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Archive for February, 2013

Benefits for Workers’ Compensation may be the only option

February 27th, 2013 at 1:14 pm

LucyRecently, an Illinois Appellate Court decided to prevent a widow from suing her husband’s employer for negligence. This decision was based on the previous similar case Rodriguez v. Frankie’s Beef/Pasta & Catering. Allegedly, a Frankie’s employee, Jose Rodriguez, got into an argument with a co-worker and the two were sent home by the manager on duty. The following day, instead of reporting to work, the co-worker showed up and shot and killed Jose Rodriguez.

Mr. Rodriguez’s widow attempted to sue Frankie’s Beef/Pasta Catering, claiming that the restaurant was negligent in hiring the employee that killed her husband. The trial court, however, dismissed the lawsuit, stating that she cannot bring about a suit against an employer after the employer is already obligated to pay the workers’ compensation benefits.

Workers’ Compensation provides compensation to employees or their families after an employee has sustained an injury or has died at the workplace or in the course of employment.

According to Illinois’s workers’ compensation laws, employers are liable to damages due to accidental injuries or death sustained by an employee in the course of his or her employment, other than the compensation provided through the Workers’ Compensation Act.

After being turned down by the trial court, Ms. Rodriguez appealed the decision arguing that her husband’s death was not an accidental injury, stating the definition of accidental as “unexpected and unforeseeable.” Her argument was that because the manager sent the co-worker home after the altercation, his actions the following day were not accidental.

The appellate court also disagreed with Ms. Rodriguez and stated that there was no evidence to suggest that the employer knew, or expected, that the co-worker presented a threat to the safety of Mr. Rodriguez.

If you or someone you know has been injured or killed at work, contact the Law Offices of Francis J. Discipio to fight for your workers’ compensation. Located in DuPage County, these workers’ compensation attorneys can get you all that you deserve.

Driver fails to deliver convincing evidence that overtime was mandatory

February 20th, 2013 at 1:13 pm

LaraAccording to a recent issue of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Law Bulletin, a driver stated he had been struck in the face while on the job by an office door.  He was awarded temporary disability benefits and medical expenses.

However, issues arose when the parties were attempting to determine the average weekly wage.  It was not clear whether or not hours worked in excess of eight hours a day would be classified as mandatory overtime.  According to evidence, truck drivers were required to complete additional assignments after returning to the terminal.  These additional assignments would push the drivers over the eight-hour straight work day.  Drivers had no choice in the matter of completing the additional assignments, unless a driver with less seniority was present and had not completed the eight-hour day.

It was reported that if the driver refused to accept the additional work, it was possible they could be subject to termination or disciplinary action.

The arbitrator relied on the collective bargaining agreement and the policy of the defendant in order to prove that the hours worked by the claimant were not mandatory.  The arbitrator explained that all drivers were not subjected to immediate termination/disciplinary action if they did not accept overtime hours.  Therefore, these overtime hours were not mandatory.  It is true, however, that if no discretion was permitted and drivers were subjected to immediate consequences, such as termination, the ruling would be much different.

In the end, the Commission determined that the claimant’s average weekly wage would be calculated without the inclusion of the overtime hours.

In this case, it was determined that the claimant was not being subjected to mandatory overtime hours.  In many other cases however, this may not be completely true.  If you have found yourself in a situation in which you are working mandatory overtime hours and they are not being included in your average weekly wages in the event that you have suffered an injury on the job, you should contact an experienced Illinois attorney immediately to explore your options and help you fight for your rights.

5 Steps to Ensure Benefits on Workers Comp Claims

February 12th, 2013 at 8:00 am

If you are wondering what to do after an injury at work, then there is a procedure in place that is easy to follow.  The ensuing five steps increase the chances that the claim will be considered valid.

The first step is to contact your employer about your injury.  That is unless you have been transported to a hospital for immediate care.  It is inadvisable to rely on anyone other than yourself to report your injury to your supervisor.  When you alert them, make sure to list all the body parts affected by the injury.  It would also be beneficial to receive a copy of an incident report which outlines the injury.

The next step is to relay the work injury to all medical providers you consult.  In the process of validating your claim, the workers compensation insurance company will review your medical records for an explanation of the injury.  If every provider does not know the how and the when of the incident, it may allow the insurance company to deny your claim.

The third step involves following the instructions of the medical provider.  In the course of diagnosing your injury, the doctor may order tests such as EKGs, MRIs, EMGs, etc.  These tests provide the additional benefit of increasing the validity of your claim.  If the insurance adjuster disputes the degree of the injury, then it is essential to have the results of an objective diagnostic test.  In addition, make sure that you complete all the recommendations of your medical provider including rehab.

The fourth step is to seek advice outside of your employer and insurance company.  Both are businesses rather than allies in this process.  The employer doesn’t want to lose money while you rehab from injuries.  The insurance company does not want to pay for workers compensation benefits including lost wages, medical expenses, and rehab.  Reach out to a skilled legal professional to receive direction.

The fifth step is making sure you can rely on the workers compensation lawyer handling your case.  There are many extensive forms and procedures that must be followed.  Contact an experienced workers comp attorney in Oak Brook who will fight for your rights to fair and full benefits.

Image courtesy of: Freedigitalphotos.net

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