Archive for December, 2012

Tragic Forklift Accident Leaves One Man Dead

December 29th, 2012 at 8:00 am

Forklifts are prevalent in construction jobs and in warehouse jobs.  The Occupational Safety and Health Administration estimate that out of the 855,000 forklifts in the United States over ten percent will be in some sort of accident.  Nearly 35,000 of those are reported to be serious injuries and more than 850,000 are not serious.  While close to 90 deaths result from forklift accidents; unfortunately, for a man from Kankakee, he falls into the latter number.

21 year old Jacob Dluzak was found stuck between the bars of a boom forklift.  He was discovered by a co-worker at the St. Anne Farmers Consignment Auction in Northeast Illinois.  Dluzak was transported to the Riverside Center where he was pronounced dead on December 27th.

Local authorities are unaware of the cause of the accident as the death is still being investigated.  There are a few contributing factors that can lead to a forklift related death or injury.  A lack of training or improper training is the major influence on work-related accidents. If the warehouse or manufacturing department is working too quickly to meet a deadline, it can also lead to more accidents.  The lack of maintenance and procurement of forklifts can also be an organizational factor that leads to increases in injury.

While employees are at work, there is a tacit agreement between the employee and employer that the employer will be in a safe environment.  Though, workplace accidents should be avoided at all costs by business, sometimes they are unavoidable.  If you or a loved one have been injured by a forklift, then a workers compensation suit can help alleviate the stress of big hospital bills.  Contact a thorough workers compensation attorney in Cook County today.

Cook County Jury Awards Record Settlement

December 21st, 2012 at 3:44 pm

According to the Chicago Tribune, Ronald Bayer finally has some resolution. Bayer, now 41, was working at a construction site in 2007. He fell from a beam and sustained serious injury from the 15 foot fall. He was left paralyzed and can never work again.

When he fell, his neck snapped deeming him a quadriplegic. He is paralyzed from his chest down and has a very limited amount of movement in his arms. He has had several surgeries to repair his tendons and has regained some ability to use his fingers.

There were no safety cables provided on the steel beams by the general contractor, Panduit Corporation, that Bayer was working for. The defendant’s attorney claimed that Bayer was totally at fault because he chose not to hook a safety harness to the basket as he would usually do. The jury found that Panduit was 80% responsible for the accident and awarded Bayer a $64 million settlement in the case.

Defense counsel has already announced that the general contractor will appeal the case. It may take several years before Bayer starts to receive any of the money that the court has awarded. Workers’ compensation has already covered all of his medical bills that he has accumulated since the accident which has amassed to over $5 million.

According to the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration, falls are the leading cause of death of workers. The second most common violation on work sites is the absence of fall protection.

If you have been injured on the job, you need to retain an understanding and aggressive Illinois workers’ compensation attorney to make sure that you receive the compensation that you deserve. Your employer will have top notch attorneys on their side to try to keep them from having to pay a large award for your injuries. You need an attorney to be sure that your interests are properly protected as well.

Nurse’s Overtime Included in Wages for Purposes of Workers’ Compensation

December 15th, 2012 at 8:32 am

The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission recently decided a case involving the issue as to whether a nurse’s overtime pay should be included in her average weekly wage calculation for the purposes of her workers’ compensation claim. The arbitrator concluded that as a result of the nature of the nurse’s mandatory overtime over the 52 weeks prior to her injury, her overtime pay should be included in computing her average weekly wage. Furthermore, the arbitrator found that the claimant nurse had sustained a 30 percent loss of the use of her left arm as a result of her on-the-job injuries. The Commission affirmed and adopted the arbitrator’s decision.

In this case, the claimant worked as a licensed practical nurse and mental health technician at an Illinois mental health facility. She suffered a shoulder injury on the job when a mentally disabled adult attacked her and threw her to the floor. The nurse testified that overtime was mandatory; she could either volunteer for a particular overtime shift, or she would be assigned a shift. If she failed to work overtime, she could be disciplined and even terminated by her employer. Based on the claimant’s testimony, as well as her wage records from the year prior to her injury, the arbitrator found that the claimant’s overtime wages should be included in her average weekly wage for the purposes of computing her workers’ compensation benefits.

The arbitrator also examined evidence concerning the nature and extent of the claimant’s shoulder injury. Her injury required surgery involving four separate procedures and extensive physical therapy. The claimant testified that she continued to experience pain, weakness, and limited range of motion in her left arm, which impairs her ability to perform her job duties. As a result, the arbitrator found a 30 percent loss of use of her left arm.

If you have been injured while at work, you may need the assistance of an experienced Illinois workers’ compensation attorney. Contact our office today for a thorough assessment of your claim.

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