way to go before the most dangerous jobs are considered safe. The Occupational Safety Hazard Administration (OSHA) is about to roll out a new program that will eliminate some of the dangers associated with particularly hazardous work environments. According to Forbes, some of the most dangerous jobs include:

  • Airline pilots;
  • Animal caretakers;
  • Construction workers;
  • Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT);
  • Enlisted military personnel;
  • Firefighters;
  • Tractor trailer operators;
  • Loggers;
  • Parole or correctional officers; and
  • Police officers.

Not on the list are the exceptionally dangerous occupations of roofers and fishermen. Miners, taxi drivers, convenience store employees, athletes, farmers and ranchers, landscapers, garbage and recycling collectors, electrical line workers, bus drivers, and driving/sales workers are also at high risk. No matter what type of work, there are risks involved. It is the responsibility of the employer to ensure that those risks are minimized to the greatest possible extent.

With thousands of on-the-job deaths every year, the majority of those fatalities are the result of transportation collisions (traffic accidents), falls, being struck by an object or being pinned between objects, electrocution, and even homicide. Injuries and serious illnesses, of course, are more prevalent. Serious injuries can range from debilitating repetitive motion injuries to paralysis from a spinal cord injury. Luckily the most dangerous occupations are about to be thrown a life preserver in the form of a new standard for analyzing the workplace accidents of various industries and specific companies.

OSHA Set to Increase Spotlight on Irresponsible Employers

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is putting into motion a new rule to create a more modern way of collecting workplace injury data, according to reports. Through behavioral economics, OSHA believes the new standard will help improve workplace safety. Specifically, the data collected from companies will be made available to the public, bringing to light which companies take safety seriously, and which do not. This, in theory, should help force the hand of employers to increase their safety protocols and treat safety as their number one priority. The new system will require 432,000 high-hazard workplaces that employ 20-249 employees and 34,000 high hazard workplaces with over 250 employees to send their individual injury and illness information to OSHA each year. The information will be used to track trends and give employers means to make comparisons to other companies in the same field, while also putting public pressure on the shoulders of the company to set higher standards for safety. By revealing the intimate safety data of a company, workers can see whether their employer is on the right side of their particular industry’s safety average.

Contact an Attorney for Help

Unfortunately, far too many injured employees may be denied the compensation that they rightfully deserve. As such, if you were injured on the job, contact an experienced Chicago workers’ compensation attorney today with the Law Offices of Francis J. Discipio at 630-574-2288 and learn how we can assist you.



New Advisory Board on Toxic Chemicals, Workers’ Compensation

Posted: June 10th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Employer Liability, Illinois Workers Compensation Attorney | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off

chemicals, Chicago workers compensation attorneyA toxic chemical is a substance that causes harm when it is inhaled, consumed, or comes in contact with a worker’s skin. While any type of employee, whether they work in an office, in construction, in retail or food preparation, can be injured or become sick from toxic chemicals, some of the more dangerous occupations include factory work or manufacturing. Toxic chemicals are used in the production and manufacturing of everything from food, vehicles, gas, clothes, and building materials. And, of course, workers in chemical manufacturing facilities are exposed to the dangers of the products they directly create. Injuries and health issues from the exposure to toxic chemicals can include skin sensitivity, rashes, burns, throat irritation, lung damage, the development of asthma, nerve damage, brain damage, cancer, and death. Some of the more dangerous chemicals include certain types of acid, solvents and cleaning products, paint, pesticides, benzene, asbestos, lead, and mercury. Deadly fumes can also be created by the mixing of two non-lethal substances, such as bleach and ammonia, for example, which creates chloramine vapor.

All workers that use dangerous substances must have adequate training with the chemicals they use, and possibly continuing education throughout their careers. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Organization (OSHA), all employers that use hazardous chemicals in the workplace “must have labels and safety data sheets for their exposed workers, and train them to handle the chemicals appropriately. The training for employees must also include information on the hazards of the chemicals in their work area and the measures to be used to protect themselves.” Additionally, their employer must provide them with the necessary safety equipment and proper ventilation in the workplace. However, despite strict laws in place, these safeguards are violated by companies every day around the country and in Chicago. If you have been injured on the job by a toxic chemical, contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney today.

Recent Creation of the Toxic Chemical Advisory Board

While the U.S. already has some of the more stringent standards when it comes to job safety and the use of chemicals, there is still a long way to go to ensure the safety of every employee. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, President Barack Obama has created the Advisory Board on Toxic Substances and Worker Health for Part E of the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA). The purpose of the advisory board is to advise the Secretary of Labor with information regarding the Department of Labor’s Site Exposure Matrices (SEM) database. The database has data regarding toxic substances and illnesses on the job and is searchable by occupation type, chemical, and location. The EEOICPA advisory board also has information for claims examiners on the medical evidence of the claimants, requirements for claims in relation to lung disease, and information on the objectivity, quality, and consistency of work performed by industrial hygienists, staff physicians, and consulting physicians.

With the creation of the advisory board, workers in industrial plants may be able to reduce workplace accidents to some degree. However, if you have been injured on the job, contact a Chicago workers’ compensation attorney at the Law Offices of Francis J. Discipio today at 630-574-2288.