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Archive for March, 2015

Truck Driver Fights AWW Calculation in Workers’ Compensation Case

March 19th, 2015 at 9:29 am

AWW, Work Comp, Chicago Workers Compensation LawyerAccording to Section 10 of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, compensation for work-related injury shall be based on the average weekly wage (AWW), to be defined by the actual earnings of the employee in the job in which he or she was working at the time of injury. Based on this statute, the claimant in Sanders vs. Boyd Brothers Transportation posited that, since he was injured in course of performing his full-time truck driver job, his AWW calculation should exclude the wages previously paid to him as a trainee, a separate position for which he was paid a lower rate.

The claimant in this workers’ compensation case, as arbitrated last year in Illinois, was a trainee for four weeks earning $400 in weekly wages. In the fifth week, he began work as a truck driver, a position which included responsibility for tarping the truck. He was paid wages of $0.38 per mile, mileage bonuses, and $50 for tarping. The incident which prompted the claim occurred when the claimant fell and was injured while pulling a tarp.

The defendant argued that the AWW should consider the claimant’s full nine weeks of employment. Due to the job change after week four, however,, the claimant maintained that the earlier weeks as a trainee should not be considered when calculating benefits. Ultimately, the arbitrator found in favor of the claimant and awarded an AWW of $612.26.

The arbitrator noted precedence in other cases for the decision, including the case of Walter vs. Jacksonville Development Center.  The Commission found the claimant in that case warranted an AWW computation based only on full-time employment since there was a change in work status from part-time to full-time. Upon review of the arbitrator’s ruling, the Commission affirmed the decision made in Sanders vs. Boyd Brothers Transportation.

If you have been injured at work, you may be entitled to compensation for both medical expenses and wages lost due to your injury. Our law firm’s goal is to help protect workers’ rights and fight for your full benefits with the prompt attention each case deserves. If you have experienced an on-the-job injury in Illinois, contact an experienced Chicago workers’ compensation attorney today for a free case evaluation.

Study Finds RTW Programs Key to Injured Workers’ Return to the Job

March 4th, 2015 at 10:47 am

return to work, workplace injury, Chicago workers compensation attorneyA study by GENEX Services, LLC revealed that with the high numbers of workers who are injured on the job each year, returning those injured workers back to work has become a priority. GENEX, which is one of the largest providers of managed care services in the country, found that in 2013 alone, more than three million workers were injured on the job, at a cost of over $1 billion per week.

The study found that implementing return-to-work (RTW) programs is critical in ensuring that injured employees are safely able to go back to work. The longer an injured employee is off the job, the less likely their injuries will allow them to return. The study found that for injured employees who are away from their jobs for six months or longer, the rate of return to work is fifty percent.

The return time for injured employees at companies who have RTW programs is three to four weeks faster than companies without RTW programs. However, even with these programs in place, there are still several barriers that can hinder an injured employee’s return to work. These obstacles may include:

  • The majority of injured workers, almost 80 percent, do not receive medical treatment from top-performing medical providers. Receiving sub-par medical treatment often causes delays in returning to work, as well as additional costs in medical care.
  • The study found that there is a lack of effective case managers overseeing these programs. Many case managers did not utilize all of the resources at their disposal and also did not account for all of the legal and/or medical processes required in worker’s compensation cases.
  • Another serious issue for injured employees is the lack of formal, written RTW policies by companies. Many companies fail to effectively communicate their expectations for returning to work after an injury, often because they do not have a clear policy in place. This can greatly hamper an injured employee’s return to work.
  • The study also discovered that many companies are hesitant to implement temporary modified duty for injured employees. Instead of starting an injured employee off with limited tasks and gradually adding more duties as they heal, many companies see modified duty as a hindrance to the return. Statistics show that modified duty actually improves the amount of time an employee is out on disability by 40 percent.

If you have been injured at work but are not sure whether or not you qualify for benefits, the most important step is to seek the advice of legal counsel. Contact an experienced Chicago workers’ compensation attorney today.

 

 

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