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Archive for July, 2014

OSHA Director Says Low-Wage Workers at Higher Risk for Work Injuries

July 31st, 2014 at 3:02 pm

minimum wage, workers comp, lawyer, attorney, Illinois, job safetyOver the past several years, much has been publicized about the inequality of wages that exist for Americans. Many low-wage workers have been vocal about the inability to get out of poverty because they don’t earn enough money to cover life expenses. As of this writing, the federal minimum wage is $7.25. Some states and municipalities have raised their minimum wage above the federal level. Illinois minimum wage is currently at $8.25.

In a recent interview, David Michaels, Ph.D., M.P.H, who is the head of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), said that the this inequality of wages is also reflected in the federal rules and regulations that are supposed to be in place to protect workers from injuries and illnesses. Michaels said the current laws are not sufficient enough.

According to Michaels, studies have shown that there is a “clear correlation between low-wage jobs and unsafe jobs.” Michaels points out that an injury or illness received on the job can put roadblocks for that worker to move into better paying jobs and moving into a middle-class lifestyle.

Michaels says the main issue for the lack of protection for workers is due to how long ago OSHA’s workplace standards were written (44 years ago) and how long the process for writing new standards can take. He says that because it can take “many years” for the agency to pass new standard, employers need to take responsibility and not just concentrate on OSHA compliance, but to make sure they create a “culture of prevention” in the workplace.

Statistics are high for workers hurt on the job. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) says there were 49,000 people who died in 2012 from injuries they received on the job. Another 4 million people were injured.

When someone is injured on a job, it can have a devastating effect on their financial situation, especially for someone who is already struggling to make ends meet. The injury can also have an impact on their family relationships and other communal or extra-curricular activities they have.

If you have been injured on the job, contact an experienced Illinois workers’ compensation attorney to find out what civil recourse you may have for compensation for pain and loss you have suffered.

Illinois Two Doctor Rule in Worker Compensation Cases

July 17th, 2014 at 12:16 pm

two doctor rule, Illinois workers' compensation lawyer, your rightsAccording to Illinois workers’ compensation law, if you are injured in a work-related accident, you have the right to choose your own doctor, as well as any other doctors you are referred to, for treatment. Injured workers actually have the right in Illinois to choose two doctors. This is called the “two doctor rule.”

Many companies try to get the injured employee to go to either the company clinic or a doctor that has a contract with the company. This is done with the idea to keep the company costs down, but it is usually not the best choice for the injured employee. If there is a doctor on the company’s premise that you see when you are injured, this is not usually considered your first choice. However, if you initially go to a doctor at the company clinic, it may or may not be considered your first choice, depending on just how agreeable you were to the visit. An initial visit to emergency rooms when you are injured is also not considered your first choice.

A recent case that was brought before the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission highlights just how important the two doctor rule can be to protecting the rights of an injured worker.

The case involved a man who was employed as a carpenter for a remodeling company. The man injured his back while moving a large pile of group studs. The man’s supervisor insisted on driving him to a chiropractic clinic, despite the man’s wish to go to a different doctor. The visit to the chiropractor failed to relieve the man’s symptoms, and three days later he went to the emergency room with severe lower back pain.

The emergency room doctor advised him to make a follow up appointment with his primary care physician. Instead, he went to another physician, who was not his primary care doctor and for which he did not have a referral for, and was diagnosed with bulging disk. The man eventually had to undergo surgery for his injury when other treatment methods fail to produce any relieve.

The commission ruled that the initial visit to the chiropractor was not the man’s first choice of doctor and neither was the emergency room physician the man saw. Although he did not have a referral to go to the physician who he did choose to see, the commission ruled that this physician was the man’s first choice and awarded the man 65 weeks of total disability, as well as $110,666.50 in medical expenses.

If you have been injured on the job, contact an experienced Illinois workers’ compensation attorney to find out what civil recourse you may have for compensation for pain and loss you’ve suffered.

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