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Archive for November, 2014

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.

Neutral Risk and Worker’s Compensation

November 5th, 2014 at 10:50 am

neutral risk workers compensation, Illinois workers comp attorneyJust what types of injuries are covered by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act (WCA) can be difficult to determine, especially if the injury or incident occurred on workplace premises. A recent ruling by an Illinois Appellate Court, 4th District, decided against the claimant in a workers’ compensation case, in which she fell while entering the workplace carrying baked goods for an office party.

The decision in Anderegg v. Kesler, Garman, Broughner & Townsley, P.C. was announced in August of this year, in response to the 2011 incident, according to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Law Bulletin (Vol. 22, Issue 11, Aug. 27, 2014).

The claimant, according to the Bulletin, is a legal secretary at the defendant’s law firm. In the summer of 2011, she was carrying two plastic containers of baked goods for an office party, and lost her balance on a stairway leading to the office. Because she lost her balance while attempting to not drop the baked goods, the claimant filed a workers’ compensation suit for an injury to her right arm.

Initially, the arbitrator denied benefits, ruling that the injury—while it did occur on the job—did not arise from her employment at the firm. This is especially true because while the claimant was carrying baked goods for the office, it was her own decision to bring in the treats; no supervisor of the co-worker had required her to do so.

Simply, this ruling sets a precedent that an employer cannot be held liable under workers’ compensation for an injury that occurs on workplace premises if the employee who was injured as no “exposed to a common risk to a greater degree than the general public,” stated to the Bulletin.

This is what is known as a neutral risk. Injuries that occur due to a neutral risk are not compensable by the WCA unless the employee was exposed to the risk disproportionately to the general public. If, for example, the secretary was required to bring baked goods and had tripped on the stairs primarily because she was carrying them in a hurry to get back by an unreasonably mandated time, she may have had a case for compensation under the WCA.

If you or someone you know is considering filing for workers’ compensation but are not sure whether or not you qualify for benefits, the most important step is to seek the counsel of a legal attorney. Contact an Illinois workers’ compensation lawyer today.

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