Archive for November, 2012

Doctor Access during Workers Compensation

November 30th, 2012 at 8:00 am

If you have been injured on the job, then you have a right to be protected.  That is in essence what workers compensation intends to do.  It will protect you against high health care bills and it will also take your lost wages into account so that you can keep up with your bills.  But the protection afforded by workers compensation is two-fold.  It also protects the company whose employee gets hurt so that they can’t be sued for any work-related injury.

In order to fully use the workers compensation system, it is important to know the rules as they are set in the Illinois Workers Compensation Act.  Illinois workers compensation laws allow injured workers to pick up to two doctors for treatment. This does not count any emergency room doctors that are seen, but the primary care physician with whom treatment is started.

This does not mean that your primary care physician will be the only doctor you see.  You may be urged to see specialists, therapists or other medical professionals as part of your doctor’s treatment plan.  Yet, because a doctor and patient relationship is very important, the state of Illinois will allow you to switch doctors.  If you feel like you are not receiving the best care, you have an opportunity to change, at your employer’s expense.

The rules are clear that if there is a second change to a third doctor for treatment, then the injured worker could be on the hook instead of the employer.  If you have been injured at work or have questions about workers compensation benefits, then seek out a skilled legal professional.  Contact an experienced workers compensation attorney in Oak Brook to discuss your possible workers compensation case.

Illinois Goes After Scofflaw Employers

November 25th, 2012 at 5:58 am

It used to be pretty simple – a company hired you to work for them and you were an employee. You filled out your W-4 and received your pay, with tax withholdings, along with other benefits the company may have offered – health insurance, pension, etc. If you were laid off, you qualified for unemployment benefits. You also were protected if you were hurt on the job because companies are required to have worker’s compensation insurance for just that reason.

However, over the past few years, more and more companies have found a way to skirt around those requirements by hiring full-time people and classifying them as ‘independent contractors’ and not employees. Instead of filling out a W-4, you now fill out a 1099, which makes you responsible for tax withholdings. You also are not entitled to any other benefits, including worker’s compensation. If you are hurt while performing duties for the company, you are solely responsible for all medical expenses incurred and you are not entitled to any pay for work missed.

But the state is looking to change that and has announced new initiatives to enforce Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act .  In a statement released by the Illinois Worker’s Compensation Commission, (IWCC), Gov. Pat Quinn said. “Stopping this fraud means business owners will compete fairly, workers will be paid the wages and overtime they earn, and funds set aside to help someone when they are hurt or unemployed no longer will be short-changed. This initiative rewards those who do it right and punishes those who knowingly do it wrong.” Employers breaking the law could face fines of at least $10,000 and up to 24 percent interest on failed payments.

If you have been hurt or injured while working on a job where the employer has classified you as an independent contractor, you need to contact an experienced Illinois worker’s compensation attorney to help make sure you receive the compensation you’re entitled to.

Illinois nurse seeks compensation after parking lot injury at work

November 15th, 2012 at 5:55 am

Case name: Vandewyngaerde U. Illinois, State  20 ILWCLB 156 (H1. W.C. Comm. 2012). (Illinois Workers’ Compensation Law Bulletin)

Ruling: The claimant was owed 18-4/7 weeks of temporary total disability benefits and $41,955 in medical expenses. That was owed for the injuries that she received from her fall after slipping on snow and ice in the employee parking lot.

What it means: Even though the claimant was clearly warned of the dangerous weather conditions outside especially in her state, in a walking boot for her injured foot, it does not mean necessarily that her decision to go outside in the dangerous weather conditions was an unreasonable or unnecessary risk. Because her break was authorized, she had no choice but to walk across the snowy, icy parking lot in order to return to the building and get back to work.

Summary: On January 17, 2011,  a registered nurse, the claimant, was on her way back into work after an authorized break in the employee parking lot when she slipped and fall on ice. She injured her right arm. At the time, the parking lot was covered in snow and ice. One of her coworkers advised her to not go outside because of the dangerous conditions in addition to the protective boot she was wearing on her foot. Her left foot was injured from an unrelated injury. The claimant went outside anyway though, and walked to her car for a smoke break. Her coworker that saw the fall helped the claimant to her feet and into the building. She was then transported to a hospital by ambulance. The arbitrator argued that her reasons for going out in the dangerous conditions were voluntary and for the personal comfort of smoking. The injury also did not occur directly due to her employment, but the Commission decided the injury was through the course of her employment.

If you are ever in a situation against your employer, contact The Law Offices of Francis J. Discipio. The Discipio law firm can help you get full benefits from a work place injury or other workers compensation. Contact Discipio Law in Cook County now.

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