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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February 6, 2010

Jury Awards $12.1 Million to Worker Paralyzed During Refinery Accident

A jury has awarded David English $12.1 million for spinal cord injuries he sustained during a refinery accident that left him paralyzed. English, a master electrician, severed his spinal cord and broke his neck when a stack of electrical cabinets fell on him, causing the 49-year-old to fall against steps. He is now a quadriplegic, can only breathe with the help of a ventilator, and lives in a nursing home. The defendants in the case included refinery owner Alon USA, refinery contractor Bay Ltd, and Universal Construction.

Refinery Accidents
Working at a refinery comes with occupational hazards that can cause serious injuries. This is why it is so important that employers make sure that safety measures are in place at all times so that workers are protected from toxic pollutants, hazardous chemicals, and other dangers that commonly occur on the job.

Examples of injuries that a refinery worker might sustain during a work accident:

• Burn injuries
• Lead poisoning
• Heat exposure
• Fall injuries
Slip and fall injuries
• Chemical burns
• Asbestos-related illnesses
• Exposure to Silica
• Exposure to Benzene

Illinois Workers’ Compensation
You should submit your Illinois workers’ compensation claim as soon as possible so that you can start receiving your work injury benefits. Unfortunately, not all employers will give you the workers’ compensation benefits that you are owed, which is why getting legal help from an experienced Chicago workers' compensation attorney will work to your advantage. You may be able to file Illinois refinery accident lawsuits against liable third parties.

Nueces County jury awards $12.1M man paralyzed in refinery accident, Caller.com, February 4, 2010


Related Web Resources:
Illinois Workers' Compensation Act, Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

Spinal Cord Injury, MayoClinic

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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 18, 2009

Recent Railroad Injury Lawsuits Claim Damages for Injuries and Slip and Fall

A railroad worker is suing BNSF Railway Company for spinal injuries he says he sustained on the job. Gary Bremer, who has worked as a conductor since 1979, says he has cumulative spinal and low back trauma because of the work he did for BNSF.

While doing his job, Bremer has ridden on locomotives and other equipment that he claims caused the excessive stress injuries. In his Illinois railroad worker injury lawsuit, he is accusing BNSF of neglecting to provide a safe working environment, safe equipment, safe working conditions, and safe working methods. He also says the railroad company neglected to decrease the degree of cumulative trauma exposure, exposed him to the trauma, and failed to inspect his work injuries.

In another Illinois railroad worker injury lawsuit, this one involving injuries sustained during a trip and fall accident, former Union-Pacific Railroad Company worker Phillip Roberts says that the railroad company neglected to award him damages for the disfigurement he suffered during the work accident, as well as for his lost wages.

Roberts worked for Union-Pacific as a trackman. He hurt his lower back when he tripped on a wire that was extended along the company’s railroad tracks. He had to undergo surgery.

Union Pacific argued that the trackman had been warned about the trip hazard. The railroad injury case went to trial and a jury found Roberts 50% liable. They awarded him $250,000 of $500,000 but did not award damages for his disfigurement.

Roberts is seeking a new trial. He claims the jury neglected to award him damages for his disfigurement and that the award he received for economic damages is too low.

Illinois Railroad Worker Injuries
Railroad workers are susceptible to injuries when doing their job. While some injuries can happen instantly, such as those that are sustained by workers during a train crash or a work-related blast, many injuries are cumulative and can become progressively worse over the years. Back injuries, soft tissue damage, and repetitive strain-related issues are some of the painful and damaging injuries that can result.


Most railroad workers are covered by the Federal Employee Liability Act. They can file a FELA claim for injuries.

Spinal injuries claimed in worker's suit against BNSF, The Record, November 18, 2009

Plaintiff asks for new trial in railroad slip and fall, The Record, November 13, 2009


Related Web Resource:
FELA Quick Facts, EzineArticles.com

BNSF Railway Company

Union Pacific

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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 " »

August 5, 2009

Illinois Painter Sustains Serious Work Injuries During Stairwell Fall Accident

A painter says she sustained serious injuries to her head, shoulders, neck, spine, arms, legs, back, and feet when she fell off a stairwell that did not have railing. Laurie Hilliard was employed by Touched by an Angel when the Illinois construction accident happened on July 30, 2007. The company had been hired to provide trim and paint work at the home.

Injured Illinois workers usually are entitled to obtain workers’ compensation benefits from their employers. However, there also may be third parties that can be sued for personal injury because they are liable for the work accident.

Hilliard’s Illinois personal injury complaint, file last month, names Dan and Elaine Whys, Brandon Wyhs, Wyhsco Construction, Don Waddles, Archway Construction, Don Waddles, and Matt Mallinex as defendants.

The injured worker says the work accident caused her to experience great physical and emotional pain and suffering, loss of normal life, disability, and lost wages. She also has medical expenses stemming from her work injuries.

The plaintiff’s 16-count lawsuit is seeking over $700,000 plus costs and other relief. Hilliard blames Elaine and Dan Wyhs of neglecting to reasonably inspect the premises, failing to note that there was a fall hazard, not exercising enough care to make sure she didn’t get hurt, neglecting to remedy the fall hazard, and failing to properly supervise the work site.

Hilliard says that all of the defendants created a fall hazard when they took off the railing that served as a barricade to the unfinished stairwell.

In June, another Illinois painter was awarded over $2.84 million for a heel injury he sustained during a fall accident at a school construction site. In 2003, William Theiss fell 15-feet while working on a lift that didn’t have a guardrail.

He had to undergo a number of surgeries to treat his injuries and was unable to properly do his job after the Illinois construction accident. After taking into account the issue of comparative negligence, Theiss’s award was reduced to $1.98 million.

Painter sues after falling from unfinished stairwell, The Record, August 5, 2009


Related Web Resource:
Construction Accidents Overview, Justia

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April 30, 2009

Illinois Workers’ Compensation Law Firm: More Americans Living With Paralysis than Previously Thought

Paralysis is a serious condition that can render a person unable to move parts of his or her body because he or she got injured or sustained a disease. Work injuries are leading cause of paralysis—especially among workers in the construction industry, industrial industry, trucking industry, and other industries requiring that a worker engage in intensely physical or dangerous labor.

If you became paralyzed in a work accident, there is a very good chance that you are entitled to Illinois workers’ compensation benefits. These payments should help you get the medical care that your injuries require and also provide you with some compensation while you recover.

If your paralysis injury is a permanent one that prevents you from being able to return to your job, your employer is supposed to give you proper compensation. The best way to make sure that all of your future needs are taken into consideration is to have experienced Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer working for you—because once you settle, you can't negotiate further.

Paralysis in America
It turns out that there are more Americans living with paralysis than what previous estimates indicate. The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation says 1 in 50 Americans lives with some kind of paralysis, which can be caused by SCI’s. That’s almost 6 million Americans—a much higher figure than the nearly 4 million that was previously estimated.

Spinal cord injuries, a common cause of paralysis, also occur more often than previously thought, with 1.275 million people in the country suffering from SCIs. Work injuries rank first as the leading cause of SCI’s, with traffic collisions and recreational/athletic activities coming second and third. Other conditions that cause paralysis include multiple sclerosis, post-polio syndrome, stroke, and cerebral palsy.

Living with some form of paralysis is never easy and losing your job because you can no longer work not only takes away your source of financial support but it can take away part of your identity, your family's livelihood, and irrevocably alter your life.

One in 50 Americans Lives With Paralysis, Forbes.com, April 20, 2009


Related Web Resources:
Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation

National Spinal Cord Injury Association

Continue reading "Illinois Workers’ Compensation Law Firm: More Americans Living With Paralysis than Previously Thought " »

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January 29, 2009

Steel Mill Worker who Fell off Ladder Awarded $48 Million Personal Injury Verdict

In the United States, a steel mill worker who became paralyzed to the waist down after he fell from a ladder was awarded a $48 million work injury lawsuit against a subcontractor. Anthony Arciniega sustained a spinal cord injury after he fell 17 feet in 2004.

The 42-year-old worker fell because of the refractory concrete that was covering the ladder. Arciniega’s personal injury lawsuit contends that contractor Minteq International’s negligence contributed to his catastrophic work accident. The jury also decided that the steel mill where the accident occurred should be required to pay half of the $48 million verdict.

Arciniega is now a paraplegic. During the civil trial, coworker and his doctors testified that he went back to work in a wheelchair even though he was experiencing nerve pain. Arciniega says he returned to work within six months of the accident because he needed to support his family.

If you have been injured in a work accident, you may not be able to sue your employer for personal injury, but you may have grounds to file a claim against a liable third party. You are also likely entitled to Illinois workers’ compensation benefits.

A spinal cord injury can occur when a vertebrae gets dislocated or fractured by a blow. The damage can wear into cord tissues and put pressure on certain nerves. This can lead to paralysis. Depending on the degree of paralysis, a person’s ability to move and live a normal life can be severely impaired.

According to Brain and Spinal Cord.org, some of the many effects of paralysis:

• Brain damage
• Speech problems
• Behavioral difficulties
• Blood clots
• Constipation
• Loss of bowel control
• Sexual dysfunction
• Blood sores
• Circulation problems
• Breathing problems

Paralyzed Steelworker Wins $48 Million Verdict, The Huffington Post, December 15, 2008

Signs and Symptoms of Paralysis, BrainandSpinalCord.org

Spinal Cord Injuries, MedlinePlus

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