August 3, 2010

Illinois Railroad Worker Injury Case: Conductor Sues CSX Transportation for Degenerative Spinal Condition

Timothy M. Thompson is seeking over $150,000 plus costs from CSX Transportation. The railroad conductor, who has worked 42 years on the job, says that exposed to unsafe work conditions has left him with cumulative and repetitive trauma, as well as caused the degeneration of his upper extremities and his spine.

Thompson says that he blames the railroad company for his railroad worker injuries. He is accusing CSX of committing a number of negligent acts, including failing to give him a safe work place with safe work conditions and safe work methods and equipment.

The railroad conductor claims that as a result of the poor work conditions that he was subjected to, he has experienced mental anguish, great pain and disability, and extreme nervousness that have led to him developing his degenerative, disabling, permanent, and progressive injuries. He also says that his earning capacity has been impaired, he has already lost large sums of money, and he has incurred medical expenses.

Railroad workers can sue their employers for their work injuries. Unlike other workers, railroad employees are not covered under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, which provides workers with work injury benefits regardless of who was at fault. However, under the Federal Employer’s Liability Act, railroad workers can file work injury lawsuits. Compensation under FELA is based on comparative negligence and not a benefits schedule.

Common railroad worker injuries:
• Back injuries
• Repetitive injuries
• Spinal injuries
• Train accident injuries
• Joint injuries
• Neck injuries
• Burn injuries
• Slip and fall injuries
• Hand injuries
• Wrist injuries
• Elbow injuries
• Knee injuries
• Shoulder injuries

CSX conductor claims injuries over 42-year career, Madison Record, July 20, 2010

Related Web Resources:
CSX Transportation

Railroad Workers, Encyclopedia of Chicago

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July 3, 2010

Railroad Trackman Sues Canadian National/Illinois Central Railroad for Work Injuries

A track repairman is suing Canadian National/Illinois Central Railroad for his Illinois railroad worker injuries. Ashby Leaf is seeking over $150,000 plus costs and other relief.

Leaf, who worked throughout the state for the railroad company, says that his ex-employer’s job requirements were so arduous that he developed neck, spine, and lower and upper extremity injuries. Leaf also claims that in April 2009 he experienced discomfort and pain in his neck after he used extensive force to set a defective hand brake. The incident caused him to sustain cervical disc pathology and disk rupture, as well as experience mental anguish, pain, and nervousness.

Leaf contends that his job exposed him on a daily basis to prolonged kneeling, lifting, squatting, climbing, crawling, pushing, pulling, awkward back positions, unsafe work methods, and unsafe ergonomic designs, as well as made him susceptible to re-injury and the injuries acceleration, aggravation, and exacerbation. He says that Illinois Central Railroad was negligent when it failed to provide him with safe and necessary equipment, a safe workplace, sufficient manpower, sufficient mechanical assistance and the proper supervision. He also claims that his former employer allowed dangerous practices to become the norm, ordered him to perform tasks that exceeded his physical abilities, and assigned him responsibilities that it knew would aggravate his condition.

Railroad workers injured on the job can sue their employers for their injuries. Under the Federal Employee Liability Act, you can obtain compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, rehabilitation, and pain and suffering. It is important to remember that not all railroad injuries happen in the instant. Some of them develop over time during the course of doing the job.

Railroad trackman claims job requirements were so strenuous, Madison Record, July 1, 2007

Related Web Resources:
Injured Railway Workers: Federal Employers' Liability Act (FELA), Justia

Liability of common carriers by railroad, in interstate or foreign commerce, for injuries to employees from negligence; employee defined, Cornell University Law School

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July 1, 2010

Long Haul Truck Drivers at Risk of Suffering from Upper Extremity Injuries and Back Pain

Long haul truck drivers can get hurt not just during truck accidents but they are also at risk of suffering from upper extremity injuries and lower back pain due to the nature of the job. Unfortunately, because the job requires that a truck driver spend long periods of time on the road, many injured truckers do not receive the medical attention that they need.

Common upper extremity injuries included arm and hand tingling, scapula shoulder pain, lateral epicondylitis, humeral head and supraspinatus rotator cuff damage, medial epicondylitis, impact trauma to the shoulder, repetitive-stress injuries, and postural-related injuries. Causes of the most prevalent upper extremity injuries include:

• Having to raise and lower heavy truck hoods.
• Pulling the fifth wheel pin.
• Slip accidents while getting out of the truck and grabbing the handle bar.
• Sleeping on one side of the body while in a bouncing truck.
• Lowering of the landing gear.
• Driving with one elbow leaning against the window frame.
• Unloading a truck.
• Resting one hand on the gearshift lever as it constantly vibrates.

As these tasks are part of a long haul trucker’s job, for most truck drivers is only a matter of time before upper extremity injuries develop. These injuries can cause physical and emotional suffering while making it impossible for the injured trucker to do his/her job.

Truckers are also at risk of suffering from lower back pain. Truck driving can cause the body to vibrate for long periods of time. All of the heavy lifting and bending to pick up cargo can also cause back strain. Driving for hours at a time, cranking up dolly wheels, putting on and taking off tarps and chains, and jumping down and into truck cabs can also cause back injuries. As an injured employee, you are likely entitled to Chicago workers’ compensation benefits.

Truck Drivers and Lower Back Pain, Suite 101, March 18, 2003

Upper Extremity Injuries in the Trucking Industry, Dynamic Chiropractic, June 14, 1999

Related Web Resources:
Back pain and sciatica - Risk Factors, University of Maryland Medical Center

Truck Driver Demographics and the Risk of Musculoskeletal Injuries, EHS Today, April 24, 2009

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March 27, 2010

Union Pacific Worker Sues Railroad Company for Car Crash Injuries He Sustained While Going to Work

Christopher Wardwell is suing Professional Transportation, Union Pacific Railroad Company, and Regeania Broughton. Wardwell, a Union Pacific conductor, says he was injured on August 9, 2008 when Broughton, who was driving him to work, was involved in an Illinois car crash.

Wardwell says that he sustained a herniated disc and an annular tears to his lumbar spine, while a pre-existing degenerative disc disease got worse. He was forced to have surgery, experienced pain and suffering, and his abilities to enjoy normal activities and do his job became diminished.

Wardwell partially blames his employer for his Illinois railroad worker injuries because he claims that the railroad company did not provide him with a safe workplace and failed to mandate that managers not put workers in vans before 6am and after 10pm so that they wouldn’t be involved in Illinois drunk driving accidents.

Wardwell is suing Professional Transportation and Broughton, one of its employees, for failing to keep a proper lookout for approaching autos, neglecting to obey traffic rules, and not giving Broughton enough rest time.

The injured railroad worker is seeking over $150,000 plus costs.

Illinois Railroad Worker Injury Lawsuits
Due to the nature of their jobs, railroad workers are at high risk of injuries and illness. Working with trains, on railroad tracks, with heavy machinery, and near toxic substances can be dangerous.

It is important that you report your Illinois railroad worker injuries to your employer right away. Under FELA, the Federal Employers' Liability Act, an injured railroad employee can sue his/her employer for work injuries.

Union Pacific conductor sues over accident on way to work, The Record, March 23, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Union Pacific Railroad Company

Federal Employee Liability Act (PDF)

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March 20, 2010

If You Injured Your Back While on the Job, Remember to File a Chicago, Illinois Workers’ Compensation Claim ASAP

Back injuries can be very debilitating and painful. What may seem like a minor ache can turn into something more serious over time. In addition to pain and discomfort, you eventually may find it hard to do your job and perform daily activities.

If your back injuries are work-related, you should file your Chicago, Illinois workers’ compensation right away. While many people associate back injuries with jobs that require heavy lifting, such as factory jobs, construction gigs, and jobs that require you to load, unload, and carry cargo, boxes, and other objects, a worker can easily hurt their back while doing less physically demanding tasks, such as office work, nursing, acting, and teaching.

According to the Mayo Clinic, there are four work-related factors that can increase the risk that a worker might sustain a back injury or experience back pain:

Repetition: Having to repeat a task multiple times can lead to muscle injury or exhaustion—especially if your body is positioned awkwardly or stretched beyond your range of motion.

Force: Too much force exerted on the back, especially with physical tasks, can cause back injuries.

Posture: Too much time spent in one position can cause aches and pains.

Stress: Stress can cause tightness and tension, which can lead to back aches and pains.

Depending on the seriousness of your back injury, you may have to receive medical care, take pain medication, undergo back surgery, and/or receive physical therapy. Fractured vertebrae, back strain, sciatica, back sprains, a broken back, and herniated discs are examples of common back injuries.

Back injuries may require an employee to take time off work, or he/she may experience a limited range of motion that can make it impossible to do one's job.

Back pain at work: Preventing aches, pains and injuries, MayoClinic

Back Injuries, Medline Plus

Related Web Resources:
How to Prevent Back Injuries

Preventing Back Injuries in Healthcare Settings, CDC

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February 9, 2010

A Reminder from Our Chicago, Illinois Workers’ Compensation Lawyers To Take Preventive Steps to Prevent Overuse and Repetitive Strain Injuries

While spending hours on the computer at work may seem like a harmless, danger-free activity, people who sit in front of a monitor while their fingers press they keyboard or click the mouse can lead to cumulative, painful, debilitating injuries if they are not careful. Back pain, neck soreness, tingling up and down the arms, finger cramps, spinal disc injuries, shoulder soreness, tennis elbow, repetitive strain, and carpal tunnel syndrome are just some of the injuries that an office worker or anyone else who uses a computer can sustain.

Our Chicago, Illinois workers’ compensation lawyers would like to remind you to submit your work injury claim immediately anytime that you are injured on the job. Even if the injury is one that developed cumulatively, it is best to file your claim right away to prevent delays or give your employer’s insurer a reason to deny your claim or give you fewer benefits than what you are entitled to receive.

A Few Steps to Prevent Injuries When Using a Computer:

• Make sure your monitor is high enough that it at eye level in front of you.
• Don’t have it more than 30 inches away from you.
• Place your mouse close enough to your body that you don’t have to overreach.
• Make sure that your elbows are properly supported.
• When typing make sure that your forearms and upper arms are positioned at a 90 degree angle.
• If you are going to type while talking on the phone, use a headset.
• Consider using a padded wrist rest for your hand that holds the mouse.
• Make sure you use a chair that provides enough lumbar support.
• Keep your thighs parallel to the floor, knees and hips at the same level, and feet flat on the ground.

5 steps to keep you comfortable at your computer, Gloucester Times, February 19, 2010

Computer Workstation Ergonomics, CDC

Related Web Resources:
Office Ergonomics-Common Office Injuries, Web MD

Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

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February 1, 2010

Workers’ compensation patients who undergo back surgery for sciatica benefit less than patients that are not getting work injury benefits

A new study published in Spine reports that patients who underwent surgery to treat sciatica benefited more from surgery than from non-surgical procedures. That is, unless the patient was getting paid workers’ compensation benefits for the work injury. The reason for this discrepancy is unclear.

As part of the main study, researchers analyzed data provided on 924 sciatica patients. A randomized trial was conducted. Some patients were treated with pain medication, physical therapy, exercises, and education. Other patients underwent surgery. Both approaches proved effective and the patients’ conditions improved. However, sciatica patients who underwent surgery improved faster and exhibited better recovery results for up to two years afterward.

Researchers also conducted a new analysis to see whether patients receiving workers’ compensation responded differently to treatment. 12% of the patients studied were on workers’ compensation. What researchers found was that at three months after surgery it was the patients who weren’t getting workers’ compensation benefits that exhibited significantly better results. The patients who weren't on workers' compensation also stayed better after 24 months, while surgery patients on workers’ compensation experienced pain and exhibited physical function similar to sciatica patients who had undergone non-surgical treatment.

Sciatica is a disabling condition that is commonly cited in workers’ compensation claims. Studies in the past have indicated that a sciatica patient’s workers’ compensation status can have an impact on the results of herniated disc treatments. Sciatica can be very painful and may lead to nerve damage that can radiate through the body and leg. If not treated correctly, Sciatica can become a permanent, crippling condition.

Back injuries can not only impede a worker’s ability to do the job, but they can cause severe pain and lead to the inability to live a normal life. It is important that you file your Illinois workers’ compensation claim immediately.

Study: Workers’ Comp Patients Get Less Benefit from Back Surgery, Spine, January 29, 2010

Sciatica, Mayo Clinic

Related Web Resources:

Herniated Disc, WebMD

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