April 19, 2011

Proposed Illinois Workers’ Compensation Requirement that Workers Must Prove Injuries are Job-Related is Rejected by the Senate

The State Senate has voted against a plan by Republican lawmakers that would require workers to prove that their employer was at least 50% responsible for the injuries they sustained on the job in order for him/her to be able to obtain Illinois workers’ compensation benefits. The bill, SB1349, was defeated with a 25-6 vote. 28 senators submitted a “present” vote.

Currently, with Illinois as a “no fault” state when it comes to receiving work injury benefits, it doesn’t matter who or what caused the injury, illness, or death as long as it is work-related. While Republicans believed the proposed requirement would protect businesses from having to pay for fraudulent claims, Democrats have said that this would allow employers to regularly challenge work injury claims and delay legitimate payments owed to workers.

Also rejected in the bill were proposals to:
• Reduce the rates paid to medical providers by 30%.
• Hand over to employers the authority to decide which doctor a worker should go see.
• Deny workers’ compensation benefits for injuries where alcohol or drugs were a factor.

Our Chicago workers’ compensation lawyers are here to make sure that our clients receive all of the work injury recovery that they are owed. Injured workers cannot sue their employers for Chicago personal injury. Right now, their only means of obtaining compensation for their work injuries is by filing a claim and having their company’s insurer pay them benefits and cover their related medical expenses. Unfortunately, there are insurers that will try to deny an injured worker his/her benefits.

Historic Reform of Illinois Worker's Compensation Fails to Pass Senate, Chicago Now, April 15, 2011

Illinois Senate Rejects Workers’ Compensation Changes, Insurance Journal, April 18, 2011

There's still hope': McCarter says Democrats thwarted workers comp reform, but he'll press on, BND, April 16, 2011


Related Web Resources:
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn

Workers' Compensation Benefits, Nolo

Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

SB1349, Illinois General Assembly


More Blog Posts:
llinois Workers’ Compensation: House Passes “Uhl’s Law” that Denies Benefits to Employees Who Get Hurt When Committing a Felony, Chicago Workers' Compensation Lawyer Blog, April 14, 2011

House Considers Eliminating Illinois Workers’ Compensation System, Chicago Workers' Compensation Lawyer Blog, April 14, 2011

House Considers Eliminating Illinois Workers’ Compensation System, Chicago Workers' Compensation Lawyer Blog, April 8, 2011

Federal Government Investigating State’s Handling of Its Own Employees' Illinois Workers’ Compensation Claims, Chicago Workers' Compensation Lawyer Blog, March 31, 2011

Continue reading "Proposed Illinois Workers’ Compensation Requirement that Workers Must Prove Injuries are Job-Related is Rejected by the Senate" »

Bookmark and Share

April 14, 2011

Illinois Workers’ Compensation: House Passes “Uhl’s Law” that Denies Benefits to Employees Who Get Hurt When Committing a Felony

The Illinois House of Representatives has passed what will be know as “Uhl’s Law,” which is an act that prevents workers from receiving workers’ compensation benefits for injuries sustained while committing a felony. The Illinois senate passed a similar bill yesterday by a 59-0 vote.

The act is named on behalf of teen sisters Kelli and Jessica Uhl who were killed in a 2007 car crash on Interstate 64 after the vehicle in was struck by a squad car driven by Illinois State Trooper Matt Mitchell, who was using his cell phone and driving at a speed of about 126 mph at the time.

Mitchell would go on to plead guilty to reckless homicide. He also filed an Illinois workers’ compensation claim for injuries he sustained during the collision, which occurred while he was working. Mitchell's claim was denied, which was a decision that he appealed. His case is now before the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission.

Governor Pat Quinn now has to sign the bill for it to become law. However, because it is not retroactive, it would not apply to Mitchell’s Illinois workers’ compensation case.

Also up for a vote in the Illinois Senate is a reform bill that would require a claimant prove that a condition in the workplace played a greater than 50% role in the work-related injury or illness. Currently a claimant just has to prove that the work-related condition or injury could potentially lead to a medical condition or disability.

Now, more than ever, it is so important that you work with a Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer who can make sure that you receive the work injury benefits that you are owed. Employees cannot sue their employer for Chicago injury or wrongful death. With your medical costs, recovery expenses, and time off work that might otherwise result in lost wages, you need to receive your work injury benefits.

Senate passes workers' comp bill by vote of 59-0, BND, April 14, 2011

"Uhl's Law" passed, workers comp denied for those injured while committing a felony, KMOV, April 14, 2011

Related Web Resources:
Illinois Workers' Compensation Act

Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission


More Blog Posts:
House Considers Eliminating Illinois Workers’ Compensation System, Chicago Workers' Compensation Lawyer Blog, April 8, 2011

Federal Government Investigating State’s Handling of Its Own Employees' Illinois Workers’ Compensation Claims, Chicago Workers' Compensation Lawyer Blog, March 3, 2011

Review of Denied Illinois Workers’ Compensation Claim Requested by Ex-State Trooper Involved in Car Crash that Killed Uhl Sisters, Chicago Workers' Compensation Lawyer Blog, March 24, 2011

Continue reading "Illinois Workers’ Compensation: House Passes “Uhl’s Law” that Denies Benefits to Employees Who Get Hurt When Committing a Felony" »

Bookmark and Share

April 8, 2011

House Considers Eliminating Illinois Workers’ Compensation System

Tentative approval to end the Illinois workers’ compensation system was rendered during a voice vote of House members on Thursday. A final vote will be held soon.

Whereas now, employees are entitled to Illinois workers’ compensation recovery for injuries or illnesses sustained on the job regardless of who was at fault, without this system employers and employees would have to go to court to determine if and how much personal injury recovery was owed.

Businesses in Illinois have been complaining that workers can get workers’ compensation payments without having to provide clear evidence that an injury was sustained on the job. The state’s workers’ compensation system has also come under fire after reports that hundreds of government workers at one prison received work injury benefits.

Meantime, Gov. Pat Quinn has proposed limiting carpal tunnel syndrome payments and denying workers’ compensation to those injured at work while they were drunk. He also is calling for tougher screening before medical procedures are approved.

Having employers and employees resolve work injury disputes in civil courts could take a lot longer. It could also be more costly for everyone involved. If a worker doesn’t obtain compensation through the court system and doesn’t receive worker injury benefits, how is he/she going to pay for medical, living, and recovery expenses?

Our Chicago workers’ compensation lawyers are here to make sure that our clients receive all the work benefits that they are owed.

Ill. House may scrap workers' compensation, Bloomberg Businessweek, April 7, 2011

Representative Proposes to Eliminate Workers Compensation, Chicagoist, April 8, 2011


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

Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission


More Blog Posts:
Federal Government Investigating State’s Handling of Its Own Employees' Illinois Workers’ Compensation Claims, Chicago Workers Compensation Lawyers Blog, March 31, 2011

House Votes to Audit State Employees' Illinois Workers’ Compensation Claims, Chicago Workers Compensation Lawyers Blog, March 17, 2011

State Arbitrator Tried to Keep Illinois Workers’ Compensation Hearings of Trooper Who Caused Deadly Car Crash that Killed the Uhl Sisters a Secret, Chicago Workers Compensation Lawyers Blog, February 10, 2011

Continue reading "House Considers Eliminating Illinois Workers’ Compensation System" »

Bookmark and Share

March 31, 2011

Federal Government Investigating State’s Handling of Its Own Employees' Illinois Workers’ Compensation Claims

Investigators from the federal government have opened a criminal investigation into the way the Illinois government deals with its employee’s workers’ compensation claims. Prosecutors in Fairview Heights and Springfield put out subpoenas last month asking for Illinois workers’ compensation claims that its government workers have submitted since 2006. The subpoenas were sent to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, the Department of Insurance, the Department of Central Management Services, and the Department of Corrections.

The investigation comes following a report by the Belleville News-Democrat that since 389 prison employees were paid over $10 million in Illinois workers’ compensation since 2008. 230 of the claimants were guards who said they suffered repetitive-stress injuries from manually unlocking and locking the doors of prisoner cells.

One subpoena presented called for records that were any way related to Illinois workers’ compensation claims filed by workers at the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, the Department of Human Services, Central Management Services, the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, the Department of Health Care and Family Services, the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, and the Office of the Executive Inspector General. Emails, reimbursement documents, and personnel records related to John Dibble and Jennifer Teague, two Workers’ Compensation Commission arbitrators who were placed on paid administrative leave last month, were also requested.

Teague allegedly tried to keep the media away from the public hearing about ex-Illinois State Trooper Matt Mitchell’s worker’s compensation claim. Mitchell was the trooper whose vehicle hit two autos in November 2007, including one carrying the Uhl sisters. The Collinsville teenagers who died from their injuries. Teague would go on to deny Mitchell’s work injury claim seeking benefits. He is now appealing her decision.

The subpoenas also have requested records for arbitrator Andrew Nalefski, ex-Illinois attorney general’s office employee Bill Schneider, and CMS employee Susan J. LeMasters. Schneider dealt with Illinois workers’ compensation cases on behalf of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation
Our Chicago workers’ compensation law firm is dedicated to making sure that injured employees get all of the work injury benefits that they are owed. If you are injured on the job, your employer’s insurer should pay you Illinois workers’ compensation benefits. It doesn’t matter who was at fault.

Feds open wide-scale probe into state workers compensation claims, Chicago Sun-Times, April 1, 2011

Ia href="http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/iteam&id=8046277">Illinois workers' comp under scrutiny, ABC Local, March 31, 2011

Feds reviewing Illinois workers' comp in wake of BND investigation, BND/AP, March 31, 2011

Related Web Resources:
Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

Illinois Department of Central Management Services

More Blog Posts:
Review of Denied Illinois Workers’ Compensation Claim Requested by Ex-State Trooper Involved in Car Crash that Killed Uhl Sisters, Chicago Workers' Compensation Lawyer Blog, March 24, 2011

House Votes to Audit State Employees' Illinois Workers’ Compensation Claims, Chicago Workers' Compensation Lawyer Blog, March 17, 2011

Over $1.5M in Illinois Workers’ Compensation Paid to Correctional Guards for Repetitive Strain Injuries, Chicago Workers' Compensation Lawyer Blog, December 15, 2010


Bookmark and Share

December 22, 2010

Independent Insurance Agents Want Illinois Workers’ Compensation Reforms Passed

In Illinois, independent insurance agents are calling on state lawmakers to push through workers’ compensation reforms before a new General Assembly is sworn in. In a message to lawmakers, Independent Insurance Agents of Illinois Todd Hendricks wants lawmakers to reduce coverage costs.

According to the Oregon Department of Commerce and Business Services’s recent study, Illinois workers’ compensation costs rank number three among the highest in the country. Hendricks says these costs are continuing to go up. Aside from business costs, rates have also gone up dramatically in the involuntary assigned risk market. For example, local volunteer fire departments are having to pay higher rates for volunteer firefighters’ workers’ compensation premiums. Although there were reforms in 2005 that updated benefit levels, IIAI now believes that it is time for more upgrades to the system.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation
If you are a worker who has been injured on the job, you very likely may be entitled to obtain Illinois workers’ compensation benefits, which should cover your medical expenses and related costs. Many people are not aware that they have a right to obtain work injury benefits. Some may opt to delay filing a claim thinking that there is no need to hurry.

The sooner your file your work injury claim, the faster you can start receiving your payments. An experienced Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer can make sure that you are receiving everything you are owed and that your illness or injuries warrant.

Illinois Agents Call for Quick Action on Workers' Compensation Reform, Insurance Journal, December 17, 2010

Workers comp committee discusses need for reform, Daily Republican News, December 17, 2010


Related Web Resources:
Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

Independent Insurance Agents of Illinois

Continue reading "Independent Insurance Agents Want Illinois Workers’ Compensation Reforms Passed " »

Bookmark and Share

April 27, 2010

Some NFL Teams Questioning Retired Players’ Workers’ Compensation Rights

The New York Times says that a number of NFL teams are trying to move certain retired players workers’ compensation cases to their own states from California where retired pro athletes are allowed to file workers’ compensation claims for long-term injuries sustained even decades before as long as they played at least one football game in the state. If the players' respective football teams were to move the work injury compensation cases to their own states where players also have workers’ compensation rights, such as Ohio or Louisiana, the claims would become inviable or worth a lot less.

Now, the Cincinnati Bengals is suing a number of its retired players in court after they filed work injury claims in California, ignoring the clauses in their contracts restricting them to file their workers’ compensation benefits only in Ohio. The case, now in federal court in Ohio, will likely be decided soon.

Meantime, the Miami Dolphins are saying that under the collective bargaining agreement with the NFL players’ union, players must go through a special arbitration process and not file in California. Because Florida doesn’t consider professional athletes as employees, the system is similar to the one that handles injuries sustained by other Florida professionals.

However, according to the NFL players’ union, the Titans’ and Bengals’ contract clauses cannot be enforced. Under California law, employees cannot sign away certain work conditions. Also, the union is not allowed to bargain away these players’ rights collectively during negotiations over a new labor agreement. Attorneys for the union say that employees who are from US states that have limited workers’ compensation benefits are allowed to file in any state that will let them.

The New York Times reports that about 700 retired NFL players are pursuing their workers' compensation claims in California. The majority of them are likely to receive lump sum settlements in the 100K - 200K range.

Chicago, Illinois Workers’ Compensation
In Illinois, the Law Offices of Steven J. Malman & Associates represents workers injured in work accidents. Our Chicago workers’ compensation lawyers would like to offer you a free case evaluation.

Teams Dispute Workers’ Comp Rights, New York Times, April 6, 2010


Related Web Resources:
NFL

NFL Injuries, ESPN

Bookmark and Share

January 28, 2010

Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission Holds that State’s Department of Human Services and a Vendor are Liable as Joint Employers for the Employee’s Work Injuries

If an employee gets hurt while working for a vendor under an Illinois-operated program and the state and the vendor both benefit from the work and oversee certain aspects of the employee’s work, then the vendor and the state of Illinois are liable for the worker’s injuries as joint employees under the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission is affirming this finding, which was made by an arbitrator.

The case, Day v. Illinois, State of/Dept. of Human Services, involves an employee who got hurt while working as a replacement manager. The vendor had hired him under a program run by the Illinois Department of Human Services called the Business Enterprise Program for the Blind. The worker abided by the regulations and rules as outlined in the vendor’s licensing agreement.

As joint employers at the time of the work accident, the vendor oversaw and controlled the worker’s daily tasks at the facility, while the DHS trained the worker in the running of the facility and was entitled to monitor his work. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission agreed with the arbitrator that there was significant evidence in the licensing agreement that the DHS was entitled to control the employee’s work.

Do NOT give up hope if your employer has decided to deny paying you Illinois workers’ compensation benefits. Most workers in the state are entitled to work injury benefits in the event of any kind of work-related illness or injury. Unfortunately, many workers are unaware of their legal options and end up settling for less than what they are entitled to get under state law. This is where an experienced Chicago, Illinois workers’ compensation lawyer can step in.

Worker proves joint employment with vendor, State of Illinois, RIsk and Insurance, January 21, 2010


Related Web Resources:

Illinois Department of Human Services

Illinois Workers' Compensation Act

Bookmark and Share

January 24, 2010

State Supreme Court Says Company Must Keep Paying Illinois Workers’ Compensation Benefits to Employee Who Was Fired

According to the Illinois Supreme Court, an employer has to keep paying workers’ compensation for temporary total disability benefits owed to an injured worker, even if he was fired from his job for misconduct. This obligation must continue until the former employee’s medical condition becomes stable and he achieves maximum medical improvement.

The former worker, carpenter Jeff Urban, sustained work-related neck, head, and back injuries in 2003 while working for Interstate Scaffolding Inc. In 2005, Urban was involved in a short, heated dispute with another worker. The company then fired him for the use of religious slogans to deface company property.

Interstate refused to pay Urban his Illinois workers’ compensation benefits after they let him go. A workers’ compensation arbitrator sided with Urban’s employer.

However, the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission disagreed, finding that the former employee should receive $1,004.41/week in temporary disability benefits. The company appealed, but a circuit court affirmed the commission’s decision. An appeals court then reversed the ruling and that is when the workers’ compensation case was brought before the Illinois Supreme Court.

Amicus briefs were filed by the Illinois Assn. of Defense Trial Counsel, the Illinois AFL-CIO, and the Illinois Self-Insurers Assn. Those who supported Urban argued that continued payment of work injury benefits shouldn’t be determined by whether a worker has been fired. Rather, the determining factor should be whether the injury has stabilized.

The Illinois Supreme Court says that although employers can fire at-will workers regardless of whether or not they have cause, this should have no effect on an employee's workers’ compensation case.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation
If you have been denied work injury benefits, do not despair. There may be other legal remedies available to you. Most workers injured on the job are entitled to Illinois workers’ compensation benefits.

Fired worker owed comp benefits: Illinois high court, Business Insurance, January 22, 2010

Read the Illinois Supreme Court Opinion (PDF)


Related Web Resource:
Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

Continue reading "State Supreme Court Says Company Must Keep Paying Illinois Workers’ Compensation Benefits to Employee Who Was Fired " »

Bookmark and Share

December 20, 2009

Illinois Lawsuit Claims Lumber Company Fired Worker Because He Filed for Workers’ Compensation

A lumber worker has filed a civil lawsuit accusing RP Lumber of firing him because he sought to obtain his Illinois workers’ compensation benefits. Jefferey Harbison says he lost benefits, wages, and promotions, experienced mental trauma and humiliation, incurred expenses while looking for a job, and experienced a decrease in wages because he was wrongfully fired.

Harbison says he was employed at RP Lumber Company for about 10 years before he got hurt on May 21. He is seeking over $50,000 plus costs.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation

If you are an injured employee, you are entitled to receive Illinois workers’ compensation for all necessary medical expenses, including emergency medical services, first aid, surgeries, tests, and other hospital services. When applicable, you also are entitled to vocational, mental, or physical rehabilitation. You also have a right to disability benefits for time that you have to take off from work because of your work injury, illness, or disease. If you will no longer be able to work, you can receive permanent total disability benefits. The spouse and children of an employee who died because of a worker-related illness or injury should be able to obtain survivor benefits.

As an employee working for an employer, you are not asking for anything out of the ordinary by wanting to receive your workers’ compensation benefits. It doesn’t matter who or what cause the work accident. Employers are not allowed to fire a worker for requesting workers’ compensation.

Workers’ compensation disputes can be very frustrating for the worker and his/her family who now must worry about finances, in addition to job worries, as well as deal with the injury or death.

RP Lumber worker claims wrongful termination , The Recorder, December 16, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

Your Right to Workers' Comp Benefits FAQ, Nolo

Bookmark and Share

December 13, 2009

Illegal Immigrant Has Right to Workers’ Compensation Benefits, Says Court

An appeals court says that Cargill Meat Solutions must provide workers’ compensation benefits to an illegal immigrant who was injured on the job. Odilon Visoso got hurt in May 2006 when he was hit on the neck, head, and shoulder by a 100-pound meat slab that fell from a hook.

Visoso is an illegal alien. Following his work accident, he kept working at Cargill doing light duty until he underwent surgery on October 2008. Later that month, he was fired because of his illegal immigrant status.

Cargill Meat Solutions did not want to pay for Visoso workers’ compensation benefits because he is an immigrant and therefore is not legally allowed to work in the US. However, the appeals court upheld the ruling of the Worker Compensation Court, which found that all employees who are injured or get sick from doing their job—even illegal aliens—are covered under the state’s workers’ compensation law.

Judge Richard Sievers said that even though Visoso is not legally allowed to work in this country, he was still an ‘employee’ for Cargill and therefore entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Visoso’s workers’ compensation lawyer says not allowing illegal immigrants to obtain work injury benefits might encourage companies to hire illegal workers, which they are not allowed to do.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation
Many illegal workers are scared to come forward to report an injury or disease they sustained on the job because they are scared of being deported or of other legal repercussions. Regardless of your resident status, you may still be entitled to Illinois workers’ compensation benefits.

Obtaining work injury benefits can alleviate your worries about covering your medical bills and lost wages.

Court Grants Benefits to Illegal Immigrant, New American, December 15, 2009

Court: Illegal immigrant entitled to benefits, JournalStar, December 8, 2009


Related Web Resources:
Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

Continue reading "Illegal Immigrant Has Right to Workers’ Compensation Benefits, Says Court" »

Bookmark and Share

August 17, 2009

Five Chicago-Area Construction Companies Reach Agreement with Attorney General Madigan that Ensures Employees Illinois Workers’ Compensation and Other Benefits

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and five construction companies in the Chicago area have reached an agreement settling claims she made against them. The defendants, Jerry Ryce Masonry, Inc. Jerry Ryce Builders, Inc., JS Masonry & Stone, Inc., JS Masonary Inc., and JS Masonry & Tuckpointing, Inc., are accused of falsely claiming that their employees were independent contractors when they should have been categorized as full-time workers.

Under the terms of the settlement, the construction firms will no longer employ this practice, which allows companies to get around state labor laws and can deprive workers of unemployment aid, workers’ compensation, and the proper wages.

Each defendant will pay over $79,000, and over the next four years, all five of the construction companies are barred from taking part in construction projects with public companies. Over the next five years, the Attorney General will be allowed to inspect all of the firms to make sure they are in compliance with state labor laws.

Per Illinois law, workers have to be treated as employees unless they fulfill certain requirements that allow them to fall under the category of independent contractor. Misclassifying workers violates the Illinois Whistleblower Reward and Protection Act, the Employee Classification Act, and the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act.


Construction Workers and Illinois Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Construction workers often place themselves in dangerous situations on a regular basis just to do their job. It is important that they receive the work benefits that they are entitled to, especially their Illinois workers’ compensation benefits, because they could get hurt, become permanently disabled, or die in an Illinois construction accident. Spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, burn injuries, electrical injuries, and other catastrophic injuries can happen, and construction workers need all the worker protection and assistance that state law allows.

Illinois AG Settles With Construction Firms Over Worker Classifications, Insurance Journal, August 11, 2009


Related Web Resources:
Employee Classification Act

Illinois Whistleblower Reward and Protection Act

Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act

Continue reading "Five Chicago-Area Construction Companies Reach Agreement with Attorney General Madigan that Ensures Employees Illinois Workers’ Compensation and Other Benefits" »

Bookmark and Share

July 11, 2009

Illinois Workers’ Compensation: Preventing Illness and Injury When Working in Hot Weather

OSHA is providing tips to employers and workers for how to work safely in hot weather. It is important to know what to do when your job takes place in a hot environments, outdoors, or under direct sunlight so that you don't end up suffering from work illnesses, such as heat exhaustion, heat stress, or heat stroke.

If you are a worker that got sick because of working in hot weather, you are likely entitled to Illinois workers’ compensation benefits. Construction workers, field workers, emergency workers, and industrial workers are just some examples of employees that may be at risk of suffering from a heat-related illness.

Steps employers can take to protect workers from the effects of heat:
• Slowly acclimatize workers to the heat so that they get used to being in such hot temperatures.
• Teach workers about the importance of staying hydrated and provide them cool liquids and water.
• Decrease the physical demands assigned to each worker. You may want to hire relief workers or add more workers to the shift.
• Make sure there are areas that workers can go to recover from the heat; tents with fans or air-conditioned rooms are two possible solutions.
• Consider scheduling the more arduous tasks during the cooler parts of the day.
• Provide workers with (or recommend that they use) clothing intended to minimize heat stress, such as wetted clothing, reflective clothing, or water-cooled-garments.

Conditions that can lead to heat stress:
• High humidity
• Hot temperatures
• Direct heat or sun
• Not enough air
• Physical exertion
• Poor health
• Dehydration

Heat disorders that can occur on the job:
Heat stroke: Symptoms can include convulsions, hot, dry skin, loss of consciousness, very high body temperature. This could lead to death.

Heat exhaustion: Signs can include nausea, dizziness, thirst, headaches, and giddiness.
Heat cramps: Can occur during hard labor.
Heat rashes: Red rashes on the skin.

OSHA offers tips on working safely in hot weather, OSHA, June 22, 2009

Protecting workers from the effects of heat, OSHA Fact Sheet (PDF)


Related Web Resources:
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

New Rules for Preventing Heat Illnesses, State Compensation Insurance Fund

Continue reading "Illinois Workers’ Compensation: Preventing Illness and Injury When Working in Hot Weather" »

Bookmark and Share

July 8, 2009

Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission Received 57,515 Claims in 2008

The Illinois Workers’ Compensation has issued its 2008 Annual Report. Highlights of the report include:

• The Illinois 2005 workers’ compensation total injury rate was 58% lower than the 1990 workers’ compensation total injury rate.
• About 250,000 Illinois work-related accidents occur each year.
• The majority of work injury claims don’t require time off work.
• The Illinois Workers’ Compensation is the recipient of some 60,000 of these claims.
• Last year, 57,515 Illinois workers’ compensation claims were filed with the Commission.
• Of these new cases, there were 22,818 Chicago workers’ compensation cases.
• The various Illinois workers' claims noted head injuries, neck injuries, eye injuries, back injuries, shoulder injuries, hand injuries, finger injuries, arm injuries, foot injuries, knee injuries, toe injuries, and leg injuries.
• Of the 59,533 claims that the Commission received during FY08, 51,549 claims were settled, 5,434 were dismissed, and 2,550 resulted in decisions.
• By the end of FY08, some 95,000 cases were pending at arbitration.
• 3,594 arbitration decisions were issued.
• 33% of Illinois workers’ compensation claimants are females—an increase from the 22% of female claimants in 1985.
• 66 employers that did not provide workers’ compensation benefits were ordered to pay $1.8 million in fines to the Insurance Compliance unit.
• These funds pay for the worker benefits that employees working for these uninsured companies would not receive otherwise.

The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission is in charge of resolving disputes between injured Illinois workers and their employers over work injury and death benefits. The Commission is supposed to resolve disputes, make sure that employees and employers are protected under the Occupational Diseases Act and Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, administer self-insurance, and gather data about work-related diseases and injuries.

If you have been injured in a Chicago work accident, our Chicago workers’ compensation law firm can make sure that you receive all the benefits that your employer owes you.

Illinios Workers' Compensation Commission FY2008 Annual Report (PDF)

Related Web Resources:
Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

Continue reading "Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission Received 57,515 Claims in 2008" »

Bookmark and Share

July 2, 2009

Recent Construction Accident Settlements Awarded to Illegal Workers a Reminder that All Injured Workers Should Pursue Illinois Workers’ Compensation Benefits and Third Party Damages

Last month, the New York Times published an article about three illegal immigrants that were awarded settlements for their construction accident injuries. While many illegal workers living in Illinois and elsewhere in the United States continue to worry that filing a claim for work related injuries could get them in trouble—the outcome of these construction accident cases prove otherwise.

One worker, a 33-year-old plumber from Mexico, settled his construction accident claim for $2.5 million. He sustained scald injuries on his body. Swig Equities, LLC and 44 Wall Owner, LLC were the defendants in his case. The worker was employed by a contractor.

Another worker, a 52-year-old Mexican national, got hurt when a steel beam landed on his foot in January 2004. The worker settled with Beway Realty Corporation and FJ Sciame Construction Company for $750,000.

A third worker, 36 and from Ecuador, fractured his hip and sustained other injuries when three tresses landed on him in August 14, 2007 while he was working on a roofing job. Each of the tresses weighed 200 pounds. He settled his construction accident case against Benjamin Beachwood Ocean Way, LLC, Rockaway Beach Boulevard Construction Company, Benjamin Beechwood Breakers, LLC, and New Visions Construction Corporation for $600,000.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Illegal Workers
Illinois is one of the US states that recognizes an illegal immigrant’s right to obtain workers’ compensation benefits if he or she is injured on the job. He or she can also file a third party claim for personal injury related to the work accident.

Payments for Injuries to Workers Here Illegally, The New York Times, June 17, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Economy Packing Co. v. Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission (PDF)

Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

Bookmark and Share

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, Rrstar.com, June 1, 2009

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


Related Web Resources:
Construction Accidents Overview, Justia

OSHA

Continue reading "Illinois Construction Worker Injured in Trench Collapse" »

Bookmark and Share

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, PioneerLocal.com, June 3, 2009


Related Web Resources:
Illinois Workers' Compensation

Workers' Compensation Web Resources, Justia

Continue reading "Cook County Workers’ Compensation: Evanston Business Closes For Failing to Obtain Employee Coverage" »

Bookmark and Share

April 29, 2009

Illinois Workers’ Compensation: Making Sure that Your Employer Pays for Your Medical Care to Treat Your Work Injuries

If you have been injured in an Illinois work accident, you should try to get medical help as soon as possible. You are also entitled to certain medical benefits under Illinois’ workers’ compensation law:

• You are entitled to the doctor or hospital of your choice and your employer must pay for the medical care. However, the medical services must be necessary and reasonable. Experimental or unproven procedures are not covered under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act.

• However, the employer only has to pay for emergency and first aid services and two doctors, hospitals, or surgeons, and anyone that the two medical providers recommends that you see.

• You are entitled to an independent medical exam to determine whether you need ongoing care or if you can go back to work.

• You are also entitled to have your employer pay for treatment and training should you require rehabilitation services, as well as vocational training to help you get back to work.

To ensure that additional medical services are paid for, you need to obtain your employer’s approval. It is important that you give your employer all pertinent information about your medical care. It is also important that your doctor submit medical updates to the employer or the insurance company.

Unfortunately, medical disputes can arise over whether or not your employer should pay for certain medical services. They may even deny certain claims.

The best way to make sure that you receive all of the Illinois workers’ compensation benefits that you are owed is to speak with an experienced Chicago workers’ compensation attorney immediately.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act


Related Web Resources:
Workers' Compensation FAQ

Your Right to Workers' Compensation Benefits, Nolo

Continue reading "Illinois Workers’ Compensation: Making Sure that Your Employer Pays for Your Medical Care to Treat Your Work Injuries" »

Bookmark and Share

March 26, 2009

Illinois Industrial Commission Awards Benefits to Worker Injured in Trip and Fall Accident in Employee Parking Lot

The Illinois Industrial Commission awarded benefits to a claimant who tripped and fell after finishing her shift, leaving, and then going back to the workplace. The employee fell in the company parking lot. She worked for North American Lighting.

The woman was a shift factory worker. She worked on the second shift. On the day of her work accident, she clocked out at 1:30am and went to her motor vehicle. She got into her car and moved the vehicle closer to the building. She went back into the building, used the bathroom, and got a candy bar and a cup of coffee.

The claimant tripped and fell over a parking curb as she went to the vehicle. The woman claims that she did not see the curb because the lighting in the parking lot was dim.

Based on the personal comfort doctrine, the arbitrator awarded her benefits and a majority of the commission affirmed this decision. The outcome of this workers’ compensation claim affirms going back into one’s workplace to use the facilities after one’s work for the day has ended is considered a reasonable and foreseeable act per the personal comfort doctrine. This means that her work injury is covered under Illinois’s workers’ compensation law.

The Personal Comfort Doctrine
The personal comfort doctrine allows an employee to engage in certain acts essential to one’s comfort and health while at work and during a reasonable period of time before the actual work begins and ends. Examples of actions that could fall under the personal comfort doctrine: include taking occasional work breaks, and getting something to eat or drink.


Factory worker assembles compensable claim for parking lot injury, Risk & Insurance, March 19, 2009

Related Web Resource:
Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission


Continue reading "Illinois Industrial Commission Awards Benefits to Worker Injured in Trip and Fall Accident in Employee Parking Lot " »

Bookmark and Share

February 18, 2009

Resolving Your Illinois Workers’ Compensation Dispute

In an ideal scenario, an injured Illinois worker who is injured on the job will receive the proper compensation in a timely manner from an employer for his or her injuries. However, this is not always the case. This is why it is so important that you speak to an experienced Chicago workers’ compensation attorney to discuss your legal options.

To qualify for Illinois workers' compensation benefits, the employee must show that he or she:

• Worked for an employer who is subject to the Occupational Diseases Act or the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission.

• Worked for this employer on the date the work accident occurred.

• Sustained injuries or was exposed to hazardous substances while performing work for this employer.

• Has an illness or injury or medical condition that was caused or made worse by the work accident.

• Made sure the employer received the notice of injury or exposure within the time constraints imposed by Illinois law.

However, conflicts over workers' compensation benefits can arise for a number of reasons, including:
• Disputes over the seriousness of an Illinois worker’s disability.
• Disagreements over the injured employee’s average weekly wage.
• Disputes over the necessity of certain medical treatments or procedures.
• Delayed compensation.
• Rejection by the insurer of an Illinois work injury claim.

In certain instances, your case may have to go through the arbitration process before the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission in order to be resolved. This process could take a couple of years. In emergency situations, one of the parties may request an emergency hearing, which requires that a final decision be rendered no later than six months after the date the Petition for Review is filed. Sometimes, an injured worker may opt to settle with an employer and its insurance company.

Handbook on Workers' Compensation and Occupational Diseases (PDF)

Related Web Resources:
Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

Workers' Occupational Diseases Act, Illinois General Assembly


Continue reading "Resolving Your Illinois Workers’ Compensation Dispute" »

Bookmark and Share

February 3, 2009

Some Facts About Illinois Workers’ Compensation Benefits

• In Illinois, nearly every employee who was hired, works, or got hurt in the state is entitle to workers’ compensation benefits.

• Coverage under Illinois workers’ compensation law goes into effect for each worker as soon as he or she begins a new job.

Injuries and disease that are caused (even if just partially) by the worker’s job are usually covered under Illinois workers' compensation law. Examples of such injuries include, carpal tunnel syndrome, diseases caused by exposure to hazardous or toxic substances, severe back pain, broken bones, or a heart attack.

• If a worker’s job aggravates a preexisting condition, the employee may be able to receive workers’ compensation benefits.

• A worker who gets hurt during an employer-sponsored activity that he or she was not required to participate in is not entitled to Illinois workers’ compensation benefits.

• An Illinois worker who gets hurt while taking part in a drug or alcohol rehabilitation program cannot avail of workers’ compensation benefits for these injuries.

• Workers’ compensation benefits in Illinois are not considered taxable income.

• It is the responsibility of Illinois employers to provide their employees with workers’ compensation coverage.

• Usually, the employer/its insurance company is responsible for paying the injured worker his or her benefits.

• Failure by an employer to provide an employee with workers’ compensation coverage is considered negligence, as well as a Class A misdemeanor for every day that passes without coverage.

Unfortunately, there are cases involving employers and/or insurers who refuse to pay or opt to delay paying workers' compensation benefits to an injured Illinois employee. This can cause added stress and financial worry to the injured worker.


Related Web Resources:

Handbook on Workers' Compensation and Occupational Diseases, Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission (PDF)

Frequently Asked Questions, Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

Continue reading "Some Facts About Illinois Workers’ Compensation Benefits" »

Bookmark and Share

January 22, 2009

Understanding Death/Survivors’ Benefits Under Illinois Workers’ Compensation Law

If someone in your family has died in an Illinois work accident, you are not allowed to file a wrongful death lawsuit against his or her employer. You may, however, be entitled to death/survivors’ benefits.

In Illinois, these benefits include:
• $8,000 burial benefit
• 66 2/3% of the deceased workers’ weekly income for the 52 weeks leading up to the work injury. This amount is subject to maximum and minimum limits. Barring a reduction for partially dependent individuals, the minimum benefit for survivors cannot be lower than 50% of the Illinois average weekly wage at the time the accident occurred. The maximum benefit cannot exceed 133 1/3% of the SAWW when the injury accident happened. The benefit will be paid either as (the greater of) $500,000 or in weekly increments for 25 years.

Workers' Compensation Beneficiaries
A deceased workers’ husband, wife, or children are considered the primary beneficiaries to any death/survivors’ benefits. If the employee had no primary beneficiaries, then dependent parents are entitled to these benefits. If there are no dependent parents, then anyone who was at least 50% dependent on the worker can claim death benefits.

In the event that the deceased worker’s widow or widower remarries, the eligible surviving children will continue to receive benefits. If the deceased worker did not leave behind any children, then the spouse would be given a final payment equivalent to two years of workers’ compensation.

It is hard enough to lose a loved one without having the additional burden of struggling financially because you’ve also lost your primary source of financial support.

Related Web Resources:
Handbook on Workers' Compensation and Occupational Diseases, Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission (PDF)

Illinois Workers' Compensation Act (PDF)

Continue reading "Understanding Death/Survivors’ Benefits Under Illinois Workers’ Compensation Law" »

Bookmark and Share

January 17, 2009

Reporting Your Illinois Work Accident To Your Employer

If you were injured in an Illinois work accident, you should tell your employer as soon as possible. You can let them know about the injury either verbally or in writing, although it is a good idea to document the incident in writing.

Usually, Illinois workers’ compensation law requires that you tell your employer that you were injured within 45 days of the accident happening. This will decrease the chances that you won’t receive your benefits as soon as possible. If you wait more than 45 days to report your work accident, you may forfeit all Illinois workers’ compensation benefits.

If your injuries occurred because of radiological exposure, you have 90 days after you find out or suspect that you were exposed to too much radiation to notify your employer. If your injuries involve an occupational disease, you need to let your employer know as soon as possible.

Illinois employers who are dealing with workers injured on the job must:
• Make sure the injured worker receives the necessary first aid or emergency medical services
• Inform the workers’ compensation administrator or insurance carrier that there may be a pending work injury claim
• Start paying Temporary Total Disability Benefits if the worker is unable to work for more than 3 days because of his or her work injury
• Give the injured worker all the information he or she needs to be able to receive workers’ compensation benefits
• If the employer decides to deny the employee’s workers’ compensation claim, the company must give the worker a reason.

The best way of making sure that you receive all the workers’ compensation you are owed is to contact an experienced Illinois workers’ compensation attorney who can make sure that you receive your benefits in a timely manner. If your work injury claim was denied by your employer, your lawyer can take the necessary steps to fight for the benefits you are entitled to receive.

Handbook on Workers' Compensation and Occupational Diseases (PDF)

Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

Continue reading "Reporting Your Illinois Work Accident To Your Employer" »

Bookmark and Share

Watch Our Videos

Recent Entries