Posted On: November 24, 2010

Illinois Workers’ Compensation: Fingertip Injury Warrants Permanent Partial Disability Award

The Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission says that a journeyman ironworker’s fingertip injury merits a 20% permanent partial disability award for loss of use (rather than 35%). Finger pain, high sensitivity in the injured area, and the sensation of coldness are among the evidence to sufficiently support the award.

The ironworker got hurt while working as a ground man. At the time, he was working with a crane and a group of other workers to raise 100-pound joists. The tip of the claimant's left finger was ripped off when a coworker pushed one of the joists that he was aligning. Per medical records, the ironworker suffered a 4-centimeter fingertip laceration.

After returning to work while having limited use of his left hand, the claimant continued to experience pain inside his fingertip. He says that he hasn’t received medical care for his injury since after the work accident and that whenever his finger hits against an object he feels pain. The claimant said that his doctor “talked him out" of seeing a hand surgeon.

Permanent Partial Disability (PPD)
Permanent partial disability refers to the partial or complete loss or loss of use of a body part or the entire body as a whole. “Loss of use” refers to the worker’s inability to do certain tasks that he/she would have been able to prior to sustaining the work injury. PPD benefits are Illinois workers' compensation benefits that are paid to a worker after it becomes clear that his/her disability will not get better.

Ironworker secures PPD benefits for fingertip injury, Risk and Insurance, January 22, 2010

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Posted On: November 18, 2010

Norfolk Southern Sued Over Repetitive Trauma Injuries

An ex-carman is seeking $100,000 from Norfolk Southern Railway for his railroad worker injuries. Michael Gibson says that over the course of 10 years, he was injured repeatedly and developed repetitive trauma.

Gibson was employed as a carman for the railroad company from 1998 to 2008. He says that he got hurt in August 2008 while attempting to change an air hose underneath the railcar.

In his Illinois railroad worker injury lawsuit, Gibson contends that Norfolk Southern did not provide him with the proper, safe tools or the supervision that he needed to do his job. He also says that the railroad company did not warn him of certain work hazards, failed to create a safe work environment, and tolerated unsafe actions to the point that they became routine.

He blames Norfolk Southern for the "numerous repetitive traumas" that he sustained while fixing railcars. He says that these traumas have resulted in permanent and severe back and body injuries.

Repetitive Trauma
Unfortunately, repetitive trauma injuries are not uncommon for many railroad workers that spend years on the job. Often, the trauma is cumulative, occurring after the constant and forceful, repetitive use of certain body parts, such as the hands. Making repairs while in awkward physical positions, having to take part in vibrating, repetitive work motions, and poor ergonomics can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive stress injuries. These injuries can be extremely painful and debilitating and can affect a worker’s ability to continue to do his/her job or maintain a pain-free life. The spine, neck, shoulders, elbows, neck, hips, knees, and/or back can be seriously affected.

You may have grounds for a FELA lawsuit for your railroad worker injuries.

Carman sues Norfolk Southern over repetitive trauma, The Record, November 17, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Norfolk Southern Railway

Federal Employers Liability Act, HG.org

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Posted On: November 12, 2010

Totally Disabled Worker Sues State for Illinois Workers' Compensation Benefits

In Cook County Court, Regina Johnson has filed a class action Illinois workers' compensation complaint against the state. Johnson, a worker who became totally disabled because of a work injury, claims that the state used an illegal “peremptory edict” to unfairly suspend cost of living increases despite promising beneficiaries payments for life from Illinois' Rate Adjustment Fund (RAF).

Johnson sustained her work-related injury in 2009. In 1992, the Illinois Industrial Commission determined that she was “wholly and permanently disabled” and should always receive $184.54/week. She started receiving the additional rate adjustment payments in 1993. Johnson then settled her Illinois disability claim with her employer in 2001. Per the agreement reached, the Illinois State Treasurer promised to keep paying her the rate adjustment benefits.

Johnson says she kept receiving the rate adjustment payments through May 2010 when the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission sent her a letter telling her that the additional benefits were suspended. In her Illinois workers’ compensation lawsuit, she is accusing the IWCC of creating an administrative rule that terminated/suspended the RAF benefits of all persons who received an award for permanent total disability or death and settled for a lump sum.

Johnson is calling for the retroactive reinstatement of her benefits and is demanding an injunction. She says that the Commission was not in compliance with the rulemaking procedure, not all commission members were consulted, and the commission failed to give 45 days public notice, hold hearings, or obtained comments.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation
Workers injured on the job are likely entitled to work injury benefits from their employer. Many workers don’t even file a work injury claim. It is important that you file yours as soon as possible. In addition to coverage of medical expenses for your work-related injury, depending on your injuries you may be entitled to temporary total disability benefits, permanent partial disability benefits, or permanent total disability benefits. Loved ones that have lost a family member in a work accident may be entitled to survivors benefits.

Illinois’ Rate Adjustment Fund
The RAF was established in 1975 to cover cost-of-living increases for workers who have become totally and permanently disabled because of a work injury or for the survivors of an injured or sick worker that died.

Disabled Sue Illinois for Benefits, Courthouse News, November 12, 2010

Rate Adjustment Fund, Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission


Related Web Resources:
Illinois Workers' Compensation Act (PDF)

Types of Workers' Compensation Benefits, Nolo

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Posted On: November 5, 2010

Recent Construction Accidents Lead to Fatalities

There have been at least three construction accident deaths in the US this week. To our Chicago construction accident law firm, these tragic incidents are a harsh reminder of the dangers that can arise from working at a construction job, as well as of the importance of exploring your legal options against potentially liable third parties. Also, the sooner you file your Illinois workers’ compensation claim, the better.

On Monday, construction worker Dirk Vamoorot died at a job site when a large concrete barrier fell off another barrier and landed on him. Vamoorot was 65.

In an unrelated construction accident, another worker died at a work site when a concrete slab landed on him during a trench collapse. Another worker who was also involved in the construction accident sustained minor injuries.

Also this week, a roofing company executive died when the roof he was standing on collapsed at a school construction site. Kevin J. Sensenig, the vice president of f R.L. Sensenig Co., had gone onto the roof so that he could better demonstrate to his workers what needed to be done. Unfortunately the roof collapsed and Sensenig, who was not using a safety harness, plunged some 50 feet before landing on the concrete. Another worker, who got caught in the rubble, sustained minor injuries.

Illinois Construction Accidents
Determining who is at fault in causing a Chicago construction accident can be tough—especially when there are multiple parties involved with the project. Owners, contractors, engineers, subcontractors, managers, product manufacturers, and others may be liable for your Cook County, Illinois construction accident injuries.


Man killed in roof collapse at Hill School, The Philadelphia Inquirer, November 2, 2010

Man killed in trench by concrete slab, Connecticut Post, November 1, 2010

Valley Center man dies in construction accident, Sign on San Diego, November 1, 2010


Related Web Resources:
Construction Accidents, Chicago Workers Compensation Lawyer Blog

Construction Accidents, Chicago Injury Attorney Blog

Illinois Workers' Compensation Act
(PDF)

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