Archive for 2014

Former FedEx Employee Exercises Rights Under Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, Proves Retaliatory Discharge

December 18th, 2014 at 11:57 am

Illinois workers compensation act, Cook County workmans compensation lawyerA majority of companies have a policy in place referencing how to report workplace injuries. In a recent case of a former FedEx employee, the plaintiff disputed his company violated his rights under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act (WCA) by terminating him.

FedEx company policy, in this case, stated that an employee who had been injured on the job must immediately report workplace injuries despite the severity of the injury and attempt to provide advance notice to management before seeking medical treatment.

The policy further stated that If advance notification was not presented before seeking medical care for a work-related injury, the employee could be subject to termination. However, according to the Illinois WCA, employee rights to seek medical attention become a legal factor. The Illinois statute states:

“It shall be unlawful for any employer, individually or through any insurance company or service or adjustment company, to discharge or to threaten to discharge, or to refuse to rehire or recall to active service in a suitable capacity an employee because of the exercise of his or her rights or remedies granted to him or her by this Act.”

Pursuant to this act, employers are not allowed to impose an advance notification requirement on an employee who requires work-related medical treatment. It maintains an employee’s rights to seek medical care without interference from an employer.

Facts of the case stated that the plaintiff suffered from a sore back while working at FedEx. The company filed an injury report and made accommodations to the employee by placing him on light duty. After five days, the plaintiff chose to seek medical treatment for his back.

The plaintiff did not provide advance notice to FedEx for treatment and returned to work with a physician assistant’s clearance to work. During his shift, the plaintiff presented the note to FedEx notifying of his medical treatment. Citing its company policy of required advanced notice, FedEx terminated the plaintiff’s employment.

Under the rights guaranteed by WCA, the court found in favor of the plaintiff and held that his claim for retaliatory discharge was established as a matter of law.

If you or someone you know is considering filing for workers’ compensation in Illinois, contact a Cook County workers’ compensation attorney today. You deserve to have your legal rights protected.

Businesses Focus on Off-the-Job Safety as Part of Workers’ Compensation Education Efforts

December 6th, 2014 at 10:50 am

off-the-job safety, Illinois workers compensation lawyersWorkers’ compensation injuries have steadily been on the decline in Illinois over the past two decades. As of 2011, the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission reported 3,201 total injuries, a 66 percent drop compared with injuries calculated in 1990. This decrease in incidents has been credited to greater investments towards improved safety measures.

Businesses are now imposing off-the-job safety education for its employees as part of its overall safety culture and aim to decrease incidents of workers’ compensation. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), a rising number of organizations consider off-the-job safety an essential factor to help employees and their families. This educational focus provides extra attention to the management of health care costs, employee productivity, and company profits.

Statistics provided from the NSC reveal that U.S. workers are safer on the job than at home with home and community fatalities up 74 percent. These unintentional deaths can be attributed in large part to:

  • Drowning;
  • Falls;
  • Mechanical suffocation; and
  • poisoning.

The national cost for these types of off-the-job injuries and fatalities was at least $246.8 billion in 2007, which translates to $1,677 per U.S. worker. These costs includes:

  • Lost wages;
  • Medical and hospital bills; and
  • Insurance administrative expenses.

Costs and production time as a result of off-the-job injuries have resulted in a higher loss of work days from employees than compared to days lost for injuries in the workplace.

The Illinois Department of Labor provides free, confidential safety and health consultations to small and medium-sized businesses in an ongoing commitment to improving safety and health in the workplace. Providing education for employees both at work and at home helps increase safety measures and prevent accidents from occurring.

If you have experienced an on-the-job injury in Illinois, contact an experienced Illinois workers’ compensation attorney to discuss your legal options. Call the Law Offices of Francis J. Discipio at 630-574-2288 for a free consultation.

New Study Gives Insight into How Body Reacts when Falling

November 21st, 2014 at 12:09 pm

workplace falling injury, Illinois workers compensation lawyerResearchers from Ohio State University recently conducted a study on how the human body moves by walking. The study, titled “A Step in the Right Direction” was published last month in the journal Biology Letters. The results of the study can help gain insight in how to prevent falls, which is one of the most common causes of workplace injuries.

The research team studied how people walk by watching them on a treadmill. There were 10 participants of the study, who were fitted with motion caption markers which tracked them as they walked on the treadmills. Participants were instructed to walk from a relaxed pace all the way to a pace of about two to three miles per hour.

As we walk, we put each foot at slightly different position with each step, in what appears to be random placement of our feet. But the researchers in this study were able to take the data gathered from the motion caption markers and come up with a mathematical model that can predict the placement of the next step over 80 percent of the time. These predictions can be made by watching the small variations in a person’s pelvis as they are walking.

As one of the researchers described it, each step we take as we walk is a balancing act to keep from going too far forward or too far sideways. Think of every step as a tiny fall in which we quickly regain stability. The method we use to take a step is a miniscule version of the larger moves our bodies make when we are losing our balance, such as in a fall.

The study team plans on continuing their research with more studies regarding the stability and control the human body uses in walking and hope to use their findings in possible aid in diagnosing and treating balance conditions.

According to another study, last year, falls were the second most common cause of workplace injuries. The cost of these falls is approximately $70 billion per year in medical costs and workers’ compensation. Some of the most common causes of falls include:

  • Floors that need to be repaired;
  • Spills;
  • Loose rugs or mats;
  • Weather hazards;
  • Inappropriate footwear; and
  • Lack of training for employees.

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.

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