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Archive for January, 2015

Independent Contractor vs Actual Employee

January 30th, 2015 at 11:59 am

independent contractor or employee, Illinois workers compensation lawyerMore and more companies are hiring independent contractor to perform the work that was once done by regular employees. This is done to cut down on costs. By hiring a contractor, the company avoids having to pay for health insurance, payroll taxes, unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation insurance, and other employee costs dependent on what the company offers or is required to cover an employee for.

If an employee is injured on the job, they are covered by the company’s worker’s compensation insurance and receive compensation for medical expenses and lost wages. They may even be entitled for monetary compensation for their injuries based on the severity of the injury. Typically, if an independent contractor is hurt on the job, they are not covered under workers’ compensation and would not be entitled to any of the same compensations an employee is covered under.

The hiring of independent contractors has become somewhat of a gray area and in many situations, just because an company has labeled someone an independent contractor, under state or federal laws, they may actually be considered an actual employee and entitled to all the same benefits employees of the company receive.

Under Illinois law, there is a list of criteria that determine whether a person performing work for a company is an employee or independent contractor. These factors include:

  • Is the person required to follow the company’s instruction?
  • Did the company provide training to the person to perform the work?
  • Does the company require the person perform the work themselves or can they assign it to others?
  • Does the company set the person’s hours and/or is the person required to work full-time?
  • Is the person paid by the hour (or week) or are they paid once the job is complete?
  • Is the person reimbursed for travel or other business expenses?
  • Did the company provide tools and/or materials necessary for the work to be done?
  • Is there are a contract between the person and the company or are they able to terminate the relationship at will?

If you are an independent contractor and received injuries while working, do not assume that you are not entitled to workers’ compensation because of your employee classification. Contact an experienced Oak Brook workers compensation attorney to discuss your case and determine what compensation you may be legally entitled to.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in the Workplace: How to Prevent This Growing Problem

January 12th, 2015 at 11:18 am

carpal tunnel syndrome, Illinois workers compensation lawyerPeople commonly associate construction zones or factories as dangerous or toxic areas where accident-related injuries will most likely occur due to the use of heavy machinery and chaotic environment. However, office employees are subject to their own set of occupational hazards, leading to a number of injuries, even though the atmosphere might be much calmer.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a repetitive stress injury that affects people in the workplace who spend considerable amounts of time at a desk or on the computer. According to the American College of Rheumatology, 4 to 10 million American suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome. It occurs when the the median nerve that runs through the forearm and wrist becomes compressed or pinched resulting in symptoms such as:

  • Tingling;
  • Hand weakness;
  • Numbness; and
  • Loss of hand function.

Carpal tunnel is a treatable condition, but in severe cases, surgery may be required. Stretching, taking frequent breaks, and ensuring an ergonomic work space are all important to help prevent hands from cramping and carpal tunnel from becoming a problem.

Desk ergonomics includes making adjustments to your desk chair and computer monitor heights, using a wrist rest, and adding items like a foot rest or headset to help with other daily office tasks. Employees should speak to their human resources manager for ways to make their desks more ergonomically sound.

Carpal tunnel can also affect any person with a job where there is repetitive strain on the nerves in the hand and wrist. Individuals who work in an assembly line or in industries like cleaning, sewing, or manufacturing also commonly experience carpal tunnel syndrome due to the repetition of daily tasks.

When a person suffers from this excessive strain, the pain and numbness may eventually lead to the inability to successfully perform the functions of the job. It is important to have preventative measures in place and an open discussion between employers and employees regarding any concerns with desk positioning.

Carpal tunnel syndrome may gradually worsen over time and a workers’ compensation claim may cover this type of repetitive stress injury. If you have experienced an injury on the job and your employer has not implemented preventative measures or refuses to help with treatment, contact a workers’ compensation attorney in Illinois today to discuss your options.

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