Archive for March, 2012

Chicago Agency Fails to Investigate Medical Malpractice

March 28th, 2012 at 4:08 am

According to an article published in November in the Chicago Tribune, Illinois officials failed to investigate 85 percent of the 560 hospital complaints filed in 2010. According to charges alleged by the Illinois Guardianship and Advocacy Commission, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) let the ball drop on its obligations, including a handful of serious complaints against patient abuse and wrongful death. Created in 1877, the IDPH is responsible for protecting the state’s 12.4 million residents and maintains nearly 200 programs that influence public health in the state. One of these programs is meant to uphold a federal law that states claims against hospital abuse must be investigated within 48 hours of filing.

According to the Tribune, Illinois regulators said that their failure to investigate was a problem of funding. Though the agency spent nearly $500,000 on hospital oversight last year, half of which was in the form of federal funds, serious complaints (such as one patient who required preventative treatment for HIV after having been pricked by a dirty needle at Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital) went uninvestigated. The health department has proposed a solution that would require hospitals, like nursing homes, to pay an annual fee to help fund the cost of such investigations, though the Illinois Hospital Association has blocked the measure.

If you or someone you know has been affected by hospital negligence, contact the experienced team of Medical Malpractice lawyers at Discipio Law. While most doctors are exemplary, mistakes happen and we’re here to help you seek the compensation you deserve.


Chicago-Area Construction Worker Injured by Passing Freight

March 26th, 2012 at 4:07 am

Early in the morning on November 17, according to an article published in the Chicago Tribune, two construction workers were hit and injured by a passing freight train while working on the underside of a Joliet overpass. One worker, who was thrown roughly 80 feet to the ground from a high-lift cherry picker, according to officials, sustained serious injuries. A worker on the ground suffered minor injuries, and both were taken to a local hospital. Despite the incident, the train itself did not derail.

The Chicago-area accident comes soon after the publication, in November 2011, of a Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) report, which states that career construction workers face a 1-in-200 risk of being killed on the job. Workers who spend 45 years in the field run a 75 percent chance of sustaining injuries that lead to disablement. The risk is even higher for Hispanic construction workers who, according to the report, face a 20 percent higher risk of dying from an injury sustained while on the job. CPWR Executive Director Pete Stafford insists that, “while great strides have been made in reducing construction injuries and illnesses, the numbers are still stubbornly high.”

If you or someone you love has been injured on the job—whether in a construction-related accident or not—seek the assistance of Discipio Law Workers Compensation lawyers, protecting the rights of injured workers throughout the greater Chicago area.


Workers’ Compensation Compensating Government Facilities?

March 26th, 2012 at 4:06 am

Being injured on the job is one thing, and collecting worker’s compensation is another. But alleged fraud in the Illinois injury-claim process? That’s a whole new break. In December 2011, the Associated Press reported that a third of all collected workers compensation awards in recent years—totaling $127 million—were sent directly to only a dozen state institutions. All of these are located in southern Illinois; Menard Correctional Center in Chester alone has collected $19 million in long-term benefits between 2007 and 2010.

Menard Correctional Facility is under fraud investigation for misuse of workers' compensation. (Image from www.wikipedia.org).

The prison is now facing three fraud investigations, and is not alone. The Associated Press examined the “extent of payouts at government facilities, though not private business, under the workers’ comp system before lawmakers revamped it this year.” The comprehensive examination focused on roughly 7,800 cases obtained from the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission.

According to the Oregon Department of Consumer Business & Services, Workers’ Compensation is designed to protect both employees from unscrupulous employers and employers from lengthy lawsuits that waste time and money. Yet it’s easy to see how the system can be taken advantage of—as it appears to have been in southern Illinois. The Associated Press sites that “compared to the $40.7 million paid on 861 claims at the 12 southern work sites, taxpayers put out $24 million on 963 claims at 51 similar facilities elsewhere in Illinois.”

Workers compensation can be a difficult system to navigate, which is why if you or anyone you know has questions, get in touch immediately with one of the workers’ comp experts at the Law Offices of Francis J. Discipio.


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