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Understanding an Employer’s Responsibility (and Your Rights) After a Workplace Injury Has Occurred

December 18th, 2018 at 8:06 am

Chicago workers' compensation attorneysEach year, an estimated 4,500,000 work-related injuries occur in the United States. Injuries related to overexertion, contact with an object or equipment, and slips, trips, and falls are the ones that most often keep workers from returning to their jobs, which typically results in a loss of income for the employee. Such injuries allow employees to seek compensation for their injuries through their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance, but the denial rate is exceptionally high. Thankfully, when workers understand their rights, as well as the responsibilities of their employer, the chances of a denied claim can be reduced. Learn more in the following sections. 

5 Industries with the Most Missed Work Days from Job-Related Injuries 

Debilitating work injuries can occur in any field, industry, or setting, but statistics show that there are five industries in which employees regularly suffer injuries that result in the most missed time at work. These include the:

  • Service industry (firefighters, police, etc.);
  • Transportation and shipping industries;
  • Manufacturing and production industries;
  • Installation, maintenance, and repair industries; and
  • Construction industry.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance is Your Employer’s Responsibility

Although there are a few exceptions to the rule, most Illinois employers are required to carry workers’ compensation to cover their employees, should an accident or injury occur. Sadly, not all companies comply. If this happens to you, it may still be possible to seek compensation after an injury. Just be sure to reach out to a seasoned work injury lawyer, as this process usually requires even more effort, knowledge, and diligence than a regular workers’ compensation claim. 

Your Rights During a Workers’ Compensation Claim

Americans assume that the workers’ compensation program was developed by workers, to ensure they are protected from substantial and irrevocable loss, caused by an injury sustained on the job. However, this is not exactly true. Employers, who frequently found themselves in court for severe work-related injuries (such as black lung, death, and other tragedies). Many began to suffer financially. Realizing that they could not get out of paying for an employee’s injuries, they came up with a way to contain the cost of work-related injuries – workers’ compensation. 

What all this really means is that the workers’ compensation system is really set up to protect employers, not the workers who are injured. Still, injured employees do have certain rights, including the right to: 

  • File a claim for any injuries or illnesses related to your job;
  • See a doctor and receive treatment;
  • Return to work if your physician clears you;
  • Not fear retaliation from your employer if you do file a claim;
  • Appeal a decision made by your employer, the insurance company, or the courts; and
  • Be represented by an attorney throughout the entire claim process.

Contact Our Chicago Work Injury Lawyer

If you or someone you love has suffered a workplace injury, and you are unable to return to work, contact the Law Offices of Francis J. Discipio. Seasoned and experienced, our Cook County work injury attorneys  can assist and protect your rights throughout every step of the claim process. Call 630-574-2288 and schedule a free consultation with our offices today.

Sources:

https://www.nsc.org/work-safety/tools-resources/infographics/workplace-injuries

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2430&ChapAct=820â€%C2%A0ILCSâ€%C2%A0305/&ChapterID=68&ChapterName=EMPLOYMENT&ActName=Workers%27+Compensation+Act.

 

Emotional Trauma in the Workplace – Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms of PTSD

December 4th, 2018 at 9:44 am

Chicago worker compensation attorneyAt any given moment, 24.4 million Americans are grappling with the debilitating symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Brought on by a traumatic event, PTSD can happen to anyone, in any setting – including the workplace. Workers in “high stress” industries (i.e. law enforcement, firefighters, healthcare, etc.) are often educated on the symptoms of PTSD and screened after a traumatic event. 

The same cannot be said for workers in traditionally “low-stress” positions, however. Instead, their symptoms after a traumatic event may be discounted or overlooked, which can ultimately lead to long-term problems. Thankfully, by knowing and recognizing the signs of work-related PTSD, and by seeking the assistance of a skilled attorney, sufferers can increase their chances of obtaining fair compensation after a traumatic, work-related event. 

Signs and Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

While post-traumatic stress disorder can display itself differently from one person to the next, sufferers do tend to experience some common symptoms. These can include: 

  • Flashbacks or nightmares about the traumatic event;
  • Avoidance places, people, or situations related to the traumatic event (i.e. developing a phobia of elevators and avoiding them after seeing a robber come out of one, shooting);
  • Behavioral changes (otherwise known as arousal symptoms);
  • Sudden or uncharacteristic mood swings;
  • Insomnia or difficulty staying asleep;
  • Suicidal thoughts or feelings;
  • Loss of interest in your favorite activities;
  • Anxiety, aggression, or an overwhelming sense of fear;
  • Difficulty concentrating or problems with memory;
  • Strange or unexplainable physical symptoms (i.e. headaches, chills, heart palpitations, etc.); and
  • Avoidance of close family and friends (which can lead to feelings of loneliness and depression).

Keep in mind that such symptoms may not present immediately after a traumatic event. In fact, in some cases, the symptoms may take days, weeks, or even months to fully surface. As such, it is critical that workers file a detailed claim immediately after a traumatic work-related event. 

Contact Our Chicago Workers’ Compensation Attorney for Assistance with Your Claim

Mental health injuries are not just difficult to detect; they can also be difficult to prove when pursuing workers’ compensation. For example, an employee may claim that their PTSD was caused by a robbery, but if there is a history of mental illness, the insurance company may attempt to use it against the victim by saying they were already traumatized before the event occurred. If successful in their efforts, the claim would be denied and the victim would not receive compensation. As a result, they and their family may suffer unnecessarily. 

At the Law Offices of Francis J. Discipio, we work hard to combat the insurance companies and increase the chances of a full and fair payout on your work injury claim. We can also assist you if your initial claim was wrongfully denied. Get started by scheduling a free consultation with our Cook County workers’ compensation lawyer. Call 630-574-2288 today.

Sources:

https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/what-are-symptoms-ptsd

https://academic.oup.com/occmed/article/63/3/175/1413569#21343130

http://www.ptsdunited.org/ptsd-statistics-2/

 

Ophthalmologists: Eye Protection Can Prevent 90 Percent of Work-Related Eye Injuries

November 20th, 2018 at 9:44 am

Chicago workers' compensation attorneyEach day, an estimated 2,000 people seek medical treatment for a work-related eye injury. At a cost of around $300 million in lost productivity, medical treatment, and compensation each year, eye safety on the job should be a priority. Ophthalmologists say at least 90 percent of these injuries could be prevented if employees used proper eye protection and eye safety practices.

Unfortunately, the eyes are often overlooked during work safety talks and discussions, and proper gear is not always available or supplied to at-risk employees. Learn how you can mitigate your risk of a job-related eye injury, and discover what a skilled workers’ compensation attorney can do to improve your chances of fair compensation if a work-related eye injury does occur. 

The Three Industries Responsible for 40 Percent of Work-Related Eye Injuries 

While work-related eye injuries can occur in almost any industry, approximately 40 percent of them happen in the construction, mining, and manufacturing industries. Ranging in severity, from simple eye strain injuries to severe trauma that may cost a worker their vision, these injuries can often be prevented with proper eyewear, such as safety glasses. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) states that employers are obligated to provide such eye protection whenever there is a known risk of eye injury. As such, injured workers may be eligible for additional compensation if the employer failed to provide the employee with the proper and recommended eye safety gear. 

Protecting Yourself from Eye Injuries in Other Industries 

You do not have to work with chemicals or falling debris to suffer an eye injury. Office workers, nurses, and other individuals who use a computer for most of the day can also suffer from serious and debilitating eye injuries. Thankfully, it is possible for workers to take preventative measures to avoid eye injuries, even if their employer fails to address the issue, such as:

  • Keeping the computer at least 25 inches away from your eyes. This distance amounts to about an arm’s length away. Note that you may need to adjust the font size on your computer to reduce the risk of eye strain while trying to read text on your computer;
  • Adjusting the lighting of either your environment or your computer. If your computer screen is significantly brighter than your surroundings, your eyes must strain to see. Reducing the light on your computer or adding light to your environment can help reduce the level of strain on your eyes;
  • Reducing the glare on your smartphone, tablet, computer, and other digital screens using a matte filter or by adjusting the low light filter on your device.
  • Using the 20-20-20 rule. Staring at a digital screen for hours on end can place significant strain on your eyes. Reduce the amount of strain you place on your eyes by resting them every 20 minutes. Ophthalmologists say you should look at something at least 20 feet away and look at it for at least 20 seconds before returning your eyes to your work.

Contact Our Chicago Workers’ Compensation Lawyer for Help with Your Claim

If you or someone you love has suffered from a job-related eye injury, contact the Law Offices of Francis J. Discipio for skilled legal assistance with your claim. Seasoned and experienced, our Cook County workers’ compensation attorney can increase your chances of obtaining full and fair compensation. We can even analyze your case to determine if you may be eligible for an employer or third-party lawsuit. Call 630-574-2288 to schedule your free consultation today.

Sources:

https://nei.nih.gov/sites/default/files/health-pdfs/HVMPreventingInjuries_Tagged.pdf

https://www.ishn.com/articles/103615-of-workplace-eye-injuries-could-be-lessened-or-prevented-with-safety-eyewear-use

https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/eyefaceprotection/

https://www.ishn.com/articles/98066-workplace-eye-injuries-by-the-numbers

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21275516

https://www.osha.gov/laws-regs/standardinterpretations/2007-05-14

 

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