December 15, 2010

Over $1.5M in Illinois Workers’ Compensation Paid to Correctional Guards for Repetitive Strain Injuries

According to the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission, since January 2009, guards at the Menard Correctional Center have been paid more than $1.5 million in workers’ compensation benefits for repetitive injuries to the elbow, wrist, and hand that they developed while on the job. Work injury settlements ranged from $21,860 to $119,184 and are based on the percentage of permanent loss of arm and hand functions. Guards and other employees that had to miss work last year because of their repetitive trauma or while recuperating from corrective surgery were paid over $195,000 in salary.

Repetitive Trauma
Unfortunately, repetitive trauma is a common injury that afflicts many workers, including office workers, railroad workers, storeroom employees, meatpackers, assembly line employees, musicians, and others who must tend to tasks that require repetitive and/or constant movements. There are steps that employees can take to make your work environment more ergonomically friendly manner so that workers are protected from developing such painful, debilitating injuries that can cause permanent harm to the body.

55 Menard staff members —51 of them guards (that’s almost 1 out of every 10 correction officers at the maximum security facility)—filed Illinois workers’ compensation claims that cited repetitive trauma injuries. 30 of the cases are still pending. Guards have complained that their jobs have caused them to experience numbness in their arms and hands that have left them unable to perform non-stressful activities, such as tossing a football with their kids. Repetitive chores at the prison include performing “bar taps” to make sure that an inmate isn’t trying to saw out of a cell, the application and removal of handcuffs, “cranking” of a heavy wheel to open rows of cells, and the use of finger-long Folger Adam keys.

Menard employees filed another 27 Illinois workers’ compensation claims in 2009 for non-repetitive injuries, including slip and fall and injuries from heavy lifting. About a dozen cases have been approved.

Examples of Repetitive Trauma Injuries:
• Cubital tunnel syndrome
• Repetitive strain injuries
• Overuse syndrome
• Carpal tunnel syndrome

Menard guards get $1.5 million in workers' compensation, BND, December 12, 2010

Repetitive Strain Injuries

Related Web Resources:
Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

Menard Correctional Center, Illinois Department of Corrections

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November 18, 2010

Norfolk Southern Sued Over Repetitive Trauma Injuries

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related Web Resources:
Norfolk Southern Railway

Federal Employers Liability Act,

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August 3, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related Web Resources:
CSX Transportation

Railroad Workers, Encyclopedia of Chicago

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July 3, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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July 1, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continue reading "Long Haul Truck Drivers at Risk of Suffering from Upper Extremity Injuries and Back Pain" »

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April 21, 2010

Ex-Union Pacific Railroad Welder Files FELA Lawsuit for Repetitive Strain Injuries

Jeffrey W. Stevens has filed a FELA lawsuit against Union Pacific Railroad. Stevens, who worked for the railroad company as a welder between 2004 and 2010, says that he sustained a number of repetitive traumas while repairing railroad tracks. He is seeking over $50,000 plus costs.

According to his Illinois railroad work injury lawsuit, Stevens sustained permanent and serious spine, neck, and body injuries and experienced great anguish and pain as a result of his job with the railroad company. This decreased his earning capacity and caused him to incur medical expenses.

Stevens is accusing Union Pacific of failing to provide him with suitable and safe equipment, tools, and working methods, as well as proper supervision. He claims that his former employer did not warn him of hazardous conditions, allowed unsafe practices to exist in the workplace, gave him jobs that it knew would cause physical injury and were beyond his physical abilities, and did not provide enough manpower.

Repetitive Strain Injuries
Repetitive strain injuries (RSI) can be very painful and debilitating. They usually affect the hand, wrist, elbow, shoulder, ankle, knee, or back. Damage may be temporary or permanent. Examples of repetitive stress conditions:

• Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
• Tendonitis
• Bursitis
• Herniated Disc
• Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome
• Teonsynovitis
• Bursitis
• Chronic back pain
• Epicondylitis
• Ganglion Cysts

RSI’s develop over time when a worker engages in repetitive tasks that require physical force. Improper posture and awkward body motions can contribute to causing RSI.

Under the Federal Employers Liability Act, a railroad worker that is injured on the job may be able to pursue an Illinois railroad work injury complaint against an employer.

Railroad welder claims repetitive injuries in FELA suit, Madison Record, April 21, 2010

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

Union Pacific Railroad

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March 26, 2010

Chicago, Illinois Workers’ Compensation: Hand Injuries Sustained on the Job

Most jobs require the use of the hands. Unfortunately, work accidents can result in hand injuries, which are among the most common kinds of worker injuries. Not only do hand injuries cause the worker pain and suffering and can possibly lead to the inability to do one’s job—whether on a temporary or permanent basis—but there is a good chance that the injured worker will incur medical costs, rehabilitation expenses, and other related bills. It is important that you file your Chicago workers’ compensation claim right away.

Common causes of hand injuries at work:

• Machinery accidents
• Crushing accidents
• Lifting accidents
• Tool-related accidents
• Failure to wear the proper safety gear
• Fall accidents
• Repetitive strain from overuse
• Construction accidents

Common kinds of hand injuries:

• Broken bones
• Crushed hands
• Burn injuries
• Cuts
• Bruises
• Fractures
• Nerve damage
• Tendonitis
• Carpal tunnel syndrome
• Severed hands
• Loss of fingers
• Scarring
• Disfigurement
• Loss of the use of the hand

Considering that the human hand is made up of 27 bones, it is no wonder that there are so many kinds of injuries that can result. Construction workers, kitchen workers, cooks, office workers, railroad workers, workers that engage in heavy lifting, and workers that use different kinds of machinery are just some of the employees that are at risk of injuring their hands while on the job.

Related Web Resources:
Study: Hand Injuries Most Prevalent, Occupational Hazards/Shock Teck, July 2002 (PDF)

Getting a handle on work-related hand injuries, The Fabricator, September 25, 2003

Continue reading "Chicago, Illinois Workers’ Compensation: Hand Injuries Sustained on the Job" »

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February 9, 2010

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

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

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

A Few Steps to Prevent Injuries When Using a Computer:

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

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

Computer Workstation Ergonomics, CDC

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

Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

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

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January 27, 2010

Machinist Sues BNSF for Railroad Worker Injuries, Including Repetitive Trauma

A BNSF Railway Company worker is suing his employer for work-related injuries. Kenneth D. Johnson is seeking over 100,000 plus costs.

Johnson says he began working for the railroad as a machinist on August 9, 1968. His duties included installing and taking off turbo screens on locomotives, installing inertial filters, working with pipe engines, changing oil coolers, working on train engines, and sitting hatches.

Johnson says that due to the repetitive strain and stress of his work and the kind of tasks that he had to perform, he sustained permanent and serious injuries. He also suffered shoulder pain, shoulder deterioration, permanent disfigurement, and permanent disability. Johnson is claiming pain and suffering, lost wages, medical bills, and the inability to live a normal life.

Johnson is accusing BNSF of negligence, including their failures to provide him with the proper work tools, give him enough space to do his job, provide him a safe area to work, and adequately take care of employees’ safety. Johnson says that BNSF gave him improper equipment to do his job and required that he work in physical positions that made him susceptible to injury.

Contrary to popular belief, Illinois train accidents and railroad blasts are not the only causes of serious injuries to railroad workers. Many railroad injuries are cumulative, causing the worker's condition to deteriorate over a number of years until he/she has been rendered permanently disabled. Repetitive strain, soft tissue injuries, back injuries, shoulder injuries, and illnesses from exposure to toxic substances and solvents are some of the more common railroad worker injuries.

After years of service as a railroad worker, it is devastating to find out that you were permanently injured because you were doing your job. Fortunately, the Federal Employee Liability Act allows workers to obtain damages for medical costs, pain and suffering, lost income, therapy, rehabilitation, and other related damages.

Veteran machinist claims repetitive trauma in suit against BNSF, Madison Record, January 22, 2010

Related Web Resources:

Repetitive Strain Injuries, Los Angeles Times

Continue reading "Machinist Sues BNSF for Railroad Worker Injuries, Including Repetitive Trauma" »

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