March 24, 2011

Review of Denied Illinois Workers’ Compensation Claim Requested by Ex-State Trooper Involved in Car Crash that Killed Uhl Sisters

Matt Mitchell, an ex-state trooper, whose Illinois workers’ compensation claim for injuries he sustained in a deadly car crash was denied, has filed a review to have that decision reconsidered. Mitchell was the trooper who was driving the car that struck the Mazda carrying Uhl sisters Kelli, 14, and Jessica, 18, who died from their injuries. He also struck another vehicle carrying Kelly and Christine Marler, who was pregnant at the time. The Marlers sustained serious injuries, as did Mitchell.

The former state trooper would go on to plead guilty to two counts of reckless homicide in the girls’ 2007 deaths. At the time of the Illinois car crash, Mitchell was driving at speeds as high as 126 mph on Interstate 64. He also was writing emails on his car’s computer and had taken personal call before crossing his car into oncoming traffic. He was on duty at the time.

After submitting his Illinois workers’ compensation claim, arbitrator Jennifer Teague denied it, saying that the injuries were not work-related. Mitchell’s attorney disagrees. Teague, who is now on paid leave, recently came under fire for emailing a court reporter and saying that she wanted the Mitchell hearing conducted without press around.

Local lawmakers now want to better examine the state’s workers’ compensation program. In addition to a recent House vote to audit state workers’ work injury claims, last month Sen. Bill Haine, D-Alton filed a bill that seeks to bar employees convicted of reckless homicide, forcible felonies, and aggravated DUI from being eligible to receive Illinois workers’ compensation benefits.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation
Workers injured on the job are generally entitled to Illinois workers’ compensation benefits. Even if your claim is denied, you shouldn’t give up without first exploring your options with an experienced Chicago, Illinois workers’ compensation law firm.

Mitchell asks for review of denied workers' comp claim, BND.com, March 24, 2011

Illinois ex-trooper denied workers' comp in deadly crash, STL Today, February 18, 2011


Related Web Resources:
Illinois State Police

Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission


More Blog Posts:

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 Lawyer Blog, February 10, 2011
Ex-State Trooper Convicted of Motor Vehicle Deaths of Uhl Sisters Seeks Illinois Workers’ Compensation Benefits for His Injuries from the Crash, Chicago Workers' Compensation Lawyer Blog, September 22, 2011

llinois Court of Claims Awards $8M to Family of Uhl Sisters Killed in 2007 Car Crash Caused by State Trooper Accused of Speeding, Texting, and Cell Phone Driving, Chicago Car Accident Attorney Blog, January 20, 2011

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February 10, 2011

State Arbitrator Tried to Keep Illinois Workers’ Compensation Hearings of Trooper Who Caused Deadly Car Crash that Killed the Uhl Sisters a Secret

According to the Belleville News Democrat, Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission arbitrator Jennifer Teague tried to keep public hearings of ex-Trooper Matt Mitchell a secret. The ex-trooper, who pleaded guilty to two counts of reckless homicide in the car accident deaths of Kelli Uhl, 13, and Jessica Uhl, 18, is seeking benefits for the injuries he sustained during the collision.

The vehicle he was driving struck the girls’ car head-on while Mitchell was texting and talking on a cell phone and driving 126 mph. The Illinois Court of Claims recently awarded the sisters’ parents $8 million—the largest award against the state ever recorded. Mitchell, who was sentenced to 30 months probation, eventually resigned form the Illinois State Police.

However, because the car crash occurred while Mitchell was on the job, he may still be entitled to receive Illinois workers’ compensation. An injured worker can still be eligible to receive benefits for causing his work injuries.

At issue in this latest development isn’t the validity of Mitchell’s claim. The question is why Teague was trying to keep the hearing date secret from the press. According to
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan chief of staff Anne Spillane, attempting to keep the public or the media out of Mitchell’s hearing is “completely unacceptable.” Workers’ compensation hearings should be open to the public.

It is important that you realize that no one needs to be at fault for you to be entitled to receive Illinois workers’ compensation benefits. Even if you were at fault for causing your Illinois work accident, you are still likely entitled to work injury benefits.

Embarrassing Emails After Deadly Crash, Courthouse News, February 10, 2011

Worker's comp arbitrator tried to keep hearing secret, The Telegraph, February 9, 2011


Related Web Resources:
Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

Illinois Workers' Compensation Act


Related Blog Posts:
Ex-State Trooper Convicted of Motor Vehicle Deaths of Uhl Sisters Seeks Illinois Workers’ Compensation Benefits for His Injuries from the Crash, Chicago Workers' Compensation Lawyer Blog, September 9, 2010

Illinois Court of Claims Awards $8M to Family of Uhl Sisters Killed in 2007 Car Crash Caused by State Trooper Accused of Speeding, Texting, and Cell Phone Driving, Chicago Car Accident Lawyer Blog, January 20, 2011

Illinois Car Accident Lawsuit: Uhl Family Seeks $46 Million for Wrongful Death of Daughters From Police Pursuit, Chicago Car Accident Lawyer Blog, May 7, 2010

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January 18, 2011

Cook County Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed Over Fatal Blue Island Work Accident

The family of Brain Fuller is suing several counties for his Illinois wrongful death. Fuller, who was employed by George J. Roll & Sons, suffered fatal Cook County crush injuries last February in a Blue Island work accident. At the time, he was working the hydraulic components under an elevated dump truck when the pump released.

Now, the 48-year-old La Grange man’s loved ones are suing those involved in the repair and building of parts used in the truck. They claim that Energy Manufacturing, Inc., which constructed the pump, is liable for the pump and controls defects that caused the pump to get stuck and then release at the wrong time. The family’s Cook County wrongful death lawyer says that EMI is also responsible for the “product design issues,” which included placing the controls below the dump body rather than outside the truck’s bed frame.

Chandler Services Inc., Williams Machine and Tool Co., and Groen’s Towing and Truck Repair and Buyers Products Co are the other defendants named in this Blue Island wrongful death case. All of these companies played a role in the maintenance or manufacture of the cable that was supposed to hold the dump frame’s hydraulic lift and keep the dump body in place.

Remember, not only are injured workers and their families likely entitled to Illinois workers’ compensation benefits, but also, they may have grounds for filing a Cook County personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit against liable third parties.

In other recent work injury news, a worker died in a Will County, Illinois industrial accident on December 30 after he ended up trapped beneath three tons of granite. The victim was 23-year-old Chicago resident Emilio Gallardo. He died at the work accident site.


Suit filed over workplace death in Blue Island, Chicago Sun-Times, January 17, 2011

Chicago Man Killed in Romeoville Industrial Accident, Woodridge Patch, December 30, 2011

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

Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

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September 22, 2010

Ex-State Trooper Convicted of Motor Vehicle Deaths of Uhl Sisters Seeks Illinois Workers’ Compensation Benefits for His Injuries from the Crash

Matt Mitchell, the former Illinois state trooper who pleaded guilty to two counts of reckless homicide in the car accident deaths of 18-year-old Jessica Uhl and her 14-year-old sister Kelli has filed an Illinois workers’ compensation claim for the injuries he sustained during the 2007 car accident. Mitchell was on-duty when the vehicle he was driving collided with the car driven by Jessica on Interstate 64 close to O’Fallon on November 3, 2007.

According to investigators, Mitchell was emailing another cop, talking on his cell phone, and driving at speeds as high as 126 ph when his patrol car drove across a median and crashed head on into the sisters’ vehicle. At the time, Mitchell was hurrying to a traffic cash site.

As part of his plea agreement, Uhl was sentenced to 30 months probation. Following the fatal car accident, Mitchell was suspended with pay for two years. He eventually resigned from the Illinois State Police.

Meantime, the Uhl sisters’ parents are still waiting for a verdict in the Illinois wrongful death lawsuit that they filed with the Illinois Court of Claims. They are seeking $46 million in damages. Also injured in the high-speed crash were Kelly and Christine Marler.

Even though Mitchell caused the deadly car crash, he did so while doing his job and also was injured. This means that he may be entitled to receive Illinois workers’ compensation benefits for his work injuries. Also, under state law, negligence or recklessness on the injured worker’s part does not cause him/her to lose the right to receive work injury benefits.

Ex-trooper who killed two seeks workers' compensation, Stltoday.com, September 22, 2010

Ex-trooper convicted in double fatal crash wants money for his injuries, BND.com, September 21, 2010


Related Web Resources:
Illinois Car Accident Lawsuit: Uhl Family Seeks $46 Million for Wrongful Death of Daughters From Police Pursuit, Chicagocaraccidentattorneysblog.com, May 7, 2010

Illinois Court of Claims, CyberDriveIllinois

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September 9, 2010

Construction Accident Claims the Life of Worker Crushed Between Two Large Trucks

A 44-year-old construction worker was killed on Tuesday during a work accident at the Rainbow Dam construction site. Taun Kultgen suffered fatal injuries after he was reportedly crushed between two large trucks. The County Sheriff’s Office says that Kultgen was walking in between the two vehicles that were passing by each other when the crush accident happened.

Kultgen died from massive internal injuries. The State Crime Lab is examining his body.

In other work accident injury news, a worker sustained injuries to his lower body and hip when a 2,000-pound ink barrel crushed him on Wednesday. Police say that Justin Doak was trying to pour ink from the barrel into 5-gallon buckets when the barrel slid off a fork lift to land on top of him.

Last week, 47-year-old worker Kyle Damberg died at a construction site. He had been checking the status of the project when he fell unconscious. OSHA officials are trying to determine what caused the work accident.

Construction Accidents
Our Chicago construction accident lawyers represent workers and their families in Cook County, DuPage County, Lake County, and Will County, Illinois with Illinois workers’ compensation claims and third party lawsuits against defendants that are not the injured worker’s employer.

Chicago construction accidents can cause catastrophic injuries that can impair a worker for life. It is important that you receive all of the Illinois work injury compensation and construction accident recovery that you are owed.

Great Falls Workplace Accident: Worker Crushed by Trucks at Rainbow Dam Project, JusticeNewsFlash, September 9, 2010

Worker Crushed By 2,000-Pound Barrel, WLWT, September 9, 2010

Workplace accident claims Minnesota Power worker, BusinessNorth, September 7, 2010


Related Web Resources:
Construction Accidents, Justia

OSHA

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September 4, 2010

Movie Extra Injured During 'Transformers 3' Shooting Undergoes Brain Surgery

What should have been a fun day as a movie extra shooting a scene for 'Transformers 3' turned catastrophic when a movie extra was critically injured on Wednesday. Gabriela Cedillo, a 24-year-old Chicago bank teller, was struck by a metal object that flew through the windshield of her car. She is reportedly in stable condition after undergoing brain surgery.

The work accident took place during a scene involving drivers heading down a highway as explosions went off. After she was struck, Cedillo’s car, which another movie extra says was being towed by another vehicle, kept moving before skidding for a mile along the concrete barrier median and then stopping.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is trying to determine whether Cedillo, a paid extra, was hired as an employee or as an independent contractor. If she was considered an employee, then her work injury case would fall under OSHA’s jurisdiction.

Cedillo’s work status could determine who can be held liable for her injuries. If she was retained as an employee, she will likely be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Although she wouldn’t be able to sue the company that employed her, there may be third parties that should be held liable.

Actor Injuries
Movie stars, theater actors, extras, stunt doubles, crew members, writers, producers, and others in the business have been known to get hurt on the job. Back injuries, burn injuries, voice injuries, dance injuries, neck injuries, fall injuries, stunt-related injuries, fatigue, repetitive strain, and other injuries have been known to occur to people employed in the entertainment industry.

In Cook County, DuPage County, Will County, and Lake County, contact our Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer to discuss your case.

'Transformers 3' wraps early in Chicago after an extra is injured, Los Angeles Times, September 3, 2010

'Transformers' extra has surgery, Toronto Sun, September 4, 2010

Transformers 3, IMDB


Related Blog Story:

Movie Actor Sylvester Stallone Says He Broke His Neck During Fight Scene, Chicagoworkerscompensationlawyerblog, January 9, 2010

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September 3, 2010

Chicago Worker Fatality: Sister of Forest Park Mechanic Allegedly Killed by Street Sweeper Sues Companies for Over $600,000

The sister of Forest Park street sweeper Brian P. Miller is suing Elgin Sweeping Services Inc., Elgin Sweeper Company, and Schwarze Industries for his Chicago wrongful death. The 37-year-old man was allegedly killed last year when the street sweeper he was repairing fell on him. Now, Keri Goff is seeking over $600,000 in Cook County wrongful death recovery.

Miller was employed by Hunter Maintenance & Leasing Corporation at the time of the tragic Chicago work accident. According to police, on October 21, 2009, they arrived to find Miller stuck in the compressor of one of the trucks in the company’s rear lot. He was already unresponsive.

The Cook County Medical Examiner’s office says that Miller died after he got trapped in the sweeper. According to autopsy findings, Miller died from multiple injuries that he sustained from being pinned in the compressor.

In her Cook County wrongful death complaint, Goff accuses Elgin Sweeping Services of a number of negligent acts, including the improper repair, removal, modification, and alteration of safety pins and the improper repair of the street sweeper. Elgin Sweeper Company and Schwarze Industries designed and distributed the vehicles.

Family members who’ve lost loved ones in work accidents cannot sue the employer for Chicago wrongful death. The deceased’s spouse and children, however, are usually entitled to Illinois survivors benefits. If there is no eligible wife/husband and kids, then there may be other family members that qualify. They also may be able to sue third parties that are not the deceased’s employer for wrongful death.

Workers injured on the job are usually entitled to Chicago workers’ compensation. An experienced Cook County workers’ compensation law firm can help you obtain all of the benefits that you are owed.

Family of man crushed by sweeper files suit, WLS-AM 890

Street Sweeping Truck Accidentally Crushes Park Forest Man, eNews Park Forest, October 23, 2009


Related Web Resources:
Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

Survivors Benefits Cases Filed in Illinois, Justia

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May 7, 2010

How Much Workers’ Compensation Protection Should Work-From-Home Employees Receive?

A traveling saleswoman who was injured in a 2003 car crash while driving from a business appointment to her office has taken her workers’ compensation case to the state Supreme Court. Liana Leordeanu is seeking work injury benefits for the massive head trauma she sustained that caused her to fall into a coma for three months and undergo 26 extensive surgeries to repair her skull and her face. In addition to shattering her skull, the 35-year-old also lost her left eye. She will have to spend the majority of the next two years in hospitals while she undergoes more surgeries to fix facial bones, remold her head, and reconstruct her sinuses. Leordeanu now finds it hard to remember names.

Following her catastrophic car accident—Leordeanu lost control of her vehicle and drove into a rock embankment—she filed a workers’ compensation that her employer’s insurer denied. The reason, according to American Protection Insurance Co., is that even though Leordeanu was traveling on business when the traffic crash happened and was headed to her office, the place of work she was headed to was also her home, which made going there for the night “personal” and not just “professional.”

American Protection Insurance Co. said that Leordeanu was disqualified from coverage because workers’ compensation doesn’t usually cover commutes to and from work and the state limits the availability of workers’ compensation for drivers on trips that combine personal reasons with the professional ones.

Leordeanu appealed to the state’s Department of Insurance and lost. She lost. A jury then decided Leordeanu had been working when the motor vehicle collision happened. However, in 2009, an Austin court ruled that because Leordeanu was going back to her office that also was her home, the personal aspect of her trip made her ineligible for insurance coverage under workers’ compensation. Leordeanu appealed the decision and her workers’ compensation case, which is now up for consideration by the Texas Supreme Court.

Leordeanu’s attorneys have pointed out that it didn’t make sense that she would have been eligible for work injury coverage if only her place of work was an actual office building and not her residence too. The outcome of this case will determine how much insurance protection employees who travel and work-from-home can rely on.

Workers' comp claim denied because of home office, Statesman, May 1, 2010

Read the eBrief before the Supreme Court of Texas (PDF)


Related Web Resource:
Workers' Compensation, Nolo

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April 13, 2010

Chicago Construction Accident Lawsuit Seeks Illinois Wrongful Death Recovery After Worker is Fatally Injured at the Calumet Water Reclamation Plant

The family of Jose Meza is suing Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, F.H. Paschen, S.N. Nielson/IHC Construction, and New Holland North America, Inc. for his Cook County wrongful death. Meza, 38, died during a Chicago, Illinois construction accident on November 30 at the Calumet Water Reclamation Plant.

The ironworker was using a skid steer loader when his body harness got caught in the equipment. Meza, who worked for Industrial Fence, Inc., was thrown onto the ground and fatally crushed by the engine-power vehicle.

The Cook County medical examiner’s office determined that Meza’s cause of death was multiple fatal injuries from a construction vehicle accident. The South Side man’s family is seeking over $50,000 in Chicago wrongful death recovery.

Chicago, Illinois Construction Accident
With so many parties involved in overseeing and working a construction site, it is important that all safety protocols and proper procedures are followed to minimize the chance of serious injuries and deaths. Even with safety measures in place, the US Department of Labor and the Occupational Safety Health Administration consider construction sites among the most dangerous work sites in the US.

Construction accidents can cause such serious injuries that a worker may may be disabled or permanently injured for life. If you are someone with dealing with catastrophic injuries—whether your own or a loved one’s—from a work accident, Chicago, Illinois workers’ compensation may not be enough to cover all your losses.

Although you cannot sue an employer for your construction accident injuries, you are likely entitled to Illinois workers’ compensation benefits. You should file your claim immediately. You may also have grounds for filing a Cook County construction accident lawsuit against third parties that were involved in the construction project.

Suit filed over fatal accident at water reclamation site, Chicago Breaking News, April 12, 2010

Worker ran over at Chicago water reclamation plant, WiredNewsEngine, December 5, 2009


Related Web Resources:
OSHA

Construction Accidents Overview, Justia

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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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January 13, 2010

Workers in Certain Industries Face High Risks of Injuries and Death on the Job

Every year, thousands workers are killed during accidents that occur on the job. Hopefully, their families were entitled to death benefits through employers’ workers’ compensation plans. An injured worker and his/her family cannot sue an employer for personal injury, but the employee is usually entitled to Illinois work injury benefits regardless of who or what was the cause of the work accident.

With help of data from the Department of Labor, Forbes.com compiled a list of the most dangerous jobs in America for 2008. Included in the list:

• Fishing-related jobs. 50 fishing workers died in 2008. Dangerous weather, rough seas, and logistical challenges that can make it impossible to get help during emergency situations contribute to the high death risk these workers face in their line of work.

• 82 Logging workers died from work injuries. Faulty cutting equipment and falling trees were two common causes of logging deaths.

• 90 pilots aircraft pilots died in plane crashes and other work accidents.

• There were 37 structural iron and steel worker death. Common causes of worker fatalities included welding accidents, working at elevated heights, and working with heavy materials.

• 317 rancher and farmer deaths occurred. Heavy machinery hazards is the number one work danger for farm workers and ranchers.

• Traffic, dangerous materials, and heavy equipment are common reasons for recyclable and refuse material collector injuries. 31 workers died in 2008.

• 69 roofer deaths. Hot weather and the hazards of working at elevated heights are two of the most common work dangers for employees in this profession.

• 35 electrical power-line repairer and installer deaths. Electricity and working at elevated heights are two of the most common dangers these workers face.

• 815 trucker deaths. Traffic and fatigue were the two most common causes.

• 69 taxi driver and chauffer deaths. Navigating through traffic is the drivers’ number one work hazard.

Overall, transportation accidents was the most common cause of worker death. 2,053 workers died in vehicle-related crashes. 923 workers died from equipment accidents and objects-related injuries.

Regardless of your profession or the risks involved with doing your job, work accidents and illnesses do happen. An experienced Chicago, Illinois workers’ compensation law firm can make sure you receive all of the benefits that your employer’s insurer owes you.

Fishermen, loggers have most dangerous jobs, MSNBC, September 8, 2009

In Pictures: America's Deadliest Jobs, Forbes, August 26, 2009


Related Web Resources:

US Department of Labor

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

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November 25, 2009

Naperville, Illinois Work Accident Claims Life of Gas Company Employee

A tragic work accident claimed the life of Nicor utility worker in Naperville, Illinois on Monday. Gary Cichy died after being pinned under a backhoe that toppled on top of him.

According to the Will County Sheriff’s Office, the excavator flipped over when it was struck by a white Isuzu box van that drove off the road. Cichy, 52, sustained critical injuries from the Illinois work accident.

Fog made it impossible for emergency workers to fly him to the hospital. Instead, an ambulance transported Cichy to Edward Hospital where he later died. Work signs, Nicor vehicles, and cones had been setup to mark off the work area.

Police are investigating what caused the truck driver to go off the road. Yesterday, a spokesperson for the Will County sheriff’s office announced that charges will likely be filed against the van driver.

In addition to receiving Illinois workers’ compensation benefits, workers who were injured or got sick on the job may also be entitled to personal injury compensation from liable parties that are not the victim’s employer.

Getting pinned by heavy machinery can be catastrophic for a worker, who may have sustained a spinal cord injury or other serious injuries, such as crushed bones and organ damage during this type of work accident. The injured worker may no longer be able to work. He or she may even die from such serious injuries.

Charges coming in crash that killed Nicor worker, Chicago Breaking News, November 24, 2009

Nicor worker killed in Naperville truck-earth-digger collision, Daily Herald, November 23, 2009


Related Web Resources:
Illinois Industrial Commission

Illinois Department of Labor

Continue reading "Naperville, Illinois Work Accident Claims Life of Gas Company Employee" »

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November 5, 2009

Chicago Work Accident: Flagger Dies From Truck Accident Injuries Sustained in Highway Construction Zone

A construction worker died on Saturday in a highway work zone. According to Chicago Ridge police, flagger Joseph Bartkowiaki was fatally injured when a gravel truck that was heading for Crowley-Sheppard Asphalt hit him. Joseph Bartkowiaki worked for the company. Stanislaw Wdowikowski, also 56, was driving the gravel truck.

Bartkowiaki was directing traffic in an area were the company was repaving the street. Wdowikowski says he thought that the flagger was directing him to go forward, but witnesses say that wasn’t the case.

The truck driver struck the construction worker. He stopped his large truck when he heard people yelling at him. Wdowikowski backed up too far, striking Bartkowiaki again.

Police cited the truck driver for failing to stop for a flagger.

The National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse reports that there were 31 Illinois motor vehicle crashes in construction/maintenance zones in 2008. Workzonesafety.org is reporting 5 Illinois road construction site deaths for that year.

In some cases, the victim is a motor vehicle occupant. In other instances, the victim is a construction worker who was doing a job in the work zone.

The parties in charge of the construction/maintenance zone must implement that all safety precautions are in place to decrease the chances of a worker getting injured or a motor vehicle accident happening. Failure to exercise this duty of care can be grounds for a Chicago injury lawsuit. Construction workers injured on the job are likely entitled to Illinois workers’ compensation benefits.

Common causes of construction zone accidents:

• Distracted drivers
• Equipment and machinery defects
• Poor barricade placement
• Warning signs that are not easily visible
• Inadequate worker training
• Machinery accidents
• Motor vehicle accidents

Construction worker dies in accident, Southtown Star, November 1, 2009

Construction worker struck and killed by truck, Chicago Breaking News, October 31, 2009


Related Web Resources:
WorkZoneSafety.org (PDF)

Federal Highway Administration

Continue reading "Chicago Work Accident: Flagger Dies From Truck Accident Injuries Sustained in Highway Construction Zone" »

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November 2, 2009

OSHA’s 2009 Top 10 Safety Violations

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued its list of the 10 most common workplace safety violations for the year:

9,093 Scaffolding violations: Most common causes of scaffolding accidents involve the support or planking giving way or the employee slipping or getting hit by a falling object.

6,771 Fall Protection violations: Workers in the general industry working at a height of four feet or greater must be adequately protected. In the construction arena workers must be protected when working at six feet or higher.

6,378 Hazard Communication violations: Chemical makers and importers must evaluate the hazards of their products and develop safety data sheets and labels so that downstream clients are made aware of these hazards.

3,803 Respiratory Protection violations: Workers must be protected against dangerous dusts, smokes, fogs, gases, mists, sprays, vapors, and inadequate oxygen environments. Failure to do so can result in lung impairment, cancer, and other diseases. It can also lead to deaths.

3,321 Lockout-Tag Out violations: Employees must be protected from hazardous energy released during maintenance or service. They also must be protected from the unexpected activation of equipment and machinery.

3,079 Electrical Wiring Violations: Electricians, engineers, sales people, office workers, and other employees must be protected from the hazards of working directly or indirectly with electricity.

3,072 Ladder violations: Falls from ladders can result in traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and death. Fall accidents cause 8% of all occupational-related fatalities involving trauma.

2,993 Powered-Industrial Trucks violations: Tens of thousands of people are injured each year because of forklift accidents.

2,556 Electrical violations

2,364 Machine Guarding violations: Protecting workers from any part, process, or function that can injure or kill a worker.

Compared to same time period last year, the number of top 10 violations has gone up nearly 30%.

Regardless of who or what caused a work accident, most workers are entitled to Illinois workers’ compensation benefits.

OSHA Reports on Top 10 Safety Violations for 2009, Reuters.PR Newswire, October 27, 2009


Related Web Resources:

Continue reading "OSHA’s 2009 Top 10 Safety Violations " »

October 9, 2009

Industrial Accident Kills Worker Who is Crushed in Molding Press

Police are looking into a fatal work accident involving a worker who was crushed in a molding press at Buckhorn LLC on Wednesday night. The machine reportedly was malfunctioning.

31-year-old Toby Hall was in the machine when it was activated. The worker who was operating the machine thought Hall had left to get a tool so he activated the machine.

According to Occupational Safety and Health Administration records, the plant has received nine citations this year. Three of them were “serious” violations.

On Thursday, one worker was critically injured when he fell 130 feet. Jason Redke was on a platform helping secure a spout to the petal “leg” structure used for distributing grain to bins when the weld that held the spout to a crane came loose. The leg collapsed and along with Redke fell into a pile of rubble. During the collapse, another worker, 27-year-old Shawn Babbitt, fell some 30 feet from a bin top. Redke was hospitalized in critical condition while Babbitt was hospitalized in fair condition.

In another fatal work accident, Darrell T. Seiber died today when his coal truck drove off a mountain road. He may have been operating the truck at a vehicle faster than what was acceptable considering the road conditions. Seiber, 48, was a contract driver working for Cox Trucking.

A US Mine Safety and Health Administration spokesperson said that Seiber sustained fatal head injuries when he tried to jump out of the truck. The truck crash is considered a mining accident.

Our Chicago construction accident lawyers represent workers injured in Illinois construction accidents and other industrial accidents. We are also experienced Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys. This means that not only will we work to maximize the recovery you are owed from all liable third parties, but we can make sure your employer fully compensates you for your work injuries.

Workers say unusual break in weld caused man to be critically injured in 130-foot fall at Lake Odessa grain elevator, Mlive.com, October 8, 2009

Worker dies in crash on mine land, Knox News, October 9, 2009

Worker at plant crushed to death, News-Leader.com, October 9, 2009

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July 10, 2009

Chicago Construction Accident: Illinois Drunk Driver Pins Worker Between Two Motor Vehicles in Work Zone Area

A Chicago construction worker has been rushed to an Oak Lawn hospital after he was struck by a drunk driver in a construction work zone. The Illinois construction accident occurred today on the Bishop Ford Freeway close to Dolton.

The Chicago work accident took place in a protected work zone on I-94 at around 4:15 am when a 1998 Cadillac pinned the worker to a construction van. The worker sustained two broken legs. The driver of the Cadillac suffered head injuries and was taken to a Harvey hospital.

According to Illinois State Police Chicago Master Sgt. Todd Borisey, the construction worker and the work zone were clearly visible to the motorist, and the cones on the roadway made it clear that there was a protected work zone in the area. The drive could be charged with violating Scott’s Law, which increases penalties if a driver does not yield to emergency vehicles or causes injury to service personnel or public safety workers at roadside emergency scenes.

While construction zones are often marked so that motorists can avoid causing injury to workers, many drivers unfortunately do not realized that they are in a road work area and they need to drive carefully so that no one gets hurt. Just last month, Arnold Placensia, another construction worker, was repairing potholes when a motorist who was driving at a high speed struck him. Placensia died from his injuries as did the driver, Nancy Richards, who struck a large piece of construction equipment after hitting him.

Construction workers injured in work zones are entitled to Illinois workers’ compensation. In addition to workers’ compensation benefits, the injured worker or the family of a deceased construction worker may be able to file a Chicago personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit against a liable motorist, subcontractor, or another negligent party.

Drunk driver strikes construction worker on Bishop Ford, Chicago Sun-Times, July 10, 2009

Construction worker, driver killed in suspected DUI, The Modesto Bee, June 12, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Scott's Law

Work Zone Mobility and Safety Programs, Federal Highway Adminstration

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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, ChicoER.com, 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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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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April 23, 2009

From Our Chicago Workers' Compensation Law Firm: Keeping Illinois Highway Workers Safe

About 7,000 motor vehicle crashes occur in Illinois Highway work zones every year. Construction workers and traffic employees risk injury whenever they do their jobs, which is why it is important that the public be made aware of steps they can take to keep our workers safe when they are working on our roads.

Earlier this month, US transportation officials held the 10th National Work Zone Awareness week. They also had a number of facts to offer, including:

• The number of work zone injuries and deaths have decreased over the last decade.
• Nationally, there were 835 work zone deaths in 2007, compared to 1,006 in 2006.

Steps motorists can take to keep work zone workers safe:
• Pay attention to the roads and signs letting you know that you are in a work zones.
• Turn on your headlights so that drivers and workers can see you.
• Don’t tailgate.
• Don’t speed.
• Slow down and obey posted speed limits.
• Make sure you are keeping up with the pace of traffic flow.
• Don’t change lanes when you are driving through a work zone.
• Keep a close watch in case construction machinery or workers suddenly appear before you.
• Although there may be delays when driving in a work zone, practice patience and know that the workers are there to make your roads safer.

Highway worker injuries can be catastrophic injuries and similar to injuries that a pedestrian or a vehicle occupant might sustain during an Illinois motor vehicle collision or a Chicago pedestrian accident. Injured workers’ and their families should file an Illinois’ workers’ compensation claim with their employer immediately and speak with a Chicago personal injury attorney to find out about filing a claim against a negligent motorist or another liable party.

Remember Highway Construction Zone Safety, EHS Today, April 12, 2002

Work Zone Safety, Illinois Tollway

Related Web Resources:
National Work Zone Awareness Week 2009, Federal Highway Administration

Illinois Workers' Compensation Act


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November 7, 2008

Five Chicago Firefighters Injured When Fire Engine Catches Fire During Motor Vehicle Accident

In Chicago, five fire fighters, a female driver, and her 6-year-old daughter were injured on Thursday following a collision involving a fire engine and another motor vehicle. The fire engine caught fire during the crash and rammed into a building in the Old Town Neighborhood of the Near North Side.

According to Fire Media Affairs Director Larry Langford, Engine No. 4 was headed toward a fire when the collision happened at the intersection of Wells and Division Streets. All seven accident victims were taken to local hospitals. The fire engine and the building it crashed into reportedly sustained serious damage. Fortunately, the building is under renovation and there were no occupants at the time of the crash.

Firefighter Injuries
According to the National Fire Protection Association:
• There were 36 firefighter fatalities that occurred at fire scenes in 2007.
• 44,210 firefighters sustained injuries at fire scenes in 2006.
• There were 7 firefighter deaths at non-fire job scenes in 2007.
• 13,090 firefighter injuries occurred at such scenes in 2006.

Common kinds of firefighter injuries:
• Burn injuries
• Traffic collision-related injuries
• Cuts
• Bruises
• Wounds
• Muscular pain
• Strains
• Pains
• Heart Attacks (often caused by stress) is a leading cause of firefighter fatalities.

In Illinois, firefighters are entitled to workers' compensation in the event of injury or death.

8 injured in fire engine crash, Chicago Tribune, November 6, 2008

Several People, Firefighters Injured In Engine Crash In Old Town, WBBM, November 6, 2008

Related Web Resource:

Firefighters' Workers' Compensation

Chicago Fire Department (PDF)

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November 3, 2008

Illinois Construction Worker and Semi-Truck Driver are Injured in Illinois Motor Vehicle Accident

In Illinois, a Wheeling construction worker suffered serious injuries after he was hit by an SUV on Route 45, just outside Vernon Hills. Felipe Ibarra is being treated at Condell Medical Center in Libertyville for head injuries.

The accident happened on Tuesday morning at the Majestic Pines division. A flagger was directing traffic so that a semi-truck could back into the construction site entrance when 17-year-old Jessica Wells struck Ibarra with her GMC Yukon XL. She also struck the truck. The truck driver, Chicago resident Juan Muro, was treated at Condell for non-life threatening injuries.

Wells was charged with driving with an obstructed windshield, failing to stop for a flagger, and failing to reduce speed to avoid an accident. She was not injured in the accident.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act
In Illinois, employers must pay their injured workers two-thirds of their regular income, tax-free, while they take time off from work to recover. Injured employees are also entitled to full medical coverage. Also, depending on the nature and extent of injuries, an employer's insurer must provide benefits for permanent and temporary disabilities—both total and partial.

Unfortunately, employees and their insurance companies do not always deal with injured workers in a fair manner. The best way to ensure that you get all of the benefits that you and your family are owed is to speak with a knowledgeable Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer who can advocate for your rights.

Construction worker hit by SUV, Suburban Chicago News.com, October 29, 2008


Related Web Resources:

Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

Illinois Workers' Compensation Act, Illinois General Assembly

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