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Archive for May, 2014

Case Highlights Light-Duty Work Notification Requirements

May 31st, 2014 at 3:02 pm

workers comp, workers' compensation, Illinois employee lawyer, Illinois attorneyIn the recent Marion v. Select Staffing case, an arbitrator’s temporary total disability award was decreased from 144 weeks to 111 weeks. This change happened when the claimant was released to light-duty work and failed to contact the defendant about whether she could return to work in a position that met her restrictions. Light duty work is an important factor to be informed about in workers’ compensation cases.

The ruling of this case has important implications for employees that are released to light duty work. When this particular employee did not contact her employer about whether she could return to work with new restrictions, her temporary total disability benefits were terminated. When the claimant was release to light-duty work in 2012, nearly a year and a half after her employment was terminated with the company, the employee did not contact her former employer about whether she could be re-hired in a position fitting her restrictions. During the arbitration proceedings in which she received 144 weeks of temporary total disability, the claimant stated that she was working part time.

An evaluation of the evidence resulted in a decision that her temporary total disability benefits should have been terminated shortly before the employee was terminated from the company herself. If you are involved in a current workers’ compensation claim, it’s critical that you work with your attorney to determine your responsibilities in the case. Failing to comply with requirements can result in lost benefits for your case, so it’s important that you are aware of all necessary paperwork, guidelines, and any other details that may be pertinent to your case and benefit eligibility.

If you have been injured on the job, your first step should be to hire an experienced attorney who can help guide you through your claim. Contact an Illinois workers’ compensation attorney today.

Employee Misclassification: Employee or Independent Contractor?

May 13th, 2014 at 12:19 pm

employee misclassification, independent contractor, employee, employer, workers' compEmployee misclassification impacts workers’ compensation benefits. When an employer makes the effort to classify an individual as an independent contractor, the employer no longer retains the responsibility of covering workers’ compensation coverage for that person. Employee misclassification has become an increasing problem in the trucking industry and construction industry, not just in Illinois, but across the country, when employees might only learn too late that an employer has misclassified their role with the company.

If an employer forces you to change your worker status but keep the same job responsibilities, you could be exposed to major risks. Illinois legislators outlined the importance of properly classifying an employee in the Employee Classification Act of 2008, when misclassification of construction employees removed benefits for those workers. After that Act was implemented, the Department of Labor took on the responsibility for investigating claims of misclassification. Those employers caught trying to save money by listing construction or trucking employees as independent contractors can be subject to fines.

Under workers’ compensation guidelines, it must be clear that an employee and employer relationships exists. The term “employee” is rather broad, but the following factors are typically investigated in a case alleging misclassification:

  • How the worker was paid;
  • Who set the ground rules for the terms under which work was completed;
  • What skills were necessary to complete the work; and
  • Who was responsible for providing equipment, tools, and materials for the job.

Independent contractors will retain control over most of these factors and he or she will work off of a bid system, while an employee is governed by the employer’s decisions.

Being misclassified has dangerous ramifications for employees who believe they are protected under workers’ compensation. If you have been injured on the job, you need to contact an Illinois workers’ compensation attorney.

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