Posted On: June 30, 2009

Catastrophic Work Accidents on Monday Lead to Injuries and Deaths

It’s only Tuesday and already several workers have been seriously injured or killed in US work accidents this week. Hopefully, their workers’ compensation benefits can help cover costs incurred from the accident and provide financial relief.

Yesterday, three workers died while in a liquid-filled hole at a waste transfer plant. Authorities say the workers appear to have been overcome by toxic fumes. Two of the people that died were a father and a son.

The hole was 18-feet deep and had about four feet of liquid in it. One worker fell into the hole. A second worker tried to rescue him. A third worker that was trying to assist the two workers also fell into the hole. Firefighters say that by the time they arrived at the work accident site, the three bodies were face down in the liquid. Authorities say there were toxic levels of hydrogen sulfide in the air. The plant is run by M & P Reali Enterprises.

Also on Monday, a 53-year-old worker died after he was run over by the tractor he was operating. Reginaldo Correa Talamantes, 53, got caught under the vehicle's rear wheel. He was pronounced dead at the work accident site.

In an unrelated work accident in another US state, foreman John Evans’s leg was crushed while he was trying to line up the milling machine. He tripped and fell in front of the machine. The machine operator did not see Evans and ran over his leg.

Sustaining a catastrophic injury in any accident is a traumatic and devastating event that not only causes great pain and injury to the victim and his or her family, but it also can dramatically impact the worker's ability to work and earn a living. This is why it is important that you receive all of the Illinois workers’ compensation benefits that you are owed.

Willows orchard worker killed in tractor accident,, June 30, 2009

Worker's leg crushed in road milling accident, The Herald-Mail, June 30, 2009

3 Workers Dead at Waste Plant in Queens, NY Times, June 29, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Illinois Industrial Commission

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Posted On: June 27, 2009

Construction Accident at Airport Injures Five Workers

Five construction workers got hurt in a construction accident at the McCarran International Airport. They were working on the international terminal project when the work accident happened.

According to an airport official, a horizontal structure made of reinforced steel rods fell around the men. Workers that were not involved in the construction accident used cranes to remove the fallen structure to free the workers. One man was treated for a punctured lung. All five workers are employed by Pacific Coast Steel.

Just this February, a worker employed by a paving company died at this construction site.

Construction Accidents
Construction work continues to be a dangerous line of employment for its workers. This is why the parties involved with running a site and the people in charge of overseeing construction workers must ensure that the proper safety measures are in place.

Earlier this month, in Austin, Texas, construction workers went to City Hall to demand better working conditions. They brought with them 142 pairs of work boots to represent the 142 workers killed in Texas construction accidents in 2007. More construction workers were killed in Texas that year than in any other state. The workers' call for change came three days after three construction workers died. They sustained fatal fall injures when a scaffold collapsed outside a high-rise building that was under construction.

Two of the men fell at least 11 stories to the ground. A third worker fell a few stories before landing on a parking garage roof. He was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead a few hours later.

Chicago Construction Accidents
Our Chicago construction accident law firm knows how to identify the parties that are liable for causing an Illinois construction accident. We also can make sure that you receive all of the workers’ compensation benefits that you are owed.

5 hurt in Las Vegas airport construction accident, MercuryNews/AP, June 23, 2009

Austin Workers Call For Better Conditions After Deadly Construction Accident,, June 16, 2009

3 construction workers killed in scaffold plunge,, June 11, 2009

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Posted On: June 26, 2009

Illinois Workers’ Compensation: Agent Admits that He Defrauded 22 Businesses Out of $400,000 in Premiums

An Illinois insurance agent has admitted to defrauding 22 businesses out of about $400,000 in workers’ compensation premiums. In Lake County Court, Reuben Collier Jr. pleaded guilty to four Class 3 felony charges.

Collier, who was working in Waukegan out of Collier Insurance Agency, committed insurance fraud when he fabricated false insurance certificates to make his clients think that their premiums were sent to insurers.

According to investigators, many of his clients paid cash for their Illinois workers’ compensation coverage. The Illinois Department of Insurance and the Waukegan Police Department say that the insurance agent told these clients that they were getting a discount because they paid him in cash.

Collier also forged bogus policy renewals when policy periods were about to or had ended, and he would create fraudulent certificates when clients needed additional proof of insurance.

As part of his guilty plea, Collier:

• Must serve a 30-month probation period.
• Serve a term of periodic imprisonment, which will include electronic home monitoring. He will be released for work.
• Make restitution to 24 of his victims for $97,136.

Workers’ Compensation
It is important that Illinois companies have workers’ compensation coverage so that in the event that an employee is injured, gets sick, or dies on the job, he or she can receive benefits. Illinois workers’ compensation law prevents workers from suing their employer for personal injury or wrongful death because they can avail of this coverage.

Unfortunately, disputes and misunderstandings can arise between injured workers and their employers, which can make obtaining workers’ compensation benefits in a timely manner a challenge—unless you’ve got legal help.

Illinois Agent Guilty of Fraud Charges, Insurance Networking News, June 25, 2009

Illinois Insurance Agent Pleads Guilty to Fraud,, June 25, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

Illinois Workers' Compensation Act

Illinois Department of Insurance

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Posted On: June 24, 2009

Chicago Slip and Fall Work Accident: Worker Dies After Falling into Manhole

A Chicago Park District employee was killed after he slipped and fell into a manhole. William Daniels III was in Mann Park doing maintenance work last week on the wading pool when he appears to have opened a drain, slipped, and fell in. He was partially submerged in the drain after he was struck by a rush of water. Someone saw him leaning into the manhole and contacted 911.

Firefighters arrived to rescue Daniels, who was in cardiac arrest by the time they arrived. Daniels, 59, was pronounced dead at St. Margaret’s hospital. Tests will be conducted to determine if he died from drowning.

Manhole Accidents
Manhole accidents can cause serious injuries to workers. Just this April, two contract workers collapsed while in a manhole. One of the workers died. Investigators have said that the air in the manhole contained 13% oxygen. Less than 16% oxygen in the atmosphere is considered very dangerous. The deadly work accident happened just one block away from where a worker had to be rescued from another manhole.

Just last month, a judge issued an order that allowed family workers of two workers that died in a manhole accident to move forward with their wrongful death lawsuit against Boyd Gaming, the owner of the hotel-casino where the tragic work accident happened. Boyd supervisors were accused of ordering the employees to go into the manhole even though they allegedly knew it could prove fatal. A third worker also sustained serious injuries during the work accident.

In October, a Consolidated Edison worker that was splicing cable was killed in a manhole blast. In 2003, a construction worker broke his leg while working in a manhole.

Sewer death: Autopsy set for Park District worker who died, Chicago Tribune, June 24, 2009

Chicago Park District employee drowns in catch basin, Chicago Sun-Times, June 16, 2009

Suit in Orleans worker deaths allowed to proceed,, May 1, 2009

Worker dies while in manhole,, April 24, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Chicago Park District

Illinois Industrial Commission

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Posted On: June 18, 2009

Illinois Work Accident: Worker Sues Crane Company for Construction Accident Injuries, Including TBI

A Monroe County construction worker is suing Rehkemper & Sons and National Crane Company for his work injuries. Andrew Buckley claims he started to experience mental, personality, and behavioral changes after he sustained a traumatic brain injury while on the job.

Buckley says that on July 11, 2007, he was hit in the head and chest by bundled floor trusses that had fallen after the crane arm that was carrying the materials suddenly broke. The impact of being struck by the bundles threw him backward onto concrete.

Buckley says that as a result of the crane accident, he sustained facial fractures and had to undergo reconstruction surgery. He also sustained a TBI. He contends that his ability to work and enjoy life became impaired and he lost income because he couldn’t work.

At the time of the work accident, Buckley was employed by McFadden Construction Company, and Rehkember and Sons was using mobile cranes at the Columbia construction site. He is seeking over $50,000 plus other relief.

Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries are catastrophic injuries that can seriously impair your ability to live a normal life. A person with a TBI may no longer be able to work or perform daily tasks, and his or her ability to interact with family and friends may become seriously impaired.

While Illinois workers’ compensation benefits will provide you with some compensation for your TBI that you sustained in a work accident, this may not be enough to cover all your costs and losses. An experienced Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer can determine whether you have grounds for filing a third party lawsuit against other liable parties.

Traumatic brain injury at work site prompts suit, The Record, June 11, 2009

Brain injuries are the 'invisible' disability, The Enterprise-Bulletin, June 11, 2009

Related Web Resources:

Construction Accidents Overview, Justia

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Posted On: June 15, 2009

Illinois Workers’ Compensation: Insurance Carriers Reportedly Worried About Worker Claims Linked to Obesity

According to the Insurance Journal, workers’ compensation carriers are worried that the increase in the number of obese people in American could lead to poorer job performance. According to the facts:

• The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says about 25% of Americans are obese.
• By 2020, 43% of US women and 40% of the men are expected to be obese.
• Over 70% of both males and females are expected to be overweight.
• The National Council on Compensation Insurance reports that obesity affects mortality rates and can reduce productivity.
• It can also lead to poorer health, more time in hospitals and emergency rooms, and a poorer quality of life.
• Workers that are considered morbidly obese had eight times more lost workdays than other workers.

In regards to obese workers, a 2007 Duke University Medical Center study reports that:

• Very obese workers file 45% more claims than employees that are not obese.
• Their medical costs from claims were seven times higher.
• Slip accidents, fall accidents, and lifting accidents were among the common causes of injuries.
• Obese workers were at high risk of sustaining injuries to their back, hands, wrists, or lower extremities.

The study recommended that employers develop a strategy that promotes healthy eating and physical activity. Also, according to a Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health study, workers in the obese category tend to have a higher risk of injury than workers with a normal body mass index.

If you are injured on the job—regardless of who is at fault or who caused the accident—your employer is likely obligated to pay you Illinois workers’ compensation. In the event that your benefits are denied or delayed, there are legal avenues available for you to ensure that you receive the benefits you are owed.

Workers' Compensation Industry Worried About Obesity Claims, Insurance Journal, June 9, 2009

Obesity Increases Risk of Injury on the Job, Johns Hopkins, May 15, 2007

Obesity Increases Workers' Compensation Costs,

Related Web Resources:
Overweight and Obesity, CDC

Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

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Posted On: June 10, 2009

Chicago Workers’ Compensation: Worker on Dan Ryan Expressway Struck by SUV

A Chicago worker was injured on the Dan Ryan Expressway early this morning when he was hit by an SUV. The worker was picking up highway barrels when the Illinois work zone accident happened, causing him to get pinned against his truck.

He suffered severe leg injuries and was transported to a local hospital.

Illinois Work Zone Accidents
According to an Illinois State Police official, there were 31 work zone deaths in 2008. 2 of the victims were construction employees. 27 work zone deaths occurred in 2007, including two construction worker deaths. There were 29 work zone fatalities in 2006, including one construction employee fatality. The majority of deadly work zone accidents occur because of driver distraction or speeding.

A few years ago, state police began using photo enforcement vans close to work zones to catch people speeding. Vans are easy for motorists to see and come with a speed board. As a result, over 7,441 speeding tickets have been issued over the last four years, and the Illinois Department of Transportation has made over $7.4 million from work zone speeding violations. The IDOT maintains, however, that the citations are issued to save lives and not to make money.

Illinois work zone employees injured on the job should file their workers’ compensation claims as soon as possible. Regardless of who caused your work injury accident, you are likely entitled to work injury benefits—and you may also be able to obtain Illinois personal injury compensation from a negligent driver or another careless party.

Common causes of injuries to highway workers:

• Motor vehicle accidents involving passing traffic.
• Construction accidents involving construction equipment and work vehicles.
• Inadequate safety measures or lack of the proper safety gear to protect workers.

Illinois highway work zone deaths decline, but police remain vigilant, Herald & Review, July 19, 2009

Dan Ryan road worker hit, seriously injured, Chicago Breaking News, June 10, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Building Safer Highway Work Zones: Measures to Prevent Worker Injuries From Vehicles and Equipment, CDC

The National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse

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Posted On: June 9, 2009

Slim Jim Plant Blast Injures Over 30 People

A blast at a Slim Jim meat products plant today injured at least 38 people. As of this report, 2 others are missing. 5 of the injured parties—including three firefighters—are in serious condition. 4 of these critically injured patients have burns in 40 – 60% of their bodies.

The majority of the other injured parties were treated and released. One man, who sustained burns on his arms, head, and legs said that his clothes had to be cut off him. Smoke inhalation and exposure to ammonia—a toxic cloud was floating around the plant after the explosion—are among the other injury concerns.

Authorities are still trying to locate the remaining missing people. A third person that was missing has been found and was taken to a hospital.

Some 300 people were in the plant when the blast occurred, causing parts of the roof to collapse. At this time, the cause of the blast is not known.

The Slim Jim plant is a ConAgra Foods plant. The state had inspected the plant last July and there were no reports of violations—although there have been reported violations in the past.

Commonly used as a refrigerant in food processing plants, including meatpacking plants, ammonia gas can prove dangerous to workers’ health. Ammonia can burn the eyes and skin. During an ammonia leak, an ammonia cloud can cause swelling and burning to occur to the lung, nose, and throat passages. Exposure to serious ammonia leaks can lead to pulmonary edema, permanent eye or lung problems, or infectious diseases. Regular exposure to ammonia over a long period of time can lead to excess mucus or bronchitis.

If you are a worker who sustained burn injuries or ammonia-related injuries or any other type of injuries in a work-related explosion, you need to report your injuries as soon as possible so you can start receiving your Illinois workers’ compensation benefits. In the event that a dispute over benefits arises, you should consider exploring your legal options.

3 critical, 2 missing after Slim Jim plant explosion, CNN, June 9, 2009

Four critically burned in Slim Jim plant explosion, roof collapse, WRAL, June 9, 2009

Ammonia, UCFW

Related Web Resources:
ConAgra Foods

Meatpacking Industry, OSHA

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Posted On: June 8, 2009

Illinois Construction Worker Injured in Trench Collapse

Rescue workers in Illinois rescued a construction worker that got trapped in a trench at the construction site of a Sonic Drive-In in Belvidere. The injured worker was transported by air to a local hospital.

According to officials, the 38-year-old worker was in the trench moving dirt so lines could be run into the restaurant when the trench collapsed, burying him from the waist down in the trench. The worker remained conscious, as rescuers attempted to get him out of the 8 feet-deep trench following the Illinois construction accident.

Rescuers included the Rockford Fire Department Technical Rescue unit, the Blackhawk Fire and Rescue, the Belvidere Sewer, EMS Services, the Water Department, and the rescue fire departments from Rockford, Harlem-Roscoe, Belvidere, and Rockton. It took over two hours to extricate the injured worker.

Trench Accidents
Construction workers risk serious injury any time they are involved in a trench accident. If a trench cave-in or collapse happens, the worker can die of asphyxiation, become crushed, end up inhaling hazardous substances, drown, or sustain broken bones, nerve damage, a spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injuries, or get buried alive.

Common causes of trench collapses:

• Flooding
• Machinery placed close to the edge of an excavation site
• Contact with underground utility lines
• Improper shoring
• Digging defects
• Equipment issues
• Lack of safety equipment

Employers are required to put in place the proper safety and protection systems to prevent trench collapse or cave-in accidents from happening. In the event that you are injured in an Illinois trench collapse accident, you are likely entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.

In a Chicago trench collapse accident that happened last month, rescuers transported an Illinois construction worker that got trapped for over four hours in a trench near a Northwest Side high school to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center. The worker was repairing a sewer line when the Chicago construction accident happened.

Worker rescued from trench collapse,, June 1, 2009

Man rescued after spending more than 4 hours in trench, SunTimes, May 27, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Construction Accidents Overview, Justia


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Posted On: June 4, 2009

Cook County Workers’ Compensation: Evanston Business Closes For Failing to Obtain Employee Coverage

In Evanston, All Goods Pet Care, also called The Hungry Pup, has been forced to close down. The Cook County pet store, located on Chicago Avenue, was shut down because its owners failed to obtain Illinois workers’ compensation for its employees. This is the first time an Illinois business has shut down its operation because of a workers’ compensation violation.

The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission had sent legal notices to the Evanston pet care company a number of months ago requesting proof of workers’ compensation insurance. An investigator also went to the store to personally deliver another letter, as well as a warning that the store would have to close its doors unless proof of insurance was provided.

Four of the company’s employees have filed workers’ compensation claims against the Illinois pet-care company and two were found eligible to receive benefits. However, no benefits were paid out.

At a hearing that the Illinois pet care company opted not to attend, a work-stop order was obtained. Per state law, the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission has the authority to issue a stop-worker order to any employer that knowingly neglects to carry workers’ compensation insurance.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation
Under Illinois law, must employers must carry workers’ compensation insurance. This is supposed to provide benefits for workers that are hurt or get sick or die while on the job. While 91% of Illinois employees are covered under Illinois workers’ compensation law, business partners, sole proprietors, corporate officers, and limited liability companies are allowed to exempt themselves. Employers may either obtain consent to self-insure or buy insurance.

Evanston business closed for not having workers' comp insurance,, June 3, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Illinois Workers' Compensation

Workers' Compensation Web Resources, Justia

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Posted On: June 3, 2009

Chicago Work Accident: Propane Gas Blast Injures Restaurant Workers

Four people were transported to the hospital this morning following a propane gas blast at Cyrano’s Café, which is located at the Chicago Riverwalk. The blast occurred at around 9am while cooks were getting the kitchen ready.

Because of a minor gas leak, the propane tank had been repaired the day before. AmeriGas, which conducted the initial installation, says that the tank had passed a leak test.

A deckhand who works at Chicago’s First Lady boat tours, 24-year-old Jessica Herum, was working nearby and ran to the restaurant to extinguish the blast using a dry chemical fire extinguisher.

Of the four people taken to a hospital following the blast, one person was in serious-to-critical condition, two people were in fair-to-serious condition, and one person was in good condition. Two of the people injured in the blast were cooks that worked for the restaurant. Four other people that sustained minor injuries refused treatment. Later in the afternoon, the Chicago Fire Department cited the cafe with several code violations.

Propane Gas Injuries
Propane is a highly flammable gas. Injuries from a propane gas blast can be life-threatening and may include severe burns, limb loss, and death. Common causes of propane gas blasts can include:

• Leaking gas tanks
• Improper maintenance
• The tank of propane is over-pressurized
• The gas control valves are defective

Work injuries are generally covered under Illinois workers’ compensation law, which means that you are likely entitled to benefits if you were involved in a propane gas blast while on the job. If the gas company or another party acted negligently and contributed to causing your work accident, you also may be entitled to third party personal injury compensation.

Riverwalk restaurant cited in propane explosion, Chicago Breaking News, June 3, 2009

Propane, CCOHS

Related Web Resources:
Propane 101

Chicago Riverwalk

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Posted On: June 2, 2009

Two Workers Hurt in Electrical Accidents Sustain Burn Injuries

A worker is in the hospital after he was injured in an electrical accident on Tuesday afternoon. Brian Arnold was testing an electrical line when his tools made a flash burn happened. He sustained second-degree burns from the work accident. According to a supervisor, Arnold was wearing the required goggles, helmet, gloves, and uniform and that this likely minimized his injuries.

In another electrical accident that occurred last week, a 38-year-old construction worker sustained burn injuries on his feet and hands when the crane he was operating came into contact with a live electrical line. The electrical shock threw the worker into a pool of water. Paramedics had to wait until the power was turned off before they were able to retrieve him.

Electrical Power Line Accidents
Electrical power lines can be a cause of work injuries in the event that a worker comes into contact with a live power line. Crane operators, painters, and construction workers are just a few of the groups at risk of getting really hurt in an electrical power line accident. In certain instances, the use of certain tools around power lines, such as metal ladders, scaffolds, backhoes, cranes, aluminum paint holders, and concrete pumpers, can increase the chances of an electrical accident happening on the job.

In the event that you are injured in an Illinois work accident, you need to let your employer know immediately so that you can receive your workers’ compensation benefits as soon as possible.

In an ideal world, obtaining workers’ compensation should be an instant, automatic process. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. However, Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer Steven J. Malman can make sure that you receive all the work injury benefits that you are entitled to receive.

Man Suffers Burns After Industrial Accident In Lebanon,, June 2, 2009

Construction worker in hospital due to electrical accident, 680 News, May 25, 2009

Related Web Resources:
How to Prevent Electrical Accidents

Electrical Accidents, CDC

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