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Archive for the ‘Fall Injuries’ Category

Police Officer’s Injuries Fall under Traveling Worker Doctrine

February 12th, 2015 at 7:00 am

Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer, Traveling Worker DoctrineUnder most circumstances, employers are not liable if an employee is injured while traveling to or returning home from work at the end of a required shift or commitment. However, there are several jobs which require employees to travel during work hours in order to fulfill the duties of their job. Hence, many states have adopted some variation of the traveling worker doctrine.

In an appeal of a case heard before the Illinois Workers Compensation Board, the board agreed with the original arbitrator’s ruling that the traveling worker doctrine was correctly applied in an original ruling which favored a claimant.

The claimant, a police officer with the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, had testified that he was driving in his assigned patrol car when he received a call from district headquarters. He was asked to drive to one office to pick up requested documents and to then drive to another office to deliver the documents.

The officer drove his vehicle to the first location and parked it in a parking lot owned by the district. The claimant testified that he was aware that it was getting close to the end of his shift. Therefore, he only had so much time to complete his assigned task. He left the vehicle and walked toward the building. While doing so, he checked his watch and then tripped on an elevated sidewalk which was located in the front of his vehicle.

The fall resulted in injuries to the claimant’s right knee, should and arm, as well as injuries to his left knee. The arbitrator who heard the original case awarded the claimant benefits under the traveling employee doctrine. The arbitrator based the finding on the following facts:

  • The arbitrator determined that because the officer had been assigned a patrol car for his job, as well as the required duties of patrolling various locations both on and off district-owned property, this confirmed that the claimant was indeed a traveling employee.
  • Regarding the “reasonableness” of the officer’s claim, the arbitrator determined that the act of the officer walking across the parking lot in order to complete the assigned task was a “reasonable” action. The arbitrator further stated that because the claimant was only given a certain amount of time to complete the task, the act of checking his watch—although a distraction which resulted in him missing the sidewalk and falling—was also a “reasonable” act.

The board agreed with the original findings of the arbitrator and agreed that the claimant’s injuries fall under the traveling worker doctrine.

If you or a loved one has suffered a workplace injury, please contact a knowledgeable and experienced Chicago workers’ compensation attorney to represent you and make sure you receive the compensation you are entitled to under the law.

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.

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