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Protection of Employees under Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act

September 4th, 2014 at 9:03 am

workers compensationIllinois Workers’ Compensation Act 820 ILCS 305 clearly outlines the responsibility that employees have when a worker is injured on the job.

There are many factors that determine the amount of benefit an employee will receive if they are injured. The amount of pay the injured employee was earning is used to determine the workers compensation benefit and/or settlement amount he or she is entitled to receive.

Another factor considered is the severity of the employee’s injury and what body part is involved. What future medical costs be, as well as what limitations the permanent injury will place on the employee’s life, are also used to determine what settlement amount the employee will be awarded.

The purpose of the law is to protect employees because often, an employer and their insurance company will try to avoid responsibility for the injury, which is why it is critical for an injured employee to hire a workers’ compensation attorney. If the employee has received a prior injury of the same body part, the insurance company’s attorneys could argue that the current injury is related to the prior injury and, therefore, they are not responsible for benefits.

That is what happened in a recent case that went before the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. The employee, who worked as a truck tire builder, filed a claim in January 2010 after being diagnosed with spurring and impingement syndrome of his left shoulder and both elbows, which was caused by repetitive stress of building tires. He eventually had surgery on both elbows and also on his shoulder.

The employee had previously undergone surgery of his left shoulder in April 2007 due to another work injury. At that time, he was awarded a settlement for 25 percent loss of use of his left arm. Because of the prior injury, an arbitrator only awarded the employee benefits and medical costs for the injuries to his elbows, but did not include an award for injury to his shoulder.

The Commission disagreed with the arbitrator’s ruling. They said that surgery in 2007 took care of the prior injury, evidenced by the employee’s return to full-time work. They awarded the employee temporary total disability, as well all medical costs for the left shoulder injury. They also awarded the employee a 7.5 percent loss of use of the person as a whole, which can be found under Section 8(d)2 of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act.

This case exemplifies why it is so important to have an experienced Chicago workers’ compensation attorney representing you if you are injured on the job.

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