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" »

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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" »

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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" »

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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


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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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March 17, 2011

House Votes to Audit State Employees' Illinois Workers’ Compensation Claims

In a 110-0 Vote, the Illinois House voted for a resolution to audit the Illinois Workers' Compensation program as it applies to state workers. The resolution is H.R. 131.

The audit it seeks would include a look at:
• Claims submitted by state workers over the last four years.
• The current settlement contract process.
• Control policies and fraud identification procedures.
• Conflict of interest policies.

According to a probe by the News Democrat, there are signs that certain arbitrators and state prison employees may have abused the current workers' compensation system.

Chicago Workers' Compensation
Our Chicago workers’ compensation law firm believes that it is important that injured employees receive the work injury benefits that they are owed. How else will injured workers and their families be able to afford the costs of medical bills, recovery expenses, and the time off work needed to recover? An injured worker cannot sue an employer for Chicago personal injury when the injury or illness is job-related.

Of course, we don’t condone abuse of the system. We do, however, believe it is important to make sure that our clients’ rights to receive Illinois workers’ compensation are upheld. It can be very frustrating to have one's valid claim delayed or denied.

The Law Offices of Steven J. Malman & Associates, PC represents government employees, construction workers, office workers, nurses, factory workers, industrial workers, actors, drivers, engineers, teachers, mechanics, maintenance workers, and others injured on the job. We are committed to making sure that our clients receive everything that they are owed under Illinois law.

House OKs call to audit workers' comp claims: 'We need to know what the facts are', BND, March 11, 2011

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

Workers' Compensation, Nolo


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

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 Law, September 22, 2010

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March 11, 2011

Low-Wage Workers in Chicago Face Safety Hazards on the Job, Says Survey

Arise Chicago says that many low-wage workers in the area are not given the proper training and equipment to do their jobs. This results in unhealthy work environments and preventable work injuries—a finding that greatly disturbs our Chicago workers’ compensation law firm.

Per a survey of 200 workers, conducted by the non-profit advocate for low-wage employees:

• Over 20% of low-wage workers have gotten sick or were hurt on the job.
• Over 20% had been exposed to work hazards
• Nearly 1/3rd were never properly trained
• More than 50% were unfamiliar with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration

Most of the survey participants work in restaurants, construction, maintenance, and cleaning. Almost all of them were Hispanic.

State law requires employers to provide employees with Illinois workers’ compensation for work injuries and illnesses. That said, this doesn’t mean that workers shouldn’t receive the proper training and safety equipment to do their job. They should also be allowed to work in a healthy, clean, and safe environment free that is from hazards and toxic substances.

Employees cannot sue their employer for Chicago personal injury. In many cases, their work injury benefits is all that they have to cover medical expenses and support them while they take time off work—or, in some cases involving catastrophic injuries, when they they can no longer hold a job. Workers should be apprised of their right to Illinois workers’ compensation benefits in the event of injury, illness, or death.

Our Chicago workers’ compensation lawyers are here to make sure that our clients obtain all of the work injury benefits that they are owed. Unfortunately, an employer’s insurer may try to deny, delay, or pay an injured worker less than what/she is entitled to get. We are here to make sure that our clients receive everything that they are owed.

Safety Hazards Plague Low-Wage Workers, Progress Illinois, March 10, 2011


Related Web Resources:
OSHA

Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

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February 28, 2011

Deceased Hospital Worker’s Relative Files $600K Cook County Construction Accident Lawsuit

A relative of Rajmund Zalewa is suing Pepper Construction and R.G. Construction for his Cook County wrongful death. The 26-year-old Prospect Heights hospital worker was killed last November after he was pinned by 1,400 pounds of drywall at Advocate Condell Medical Center. The Libertyville construction accident lawsuit seeks $600,000 from the defendants.

Zalewa, a member of the hospital’s housekeeping, was in an area of the building under construction when seven sheets of lead-lined drywall fell on him. Each sheet weighed 200 pounds. He was pronounced dead at the hospital less than an hour after he was discovered.

The Cook County construction accident complaint accuses the defendants of negligence for their failure to warn Zalewa about the danger of the site and for improper storage of equipment. The 12-count Cook County wrongful death complaint seeks $50,000/count.

As a hospital worker, Zalewa’s family is likely entitled to survivors’ benefits under Illinois workers’ compensation law. While he cannot sue his employer for Chicago personal injury, he can, however, seek third party compensation from the third parties that are not his employer but who may be responsible for his fatal work accident.

Illinois construction accidents can cause injury to not just construction workers, but also innocent bystanders who may get hit by falling debris or other hazards that can exist on a construction site. Often, there is likely more than one party involved on a construction job, such as the construction company, sub-contractors, engineers, architects, insurers, or the manufacturer of a machine. This means that there may be more than one party who should be held liable for your Chicago construction accident injury.

Suit blames Condell contractors for man’s death, News-Sun, February 11, 2011

Prospect Heights Worker Killed At North Suburban Hospital, CBS Local, November 18, 2010


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

Construction Accidents Overview, Justia


More Blog Posts:

$6.25 M Chicago Construction Accident Settlement for Injured Roofer, Chicago Workers' Compensation Lawyer Blog, July 14, 2010

High School Janitor Seeks Over $800,000 from Two Students for Work Injuries, Chicago Workers' Compensation Lawyer Blog, May 21, 2010

Injured Boilermaker Sues Third Parties for Personal Injuries Sustained in Illinois Work Accident, Chicago Workers' Compensation Lawyer Blog, November 30, 2009


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February 18, 2011

Workers’ Compensation Claim by Former Miami Dolphins Player is in Dispute

The Miami Dolphins are asking a federal magistrate to dismiss the workers’ compensation claim filed by Kendall Newson. The former NFL team member suffered a knee injury in 2005 during a preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The injury ended his career. The Dolphins contend that if it had to pay medical bills and benefits to Newson under Pennsylvania law, it would suffer irreparable harm.

Newson sustained the serious injury before earning a major contract. He had to spend time at a nursing home so he could recovery and he has since then tried to work at a car wash. Newson's workers’ compensation lawyer says that former football player doesn’t have any money.

The NFL team is supposed to pay work injury benefits to its football players that are similar the benefits received by other workers under Florida's workers’ compensation law. However, per the current NFL labor contract, injured players in that state have to bring their case through arbitration. The Dolphins say that the workers’ compensation claim in Pennsylvania cannot proceed if the arbitration case in Florida is to go forward. Newson’s legal team is concerned that if, as expected, the owners lock out the players next month, any pending arbitrations will likely not be resolved.

In Florida, Newson would get no more than $651/month in workers’ compensation benefits. In Pennsylvania, he would receive compensation for related medical expenses and up to $716/week.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation
In Illinois, our Chicago workers’ compensation lawyers represent workers with work injury claims against their employers. Work injuries can occur in any kind of job and, unfortunately, many workers don’t realize that they may be entitled to work injury benefits.


Pittsburgh judge mulling Dolphins injury suit, Miami Herald/AP, February 14, 2011

Federal judge asked to rule on NFL player's injury case, Post-Gazette, February 14, 2011


Related Web Resources:
Types of Workers' Compensation Benefits, Nolo

Illinois Workers' Compensation Act (PDF)


More Chicago Workers' Compensation Lawyer Blog Posts:
Some NFL Teams Questioning Retired Players’ Workers’ Compensation Rights, Chicago Workers' Compensation Lawyer Blog, April 27, 2010

Does Playing NFL Football Cause Long-Term Head Injuries?, Chicago Workers' Compensation Lawyer Blog, October 31, 2009


Continue reading "Workers’ Compensation Claim by Former Miami Dolphins Player is in Dispute" »

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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 31, 2011

Remember to File Your Illinois Workers’ Compensation Claim if You Were Injured in an Electrical Accident While on the Job

Electrical accidents can occur on the job, and you don’t have to be an electrician, telephone line worker, or cable installer to be at risk of getting hurt in accident involving electricity. For example, an office employee might experience electrical shock because of faulty wiring in the workplace.

Common causes of electrical accidents include faulty wiring, live wires, electrical fires, defective equipment and machinery, sagging power lines, water near light switches or appliances, defective wiring, damaged electrical outlets, cranes making contact with wiring that is high voltage, power installations that are unfenced, and outlets that are not properly grounded. Serious electrical injuries can include electrical burns, heart injury (including cardiac arrest and cardiac dysrhythmia, electrical shock, brain injury, spinal cord injury, fall accidents from contact with electrical energy, and death. A person who has suffered an electrical injury may find that he/she has to take time off work to recover.

What to Do if You Have Been Injured in an Electrical Accident at Work
Remember to file your Illinois workers’ compensation claim right away. It is important that you know that even if your employer was not responsible for causing your work accident, you are within your rights as an employee in this state to file and receive Illinois workers’ compensation for injuries suffered on the job. Your boss is not allowed to fire you for filing a claim and it doesn’t matter whether whose fault it was that the work accident happened. You also may have grounds for a Chicago injury lawsuit.

Related Web Resources:
Electrical Safety, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

Continue reading "Remember to File Your Illinois Workers’ Compensation Claim if You Were Injured in an Electrical Accident While on the Job" »

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January 27, 2011

If You Suffered a Slip and Fall Injury at Work, Remember to FIle Your Illinois Workers’ Compensation Claim

Illinois slip and fall accidents can happen anywhere—in your home, on the sidewalk, at a shopping mall, in a friend’s driveway, or while at work. If the slip accident occurred on someone else’s property and it could have been avoided were it not for the premise owner’s negligence, you may have grounds for a Chicago slip and fall lawsuit.

If the work injury occurred at work or while doing your job on property that is not owned by your employer, you may also be eligible to receive Chicago injury compensation for your slip accident, in addition to Illinois workers’ compensation benefits.

Common causes of slip and fall accidents at work:
• Poor lighting
• Slippery floors
• Failure to put up signs warning of slippery conditions
• Spilt foods or drink
• Debris on the premises
• Damaged carpeting
• Uneven flooring
• Snow or ice on a walkway

Although you do have to prove negligence to obtain Chicago slip and fall injury recovery, no one has to be at fault for you to receive Illinois workers’ compensation benefits for a slip and fall. As long as you weren’t behaving in an appropriate or dangerous manner or violating company policy in any way, ideally you should be able start receiving work injury compensation soon after you file your claim.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out this way. An employer or its insurer might reject your claim, which could put you in a financial bind—especially as an injured worker generally is not allowed to sue an employer over a work injury.

If this happens, don’t despair. An experience Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer can help you pursue your work injury benefits. This may mean taking your case before the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission or, if that doesn’t work, taking other legal measures to make sure you get what you are owed.

Related Web Resources:
Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

Illinois Workers' Compensation Act (PDF)

Slip and Fall Accidents, Nolo

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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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January 11, 2011

Illinois Construction Accident Kills Stonefort Worker

A 51-year-old construction worker was pronounced dead at the scene when became trapped under at least a foot of drying concrete. Zane A. Martin was working with other crew members to widen a portion of Illinois 146 when a section of the work zone collapsed. At the time, the team was installing a box culvert.

In other recent Illinois construction accident news, a worker is suing a subcontractor for his injuries. Andre S. Spencer is seeking over $50,000 in lost income, medical expenses, and court fees from Bam Contracting. Spencer was working as a cement finisher foreman for Johnson Contracting in East St. Louis last October when he says he was struck by an aluminum ladder that fell after one of the defendant’s employees left it unsecured.

Our Chicago construction accident lawyers would like to remind you that it is important to file your Illinois workers’ compensation claim with your employer as soon as possible after an injury. You also should start exploring your legal options rights away to determine whether you have grounds for an Illinois construction accident case against third parties who were involved in the incident.

Elsewhere in the US, a 52-year-old worker was killed in a construction accident at a demolition site when part of a concrete wall fell on him. At the time, William Abst was cutting rebar. Another worker, 61-year-old carpenter Joe Pike, died from injuries he sustained in a fall accident at a Harding University construction accident site. Pike was helping prepare a building for a heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning system when he dropped from the roof to the second floor.

Stonefort man victim in fatal construction accident, The Southern, December 22, 2010

Arkansas carpenter dies after accident at Harding University construction site, KSPR, January 7, 2011

Fountain City man killed in construction accident, PierceCountyHerald, January 5, 2011

Worker struck by ladder sues Bam Contracting, Madison Record, January 5, 2011

Alexander County, Illinois coroner identifies construction accident victim, WPSDLocal6, December 21, 2010


Related Web Resources:
Construction Accidents Overview, Justia

US Department of Labor

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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 " »

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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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December 7, 2010

Cook County Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Boeing Seeks Damages for Death of United Airlines Ramp Serviceman in Kuwait

The widow of John Bruce is suing Boeing Inc. and two other companies for his wrongful death. The Arlington Heights man, who was a United Airlines ramp serviceman, died last year during a fall accident while on the job at the Kuwait International Airport.

At the time of the work accident, Bruce was on a mobile belt loader and unloading cargo from a Boeing 747 for the US military. Bruce’s widow contends that the loader’s operator moved the belt without warning, which caused her husband to drop over 10 feet to the tarmac. He sustained serious brain injuries and died several days later.

In her Cook County wrongful death complaint, Cleopatra is accusing Boeing and manufacturer NMC-Wollard Inc. of allegedly failing to provide her husband with protective equipment. The Illinois civil lawsuit also accuses US governor CAV International Inc. of employing the loader operator, who was allegedly distracted and conversing with others when the work accident happened. Bruce’s widow is accusing CAV International of failing to adequately supervise and train its employees.

According to the family’s Chicago wrongful death lawyer, there are documents that show that Boeing and NMC/Wollard did not implement any fall protections that could have prevented Bruce’s fatal accident from happening. While CAV has cited a lack of jurisdiction as reason for not turning over information, the Bruce’s family’s attorney says that the companies, which are US companies, are subject to US laws.

Third Party Lawsuits
Although workers injured on the job generally cannot sue an employer, who will likely owe them Illinois workers’ compensation, third party Illinois injury claims and wrongful death lawsuits can be brought against others who may have contributed to causing the work injury or death. The sooner you file your work injury claim and explore your legal options the better.

Widow of Arlington Heights man files wrongful-death lawsuit against Boeing, Chicago Tribune, Boeing, December 6, 2010

Arlington Heights family sues over death in Kuwait, The Daily Herald, December 6, 2010


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

The Boeing Company

NMC-Wollard Inc.

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November 24, 2010

Illinois Workers’ Compensation: Fingertip Injury Warrants Permanent Partial Disability Award

The Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission says that a journeyman ironworker’s fingertip injury merits a 20% permanent partial disability award for loss of use (rather than 35%). Finger pain, high sensitivity in the injured area, and the sensation of coldness are among the evidence to sufficiently support the award.

The ironworker got hurt while working as a ground man. At the time, he was working with a crane and a group of other workers to raise 100-pound joists. The tip of the claimant's left finger was ripped off when a coworker pushed one of the joists that he was aligning. Per medical records, the ironworker suffered a 4-centimeter fingertip laceration.

After returning to work while having limited use of his left hand, the claimant continued to experience pain inside his fingertip. He says that he hasn’t received medical care for his injury since after the work accident and that whenever his finger hits against an object he feels pain. The claimant said that his doctor “talked him out" of seeing a hand surgeon.

Permanent Partial Disability (PPD)
Permanent partial disability refers to the partial or complete loss or loss of use of a body part or the entire body as a whole. “Loss of use” refers to the worker’s inability to do certain tasks that he/she would have been able to prior to sustaining the work injury. PPD benefits are Illinois workers' compensation benefits that are paid to a worker after it becomes clear that his/her disability will not get better.

Ironworker secures PPD benefits for fingertip injury, Risk and Insurance, January 22, 2010

Continue reading "Illinois Workers’ Compensation: Fingertip Injury Warrants Permanent Partial Disability Award " »

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November 12, 2010

Totally Disabled Worker Sues State for Illinois Workers' Compensation Benefits

In Cook County Court, Regina Johnson has filed a class action Illinois workers' compensation complaint against the state. Johnson, a worker who became totally disabled because of a work injury, claims that the state used an illegal “peremptory edict” to unfairly suspend cost of living increases despite promising beneficiaries payments for life from Illinois' Rate Adjustment Fund (RAF).

Johnson sustained her work-related injury in 2009. In 1992, the Illinois Industrial Commission determined that she was “wholly and permanently disabled” and should always receive $184.54/week. She started receiving the additional rate adjustment payments in 1993. Johnson then settled her Illinois disability claim with her employer in 2001. Per the agreement reached, the Illinois State Treasurer promised to keep paying her the rate adjustment benefits.

Johnson says she kept receiving the rate adjustment payments through May 2010 when the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission sent her a letter telling her that the additional benefits were suspended. In her Illinois workers’ compensation lawsuit, she is accusing the IWCC of creating an administrative rule that terminated/suspended the RAF benefits of all persons who received an award for permanent total disability or death and settled for a lump sum.

Johnson is calling for the retroactive reinstatement of her benefits and is demanding an injunction. She says that the Commission was not in compliance with the rulemaking procedure, not all commission members were consulted, and the commission failed to give 45 days public notice, hold hearings, or obtained comments.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation
Workers injured on the job are likely entitled to work injury benefits from their employer. Many workers don’t even file a work injury claim. It is important that you file yours as soon as possible. In addition to coverage of medical expenses for your work-related injury, depending on your injuries you may be entitled to temporary total disability benefits, permanent partial disability benefits, or permanent total disability benefits. Loved ones that have lost a family member in a work accident may be entitled to survivors benefits.

Illinois’ Rate Adjustment Fund
The RAF was established in 1975 to cover cost-of-living increases for workers who have become totally and permanently disabled because of a work injury or for the survivors of an injured or sick worker that died.

Disabled Sue Illinois for Benefits, Courthouse News, November 12, 2010

Rate Adjustment Fund, Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission


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

Types of Workers' Compensation Benefits, Nolo

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November 5, 2010

Recent Construction Accidents Lead to Fatalities

There have been at least three construction accident deaths in the US this week. To our Chicago construction accident law firm, these tragic incidents are a harsh reminder of the dangers that can arise from working at a construction job, as well as of the importance of exploring your legal options against potentially liable third parties. Also, the sooner you file your Illinois workers’ compensation claim, the better.

On Monday, construction worker Dirk Vamoorot died at a job site when a large concrete barrier fell off another barrier and landed on him. Vamoorot was 65.

In an unrelated construction accident, another worker died at a work site when a concrete slab landed on him during a trench collapse. Another worker who was also involved in the construction accident sustained minor injuries.

Also this week, a roofing company executive died when the roof he was standing on collapsed at a school construction site. Kevin J. Sensenig, the vice president of f R.L. Sensenig Co., had gone onto the roof so that he could better demonstrate to his workers what needed to be done. Unfortunately the roof collapsed and Sensenig, who was not using a safety harness, plunged some 50 feet before landing on the concrete. Another worker, who got caught in the rubble, sustained minor injuries.

Illinois Construction Accidents
Determining who is at fault in causing a Chicago construction accident can be tough—especially when there are multiple parties involved with the project. Owners, contractors, engineers, subcontractors, managers, product manufacturers, and others may be liable for your Cook County, Illinois construction accident injuries.


Man killed in roof collapse at Hill School, The Philadelphia Inquirer, November 2, 2010

Man killed in trench by concrete slab, Connecticut Post, November 1, 2010

Valley Center man dies in construction accident, Sign on San Diego, November 1, 2010


Related Web Resources:
Construction Accidents, Chicago Workers Compensation Lawyer Blog

Construction Accidents, Chicago Injury Attorney Blog

Illinois Workers' Compensation Act
(PDF)

Continue reading "Recent Construction Accidents Lead to Fatalities" »

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October 29, 2010

Family of Cop Sues City for Workers’ Compensation

Although employees and their families usually cannot sue an employer for personal injury, this recent civil case is an example of why it is so important that you explore your legal options even if you are told that you are not entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. There may be other ways to obtain all the work injury recovery that you are owed.

In Alabama, the family of Cpl. David Brown is suing the city of Montgomery for is work injury benefits. Brown was critically injured on September 11 while escorting a funeral procession. Following the motorcycle accident, the ambulance that was transporting him turned over on an interstate ramp.

While the city says that it does not owe workers’ compensation to Brown, because he was off-duty at the time and under contract with the funeral parlor, his family contends in their civil lawsuit that the cop had received the police department’s permission to do this job and was even riding a police motorcycle when the collision occured. His family wants the city to declare that his brother was on-duty when the work accident happened.

Brown, who was recently placed on a ventilator after developing pneumonia, is now on medical disability retirement and will receive retirement benefits for life. Additional leave time and other available benefits are also being extended to him.

Chicago, Illinois Workers’ Compensation
Do not take no for an answer merely because your employer’s insurer has denied you your work injury benefits. There are legal remedies to help you obtain the Illinois workers’ compensation that you are owed.

Cpl. Brown's Family Sues City for Worker's Comp., WNFCTV

Update: Montgomery mayor says twice-injured Cpl. David Brown can't get worker's comp, AL/Associated Press, October 28, 2010


Related Web Resources:
Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

Workers' Compensation, Nolo

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October 20, 2010

As Workers’ Compensation Costs Go Up, Frequency Claims Go Down

According to an NCCI Holdings Inc. research brief, last year, indemnity and medical severity for workers’ compensation claims continued to go up while the frequency of these types of claims continued to drop. The downward trend in frequency claims is expected to continue through 2010.

NCCI says that better safety practices, robotics use, and a workforce that is getting older have played parts in the ongoing frequency decline. The company noted that complex claims, including those involving lower-back issues and carpel tunnel syndrome, has gone down over the last five years.

That said, the drop in frequency has been partially offset by rising claim costs. Last year, average indemnity costs went up about 4.5% even though there was a decrease in average weekly wages. Also in 2009, average medical costs for workers’ compensation claims went up 5%. NCCI says this is the lowest increase in the last 15 years.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation
As an employee working in Illinois, your employer likely offers you workers’ compensation benefits for in the event that you are injured, get sick, or die in a work-related accident. Unfortunately, many injured workers never even file a work injury claim or, if they do, they agree to receive far less than what they should get paid.

Employers and insurance companies are not going twist your arm to get you to push for the maximum work injury benefits possible. This is why it is so important that you are represented by a Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer who can advocate on your behalf.

Workers compensation costs rise as claims frequency drops: NCCI, Business Insurance, October 18, 2010

NCCI Holdings


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

Continue reading "As Workers’ Compensation Costs Go Up, Frequency Claims Go Down" »

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October 15, 2010

Carpenter Injured in Chicago Construction Accident Awarded $1.477 Million

A jury has awarded carpenter James Conwell $1.477 million for his Chicago construction accident injuries. Conwell, 51, was injured when he fell off an inadequate ladder at a Cook County construction site. At the time that the ladder collapsed, he was carrying one end of a 100- to 120-pound beam that he was supposed to use as a doorway header. The beam struck him on the back of his neck and head and he sustained serious and permanent injuries. He continues to suffer from neck pain, aura migraines, severe hyperacusis in the right ear, and tinnitus.

According to the Chicago construction accident complaint, James McHugh Construction Company knew that subcontractors at the site were using ladders that were not adequate for the job yet did not take them away until after Conwell’s injury accident. The lawsuit is also accusing the construction company of failing to abide by its own safety rules and procedures.

The Cook County jury found that McHugh did not comply with OSHA and ANSI regulations, neglected to reasonably expect the premise to ensure safety compliance, and did not provide Conwell with appropriate equipment.

At the time of the Chicago work accident, Conwell was an employee of Kole Construction, which was a subcontractor on this job.

Construction accidents can be catastrophic. If you are hurt in a construction accident, it is important that you file your Illinois workers’ compensation claim immediately. Unfortunately, receiving the maximum work injury benefits that you are owed isn’t a guarantee—although it should be. Disputes have been known to arise, which can deprive an injured employee of the resources he/she needs to recover and get on with life. An experienced Chicago workers’ compensation law firm can help you with this.

You also may have Chicago injury lawsuits that you can file against liable parties that are not your employer.

$1.477 Million Verdict Rendered in Construction Site Accident, EarthTimes, October 15, 2010

Construction Safety, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

Occupational Safety & Health Administration

American National Standards Institute

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September 30, 2010

Workers’ Compensation: Court Says Man’s Hernia is a Work-Related Injury

The highest court in Wyoming says that James L. Bell is entitled to medical benefits for a hernia he developed as a result of a work injury. The court’s ruling reverses a district court’s ruling that reversed the order made by the Office of Administrative Hearings.

Bell sustained a hernia when the spinal cord stimulator that he was using for the chronic back pain he suffered from another work injury malfunctioned and shocked him. This caused him to get up fast, fall, and develop an inguinal hernia.

The spinal cord stimulator had been implanted in Bell to treat his pain after he hurt his neck, shoulder, right leg, and back from slipping on a drain cover while at work in June 1993. He was awarded permanent total disability benefits for his work injury and continues to receive workers’ compensation benefits for his chronic pain. Aside from the spinal cord stimulator—Bell received one in 2000 and another one in 2006—he has been taking pain medications.

After the hernia was diagnosed, Bell underwent surgery in 2007. Unfortunately, payment for the medical care required to treat his hernia was denied on the grounds that it wasn’t related to his 1993 back injury. Bell contested the decision by claiming that his hernia was causally related to the original work injury from 1993. He noted that he was injured in a fall accident because of the faulty electrical stimulator, which he used because of the back pain he experiences as a result of the first injury.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation
Do not give up if your workers’ compensation claim has been denied. Under Illinois workers’ compensation law, workers injured while on the job are entitled to work injury benefits from their employer. Unfortunately, your employer’s insurer can try to deny or delay benefits, which is why it is a good idea to get legal help.

Wyo. SC rules man's hernia a work-related injury, Legal Newsline, October 1, 2010

Read the Decision


Related Web Resources:

Illinois Workers' Compensation Act (PDF)

Workers' Compensation Benefits, Nolo

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September 26, 2010

Injured Special Ed TA to Receive $30,000 from School District in Addition to Illinois Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Kimberly Stapinski, a special education teacher's assistant who was injured when she fell during gym class has settled her civil lawsuit with the Plainfield School District for $30,000. The settlement is separate from the benefits she has received for Illinois workers’ compensation.

Stapinski was working at an elementary school when the Will County, Illinois fall accident happened on April 16, 2006. She injured her back and neck (court records indicate that she sustained two herniated intervertebral cervical discs). Stapinski was later fired from her job.

While the district has said the TA was let go from her job because she did not return to work and failed to offer documentation explaining her continued absence, Stapinski’s attorney argued that his client had medical excuses from two doctors and there was no legitimate reason for why she was fired. Stapinski filed a complaint claiming the school district had let her go as retaliation for getting hurt on the job and for submitting an Illinois workers’ compensation claim.

Before Stapinski underwent surgery, the district asked that a physician of their choosing conduct an independent medical evaluation. That doctor, Chicago orthopedic surgeon Charles Mercier, certified that her medical condition and pain were not work-related and that she should go back to work. However, Stapinski was not told of Mercier’s findings until the school district recommended that she be fired.

Stapinski had sought at least $50,000 for embarrassment, emotional suffering, inconvenience, humiliation, lost wages, employment benefits, compensatory benefits, and legal fees.

Illinois Workers' Compensation
Under Illinois workers' compensation law, employees injured on the job are entitled to work injury benefits. Their employers are not supposed to retaliate against them for seeking compensation for a work injury or illness.

District pays aide $30,000 in injury dispute settlement, Plainfield Sun, September 20, 2010

Illinois Workers' Compensation Act (PDF)


Related Web Resource:
Are You Eligible for Workers' Compensation Benefits?, Nolo

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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 16, 2010

Filing of Illinois Workers’ Compensation Claim Led to His Firing, Says Worker

Ricky Koehler, a Clinton County man, says his employer let him go from his job because he submitted an Illinois workers’ compensation claim. He is now suing Kehrer Brothers Construction and Kehrer Brothers West Roofing for an unspecified judgment and punitive damages.

According to Koehler, he injured his left hand and wrist as a result of his job. He asked for an application for an adjustment of his work injury claim on June 6, 2008.

Koehler says that upon his return to work, a Kehrer officer suggested that he fire the workers’ compensation attorney representing him. Koehler contends that after he refused to let his lawyer go, his employer told him that there was no work available and fired him.

Koehler says that the company’s refusal to give him work was retaliation against him for exercising his rights under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. He claims that because a Kehrer officer told other people in the industry not to hire him, he hasn’t been able to find work.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act
Under state law, injured workers are entitled to all necessary medical care required to treat their work-related injury, illness, or disease. Employers are generally required to carry Illinois workers’ compensation coverage and they are not allowed to retaliate against or harass an employee for availing of his work injury benefits.

In an ideal world, an injured worker would file his Chicago, Illinois workers’ compensation claim and receive all of the benefits that he/she is owed in a timely manner. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. The employer’s insurer may delay payments or even reject the claim outright. This can be very frustrating for the injured worker, who will likely have incurred medical expenses, taken time off work, or may be to sick or ill to resume working. You need an experienced Illinois workers’ compensation law firm representing you.

Injured worker claims he was discharged for filing work comp claim, The Record, September 16, 2010


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

Types of Workers' Compensation, Nolo

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September 10, 2010

Illinois Workers’ Compensation Medical Costs Slowed in Growth After Implementation of Medical Fee Schedule

According to the Workers Compensation Research Institute, the growth in medical costs per Illinois workers’ compensation claim slowed in 2007 after the medical fee schedule was implemented the year before. This and other findings are reported on in a study called Monitoring the Impact of Illinois Regulatory Changes: CompScope Medical Benchmarks, 10th Edition.

Per the study, medical costs’ growth decelerated to 5% after a 12% average yearly growth during the three previous years. The regulations’ effect on hospital and nonhospital providers was a likely factor in the slowed rate. Even though the diagnosis-related group (DRG) based fee schedule that the state implemented was significantly higher than the schedule of many other states with similar regulations, the growth in hospital inpatient payments per episode slowed during the first post-fee schedule.

Prior to the 2006 and 2009 regulations, hospital payments per Illinois workers’ compensation claims were among the highest of the study. In 2007, these prices continued to be 65% higher than the median of 25 study states.

Among the states studied in 2007 and 2008, Illinois had higher utilization of medical services from nonhospital providers. Occupational/physical therapists treated injured workers during about 20 visits/claim—compared to the approximately 16 visits/claim experienced in the typical study state. Physicians in Illinois were treating injured workers during approximately 15 visits per claim—compared to the median study state, where doctors treated injured workers during approximately 10 visits.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation
As someone who was injured on the job, you are likely entitled to Illinois workers’ compensation, which should include medical care and, depending on the specifics of your work injury or illness case, temporary total disability benefits, permanent partial disability benefits, or permanent total disability benefits. In some cases, agreeing to a work injury settlement can be to your benefit.

Fee Schedule Slowed Growth of Illinois Injured Workers' Medical Costs, Insurance Journal, September 3, 2010


Related Web Resources:
Workers Compensation Research Institute

Illinois Workers' Compensation Act (PDF)

Continue reading "Illinois Workers’ Compensation Medical Costs Slowed in Growth After Implementation of Medical Fee Schedule" »

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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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September 2, 2010

About 564 Work-Related Homicides Occur Yearly, Reports US Labor Department

According to the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 2004 and 2008 there were an average 564 work-related homicides taking place in this country each year. Among the 2008 statistics:

• 99% of the 421 workplace shootings that happened were in retail trade.
• 10% of all fatal work injuries were workplace homicides.
• 4 out of every 5 homicide victims were male.
• 72% of assailants for men and 51% of assailants for women were robbers and other assailants.
• Personal acquaintances and relatives comprised 28% of assailants for women and 4% for men.
• There were 30-near-multiple workplace homicide incidents involving 7 suicides and 67 homicides.
• 80% of homicides (421 fatalities) involved shootings.
• 12% of shooters were ex- and current coworkers.
• 40% were robbers.
• 48% of shootings occurred in public buildings.
• 86% of shootings took place in the private sector.
• 14% took place in government.
• 26% of shooting decedents were involved in sales and related occupations.

Chicago, Illinois Workers Compensation
Our Chicago workers’ compensation law firm represents clients injured or those whose loved ones died from work-related accidents, illnesses, or crimes. Employees and their families cannot sue their employers, but they can avail of the work injury benefits that they are owed under state law. It doesn’t matter whether anyone was at fault.

Unfortunately, some insurers will try to dispute your claim. Or, you may receive less benefits than what you are actually owed. It is important that you have good Chicago, Illinois workers’ compensation legal representation.

Workplace Shootings, US Department of Labor


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

Illinois Department of Labor

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August 28, 2010

Illinois Grain Bin Accident Kills Worker

A 49-year-old grain bin worker was killed on Friday during an Illinois work accident at the Hillsdale Grain Elevator in Geneseo. Henry County Coroner David Johnson says that he believes that Raymond Nowland died from asphyxiation. An autopsy will be conducted to verify his cause of death.

The deadly Illinois work accident happened at around 3pm as Nowland was removing wet corn from inside the bin. The corn collapsed on the worker and covered him.

Rescuers in grain removal trucks and with their equipment were unable to rescue Nowland in time. OSHA is going to investigate whether proper safety precautions had been put in place and whether the deadly Illinois work accident could have been prevented.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation
Our Illinois workers’ compensation law firm wants to remind you that if your family member was killed in an Illinois work accident, you should file your claim for survivors’ benefits as soon as possible. An experienced Illinois workers’ compensation lawyer can make sure you receive the maximum that you are owed.

Some reasons why grain bins are a suffocation hazard:
• New grain bins tend to be large in size, as are grain handling rates
• Often, grain bin workers work solo when moving or monitoring grain
• A worker may start grain transfer without realizing there is a co-worker in the bin
• Inadequate rescue response plan
• Inadequate safety measures

It doesn’t matter whether anyone was at fault in causing an Illinois grain bin accident. Employers should provide their employees with Illinois workers’ compensation for their work-related injuries or illness. Family members of a worker killed because of his/her job should get survivors' benefits.

Worker dies in Geneseo grain elevator accident, WQAD, August 27, 2010

Suffocation Hazard in Grain Bins, University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture (PDF)


Related Web Resources:

OSHA

OSHA Lambasts Grain Companies for Workplace Deaths and Injuries, FairWarning, August 5, 2010

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August 26, 2010

Illinois Construction Accident Injures Worker

A sustained serious injuries during an Illinois construction accident while working with a bucket truck at a grain bin on Wednesday. The man was flown to the hospital for treatment of his leg and head injuries.

In other recent Illinois construction accident news, a highway construction worker was killed when he was hit by a dump truck that backed over him in Rushville on Tuesday on US 24. The worker that died, 24-year-old Thomas Acker, worked with the Schuyler County Highway Department.

Chicago Construction Accidents
There are safety measures that must be in place in order to decrease the risk of injury or death from a construction accident. Construction work can be dangerous work to begin with, which is why carelessness is not an option when it comes to keeping workers safe.

That said, regardless of whether anyone was at fault in causing a construction accident, most workers are entitled to Chicago workers’ compensation for their work injuries, illness, or the death of a loved one on the job. Injury victims and their families may also be entitled to damages from liable third parties, which is an issue that an experienced Chicago construction accident law firm can help you determine and pursue.

Cook County construction accident lawsuits have been successfully won against construction companies, sub-contractors, engineers, architects, building designers, equipment manufacturers, insurer companies, and others. With so many parties potentially involved, determining who is liable can be a complex process. The sooner you retain the services of a good Chicago construction accident law firm, the easier it will be to figure out what happened and who caused it.

Construction accident seriously injures worker in Nokomis, Illinois, KMOV, August 25, 2010

Illinois man dies in highway work accident, Hannibal Courier Post, August 24, 2010

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August 25, 2010

OSHA Fines SeaWorld in Trainer’s Drowning Death from Killer Whale Attack

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has fined SeaWorld $75,000 following the death of a trainer who was mauled by one of its killer whales. Federal workplace safety officials say that the sea park committed a “willful” violation when it exposed trainers in a manner that could allow the animals to strike or drown them. OSHA also contends that SeaWorld has shown “plain indifference” or “intentional disregard” when it comes to employee safety and failed to “make meaningful changes” to improve such deficiencies.

Trainer Dawn Brancheau was killed last February when a 12,000-pound killer whale pulled her into the water and drowned her at the SeaWorld in Orlando. Dozens of tourists, some of them were attending the "Dine with Shamu" show at the time, witnessed the tragic accident.

Since Brancheau’s death, trainers are no longer allowed in the tanks with orcas.

According WESH.com, Brancheau’s husband Scott Brancheau has hired a wrongful death lawyer. It is not known at this time whether he intends to sue SeaWorld or another party.

Generally, employees and their families are usually entitled to workers’ compensation or survivors’ benefits and cannot sue an employer for personal injury or wrongful death. However, Florida law has a narrow exception that allows an employee to file a civil suit against an employer if the latter knew without a doubt that the worker was at risk of injury or death.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation
Filing a Chicago workers’ compensation claim or a third party injury lawsuit can be a confusing process unless you have an Illinois workers’ compensation law firm working to ensure that you receive all that you are owed. Getting hurt or losing someone you love in a work accident is an unfortunate occurrence and there is no reason that you should incur additional financial losses when other parties should be held liable.

Husband Of Killed SeaWorld Trainer Hires Lawyer, WESH, August 25, 2010

Feds cite SeaWorld in trainer's death, SignonSanDiego, August 23, 2010

SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau dies in killer-whale attack in Orlando, Palm Beach Post, February 25, 2010


Related Web Resources:
SeaWorld

OSHA

SeaWorld Trainer Dies in Fatal Killer Whale Attack, ChicagoWorkersCompensationLawyersBlog, February 25, 2010

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August 19, 2010

With Unemployment Hitting a Record High, the Number of US Workplace Deaths Dropped 17% in 2009

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, US workplace deaths dropped 17% last year to hit a record low –largely in part to the decline in construction deaths and as unemployment rates reached their highest level in 25 years.

Across industries, there were 4,340 worker fatalities last year, down from the 5,214 worker deaths in 2008. Also, construction worker deaths among private construction companies went down 16%.

More US Worker Fatality Statistics:
• Workplace fatalities among blacks went down from 533 in 2008 to 407 last year.
• Deaths involving white workers went down 16% to 3,059.
• The number of homicides at work declined by 1% to 521 fatalities—80% of the deaths involved shootings.
• Workplace suicides dropped 9.9% to 237 deaths.
• Transportation accidents were once again the number one cause of worker deaths—20% took place on highways.
• Agriculture, fishing, forestry, and hunting deaths dropped from 672 in 2008 to 551 worker deaths last year.
• There were 278 crop production-related deaths last year.

The biggest workers’ compensation insurers last year in terms of policy sales were Liberty Mutual Group Inc., Travelers Cos., National Association of Insurance Commissioners, American International Group Inc., and Hartford Financial Services Group Inc.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation
Who was at fault should not be a factor when it comes to receiving Illinois workers’ compensation benefits. Under state law, workers injured on the job are entitled to work injury benefits from their employer’s insurer. It is unfortunate that sometimes disputes arise over whether or not these benefits are warranted. Our Chicago, Illinois workers’ compensation lawyers are here to fight for our clients so that they can receive the benefits owed to them.

Worker Fatalities Fall 17% on Decline in Construction Deaths, Bloomberg, August 19,2 2010

Bureau of Labor Statistics, US Department of Labor


Related Web Resources:
Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

Illinois Department of Labor

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August 18, 2010

lllinois Popcorn Lung Lawsuit: Jury Awards Disabled Worker $30 Million Against BASF Corp.

A jury has awarded $30.4 million to an Illinois worker that says he became disabled after he was exposed to the buttering flavor ingredient diacetyl while on the job. Gerardo Solis developed bronchiolitis obliterans, a disease also known as popcorn lung, after working at a Flavorchem Corp. plant between 1998 and 2006.

The defendant of this Chicago injury lawsuit is BASF Corp., the largest chemical company in the world and a supplier of diacetyl. It is expected that in the next 10 years, Solis, who now has 25% normal lung capacity, will have to undergo a lung transplant.

Popcorn Lung
The only cure for Popcorn lung is a transplant. The disease can inflame the small airways in the lungs, leading to scarring while eliminating air flow. It can also cause fatalities.

Popcorn plant workers are among those at risk of suffering from this condition. The National Institute on Occupational Safety and Health discovered the connection between popcorn factory workers and bronchiolitis obliterans in 2003 and 2004. Hundreds of workers have been affected, and a number have filed civil suits.

One worker was awarded $20 million. Other ex-Jasper Popcorn Co. plant workers were also awarded injury compensation, including two $15 million popcorn lung awards and a $2.7 million award. Butter flavoring suppliers International Flavors & Fragrances Inc. and Bush Boake Allen Inc. were the defendants.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation and Third Party Lawsuits
Remember that as an injured employee, not only are you likely entitled to Illinois workers’ compensation from your employer but there also may be liable third parties that you should receive Illinois personal injury compensation or wrongful death recovery from.

llinois worker wins $30 million verdict in diacetyl popcorn chemical lawsuit, The Joplin Globe, August 16, 2010


Jury Awards Popcorn Lung Victim $30 Million
, NewsInferno, August 17, 2010


Related Web Resources:

Popcorn May Cause Lung Disease, ABC News, September 6, 2007

Preventing Lung Disease in Workers Who Use or Make Flavorings, NIOSH

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August 11, 2010

Many Ex-Blockson Chemical Employees Still Haven’t Received Worker Compensation for Radiation Exposure at Joliet, Illinois Chemical Plant

Fifty years after they were exposed to radiation while working as a Blockson Chemical employee in Joliet, Illinois, many of the former workers and their survivors have yet to receive payment from the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program. The fund that was created to compensate those who, without adequate protection, were exposed to high levels of radiation while on the job.

Fund recipients are supposed to $150,000 plus medical benefits. If the afflicted worker is no longer alive, then their surviving family members are entitled to get compensation.

Blockson employees that are eligible to get work injury compensation from this fund developed cancer because they helped construct atomic weapons between March 1951 and June 1960. Yet Department of Labor statistics reveal that of the 363 claims filed by former Blockson workers and relatives, only 102 have been paid. Many have not even been apprised of the status of their claims. Also, of 5,170 claims filed by former employees from 29 eligible Illinois facilities, the fund has paid only 1,250 of them.

Hopefully, this situation will soon change. Federal officials are expected to rule on a special petition filed on behalf of the former employees and surviving family members. The petition seeks to eliminate the requirement that a claimant must prove that his/her cancer was caused by the radiation. A claim would still, however, have to provide a physician’s verification that the former worker was afflicted with one of several kinds of cancer.

It can be devastating to find out that you now have a life-threatening illness or disease because of the hazards that you were exposed to at work.

Former Joliet chemical workers wait for radiation funds, Chicago Breaking News, August 2, 2010

Facilities Eligible for Funds, Chicago Tribune

Related Web Resources:
Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program

Continue reading "Many Ex-Blockson Chemical Employees Still Haven’t Received Worker Compensation for Radiation Exposure at Joliet, Illinois Chemical Plant" »

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August 7, 2010

Construction Accident Kills Worker Buried in Blast

A 48-year-old construction worker has died from injuries he sustained during a blast at a condominium work site. The fire marshal is not yet sure what caused the explosion that claimed William Nichols’ life. However, construction work taking place in the basement that caused propane to release rapidly may have been a factor. It took firefighters about 90 minutes to pull Nichols from under burning debris.

Also injured in the construction accident were 72-year-old David Bethel and 43-year-old Robert Dena. Both men, along with Nichols, work for Deno Electric. 17-year-old Thomas DiPlacido sustained burn injuries. Two firefighters and another worker were treated for their injuries and later released.

In other recent construction accident news, two workers were injured earlier this week when they fell into a 10-foot ditch. They were in stable condition when they were transported from the work site to the hospital.

On Tuesday, the collapse of 16 trusses at a work site injured a 46-year-old construction worker. Greg Murphy sustained head injuries after he fell 25 feet and struck his head. Another worker, 29-year-old Jared J. Morisset, hurt his left ankle. 35-year-old Jeff W. Spanhanks hurt his left hip.

On Wednesday, a teen worker was killed in a construction accident when a high wind that could have been moving at a force of 47 mph blew over a concrete wall that had recently been built. Keith J. LaFountain died from blunt-force trauma injuries.

Chicago, Illinois Construction Accidents
Remember to file your Chicago workers’ compensation claim as soon as possible. Or, if your loved one was the one who died in a Chicago construction accident, you should submit your claim for survivors’ benefits and find out if you are entitled to file a third party Chicago wrongful death lawsuit.

Blackstone Man Killed in Condo Blast, Telegram, July 30, 2010

Man injured in Menomonie construction accident, Leader-Telegram, August 4, 2010

2 Workers Hurt In Esparto Construction Accident, CW, August 3, 2010

Edgerton school's wall falls, kills teen worker, ToledoBlade, August 5, 2010

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August 5, 2010

Illinois Workers’ Compensation Claims Sent Village of Oak Park Almost $1M Over Budget

According to WednesdayJournalOnline.com, the Village of Oak Park went over its budget by almost $1 million in 2009 to settle Illinois workers’ compensation and personal injury claims on public property. Oak Park paid $857,137 for 15 separate claims, which was twice the $350,000 it had anticipated paying.

Oak Park chief financial officer Craig Lesner says that workers’ compensation payouts for time off taken by injured employees is the number one reason the village has gone above budget. The second biggest reason for going over budget is the $412,241 paid for Illinois premises liability claims, including Oak Park trip and fall accidents on public sidewalks. The village is attempting to come up with ways to decrease the number of work injury incidents and slip and fall accidents in the future, which will hopefully cut costs.

In Illinois, not only do injured workers get paid while they take time off work to recover, but they can also seek to receive an Illinois workers’ compensation settlement after they go back to work. Unfortunately, insurers can sometimes make it difficult for injured workers to receive all of the work injury benefits that they are owed. There are also workers who make the mistake of not filing their Illinois workers’ compensation claim or waiting until much later to do so.

Remember, you cannot sue your employer for Chicago personal injury, but you are likely entitled to Chicago workers’ compensation, which should cover your medical expenses and pay you an income. The amount that you are entitled to get will, of course, depend on the specifics of your case and Illinois workers’ compensation rates.

Oak Park over budget by nearly $1 million on workers comp, settlements, Wednesday Journal Online, August 3, 2010

Benefits Rates, Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission


Related Web Resources:
Village of Oak Park, Illinois

Workers' Compensation, Nolo

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July 31, 2010

Female Trucker Injures Legs During Illinois Work Accident

A female trucker sustained serious leg injuries when 1000 pounds in steel fuel pipes fell on her. The Illinois work accident took place on July 23 at the Barnes Pipe and Steel Co. At the time, she was helping unload them from the truck.

One of the her legs was crushed during the work accident. The other leg sustained serious injuries. It took rescue workers about 45 minutes to get her out. She was flown to the hospital.

Truck Driver Injuries
Driving a commercial truck is arduous, physical work. The hours spent behind the steering wheel can lead to back and neck injuries. There are also the injuries a trucker can suffer when involved in a Chicago truck accident. Poor diet, lack of sleep, the stress of having to meet delivery deadlines, lack of exercise, having to stay in a seated position for hours at a time, body clocks that must cater to the rhythms of the job, and driver fatigue, increase the chances of illness and injury. Musculoskeletal disorders, chronic illnesses, carpal tunnel syndrome, and upper extremity injuries have been known to happen.

With their heavy cargo, truckers also risk injuries when loading and unloading their trucks. Slip and fall accidents and trip and fall accidents are not uncommon. Truck drivers also risk exposure to the hazardous substances they are carrying in the event that a Chicago truck collision triggers a cargo leak.

It is important that you file your Illinois workers' compensation claim as soon as possible.

Woman injured by falling steel pipes at industrial site in Dupo, BND, July 24, 2010

Commercial Truck Driver Health and Safety- Preventing Injury and Illness, NIH.gov

Related Web Resources:
Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries Summary, 2008, Bureau of Labor Statistics

Long Haul Truck Drivers at Risk of Suffering from Upper Extremity Injuries and Back Pain, ChicagoWorkersCompensationLawyer, July 1, 2010

Continue reading " Female Trucker Injures Legs During Illinois Work Accident" »

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July 30, 2010

Mount Carroll Illinois Work Accident Deaths in Grain Bin Were Preventable, Says OSHA

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, an Illinois grain bin accident that killed two teenagers and injured a third was preventable. The teens that died are 14-year-old Wyatt Whitebread and 19-year-old Alejandro Pacas. A third worker, 20-year-old William Piper, is at a Rockford hospital.

The Illinois work accident happened on Wednesday morning in a bin belonging to Haasbach LLC. Rescuers had to cut holes in the bin’s sides and drain thousands of pounds of corn to retrieve the victims. The rescue operation took about 12 hours and more than 2 dozen firefighters.

According to a preliminary investigation, the three workers were not using safety harnesses or life lines at the time of the incident. Also, at age 14, Wyatt was under the legal age limit allowed for who can work in a grain bin.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation
Although employers are supposed to follow regulations and do what is necessary to keep workers safe, this isn’t always the case and even when it is, work accidents can happen. OSHA statistics report that from 1998 to 2008 there were 16 Illinois grain bin accidents.

Workers injured in grain bin accidents should file an Illinois workers’ compensation claim as soon as possible. It doesn’t matter whether or not anyone was at fault. State law requires that employers provide workers with work accident benefits. An experienced Chicago, Illinois workers’ compensation lawyer can help you determine how much you should receive. In the event of a dispute with your employer’s insurer as to whether or not your injuries are work-related enough to warrant benefits, your Illinois workers’ compensation attorney can represent you and aggressively advocate on your behalf.

Mount Carroll in shock over grain bin deaths, Quad-City Times, July 29, 2010

OSHA: 2 Illinois grain bin deaths were preventable, AP/Google, July 28, 2010


Grain bin accidents happen quickly, SoutheastFarmPress, November 6, 2002


Related Web Resources:
Illinois Industrial Commission

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

Grain Bin Safety, University of Illinois Extension

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July 27, 2010

Ex-Motorola Workers’ Cook County Injury Lawsuit Claims Their Children’s Birth Defects were Caused by Toxic Substances Used to Make Products

71 plaintiffs have filed a Cook County, Illinois injury lawsuit seeking damages from former employer Motorola for their children’s birth defects. They are claiming that because they worked with toxic substances during the manufacture of certain Motorola products, their children were born with serious defects.

The former employees contend that the Schaumburg-based company knew that the chemicals used to manufacture computer chips and semiconductors were toxic and could cause people who were exposed to them to have babies with birth defects. The children of the plaintiffs are suffering from different conditions, including spina bifida, cerebral palsy, brain malformations, autism, sterility, skeletal deformities, and physical deformities. Two of the children were missing an ear when they were born. Some of the workers’ kids are now adults.

The children’s parents worked at different Motorola facilities between 1965 and 2007. The plaintiffs are accusing the defendant of knowing (or if not, then they should have known) that reproductive harm was a possible side effect of working with the dangerous substances. They also contend that the company did not provide protective gear for them when they were in what were supposed to be sterile “clean rooms” that ended up circulating the allegedly toxic substances through the air.

The plaintiffs say that in 1986, there was already a study by Johns Hopkins University and IBM that reported that solvents, chemicals, metals, and other compounds can have a dangerous effect on reproduction. Different chemical manufacturers, occupational safety institutes, and trade associations had also warned that working with or around certain products may prove harmful. The plaintiffs are seeking unspecified damages from Motorola.

Employers are supposed to take all necessary steps to protect workers from injury or death while they are doing their jobs. That said, regardless of who was at fault, workers are usually entitled to Illinois workers’ compensation. Even if you are no longer working for your employer, there still may be legal options that you can pursue if you later discover that your injuries or illness occurred because of your former job. If you believe that your child or another family was injured because they were exposed through hazardous substances through you because of your job, you and/or their may have grounds for Cook County personal injury recovery.

Ex-workers' lawsuit blames Motorola for birth defects, News-Sun, July 25, 2010

Ex-workers sue Motorola over kids’ birth defects, Chicago Breaking News, July 26, 2010


Related Web Resource:
Toxic and Hazardous Substances, Occupational Safety and Health Administration

Corporate Responsibility, Motorola

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July 24, 2010

NIOSH Says Young Workers Have Higher Risk of Injury on the Job

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has issued a new report stating that young workers, ages 15 – 24, are twice as likely to sustain nonfatal injuries on the job. In its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the agency summarized its findings based on an examination of work injuries involving young people that occurred between 1998 and 2007.

While there was a 19% drop in the nonfatal injury rate for young people, almost 8 million young workers still received medical care for their work injuries. Workers in the 18-19 age group had the highest nonfatal injury rate of all. 5,719 young employees died from their work injuries.

Other findings from the report:
• Events involving contact with objects or equipment were the ones that most often resulted in work injuries for young workers.
• Young workers had a twofold greater fatally rate than their older counterparts.
• Young Hispanic workers had a higher fatality rate than their Black and White counterpart.
• Most fatal work injuries involving young employees occurred in the areas of construction, service, agriculture, wholesale and retail trade, and industry.

Chicago, Illinois Workers Compensation

Cook County employers have a responsibility to make sure that workers, both young and old, are trained to do their jobs properly and safely. Employees must also be given the proper protective gear and clothing.

NIOSH: Injury Rate Among Young Workers Significantly Higher, Risk and Insurance, July 8, 2010

NIOSH Alert: Preventing Deaths, Injuries and Illnesses of Young Workers, CDC

Related Web Resources:
Illinois Workers' Compensation Act

ASSE: Teens More Likely to Be Injured, AHS Today, June 29, 2007

Continue reading " NIOSH Says Young Workers Have Higher Risk of Injury on the Job" »

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July 22, 2010

Employee Organization Leaders Go to Capitol Hill to Advocate for Federal Workers’ Compensation

This week, leaders from a number of employee organization attended a hearing on Capitol Hill to discuss work injury benefits for federal workers that get hurt or sick because of their jobs. The hearing took place just two days after President Obama unveiled his POWER Initiative, which stands for Protecting Our Workers and Ensuring Reemployment. The program is geared toward decreasing federal workers’ injuries on the job, which will hopefully decrease the amount of time an injured employee must take off from work. Increasing the timely filing of work injury claims and wage-loss claims are two of the plan's other goals. Mr. Obama noted that with over $1.6 billion in workers’ compensation payments made during fiscal 2009 and over 79,000 work injury claims, there is definitely more that can be done to improve workplace health and safety.

During the hearing, a few employee injury cases were recounted that further highlighted the need to improve not just worker safety but the process that is supposed to provide them with federal workers’ compensation in the event of illness or injury on the job. The Washington Post recounts a number of these, including the cases involving:

• A postal inspector who became ill from anthrax-contaminated mail in 2001. He was initially denied workers’ compensation. He eventually started receiving benefits, but not before his medical care was interrupted and his credit was destroyed.

• A secret service agent hurt his shoulders, neck, and back when he ran into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 to rescue people who were still inside. Not only did the Office of Workers' Compensation Programs lose his file, but also he was blamed for unpaid medical bills.

Chicago Workers’ Compensation
Our Chicago, Illinois workers’ compensation law firm represent government employees with work injury claims against their state, city, or federal employer. You shouldn’t have to be left to your own devices as you struggle to pay for medical bills and other costs incurred because you were injured or fell ill on the job.

Getting compensation shouldn't be so hard for federal workers hurt on the job, The Washington Post, July 22, 2010

The Presidential POWER Initiative: Protecting Our Workers and Ensuring Reemployment, The White House, July 19, 2010


Related Web Resources:
GovBenefits.gov

Workers' Compensation, Justia

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July 21, 2010

Employee Seeking Additional Illinois Work Injury Benefits from National Maintenance and Repair

National Maintenance and Repair has been paying Robert Vandygriff Illinois workers’ compensation benefits for injuries he sustained on the job. However, the worker believes that he should receive additional benefits. Vandygriff is seeking unspecified damages, pre-judgment, costs, and other relief.

Vandygriff sustained facial lacerations, a closed head injury, back injuries, and a neck injury after he was struck on the head by a large metal ball attached to a crane. The Illinois work accident took place on Barge BB-1, which is owned by his employer.

Vandygriff claims that in addition to sustaining permanent injuries, he also lost wages, suffered a diminished earning capacity, incurred medical costs, experienced pain and suffering, and sustained disability. Although his employer is covering his medical expense related to his work injuries, as well as other interim benefits, Vandygriff believes that he should be getting at least $45 daily in maintenance.

He is accusing his employer of causing his work injuries, failing to provide its workers with the proper training, neglecting to properly inspect the work area, and not providing adequate supervision and equipment.

Closed Head Injuries
A closed head injury can occur when a person is struck hard on the head. This causes the brain to hit against the skull even though no foreign object has penetrated the brain. A closed head injury can lead to loss of consciousness, headaches, respiratory problems, language difficulties, speech issues, vision problems, behavioral changes, emotional changes, and other serious effects. In some cases, a closed head injury can lead to coma or even death.

Worker struck by metal ball on head seeks benefits, The Record, July 21, 2010

Head Injury, Emedinehealth


Related Web Resource:
Read This Court Document (PDF)

Continue reading "Employee Seeking Additional Illinois Work Injury Benefits from National Maintenance and Repair" »

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July 16, 2010

Two Former Chicago Bears Football Players Awarded Illinois Workers’ Compensation Settlements

Gabe Reid and Mike Brown, to ex-Chicago Bear, have received Illinois workers' compensation settlements for injuries they sustained while playing for the team. Reid’s $325,000 settlement is the largest Illinois workers’ compensation settlement that has been awarded to a professional athlete.

His work injury settlement is for a right knee injury that he sustained while playing for the Chicago Bears from 2003 to 2006. The 33-year-old is an unrestricted free agent.

Meantime, ex-Bears All-Pro safety Mike Brown was awarded $140,000 in Illinois workers’ compensation for foot and leg injuries that he sustained while playing for the team. His injuries have included a calf injury, a torn tendon, and a torn Lisfranc ligament. He too is now a free agent.

Professional football can be a dangerous sport, with workers suffering serious injuries, including broken bones, knee injuries, traumatic brain injuries, hamstring injuries, leg injuries, ankle injuries, hip injuries, chest injuries, shoulder injuries, internal injuries, wrist injuries, Achilles’ injuries, and other serious and painful injuries.

To fans, NFL football is a fun and exciting game to watch. However, for the players, professional football is a real job and the seriousness of the injuries that can be sustained have real consequences that can even end careers, seriously hurting not just the injured player’s body but also his/her main source of income. Like all employees that are injured during a work accident, NFL players should file their Illinois workers’ compensation benefits for these injuries as soon as possible.

Record injury settlement for ex-Bears TE Reid, Chicago Breaking News, July 15, 2010

Ex-Bears TE sets Illinois workers' comp record with settlement, National Football Post, July 15, 2010

Related Web Resources:

Teams Dispute Workers’ Comp Rights, NY Times, April 6, 2010

Chicago Bears

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July 14, 2010

$6.25 M Chicago Construction Accident Settlement for Injured Roofer

Roofer Luis Vasquez has received a $6.25 million Chicago, Illinois construction accident settlement for serious injuries he sustained on March 8, 2004. Vasquez was a roofer for Knickerbocker Roofing and Paving Co. when he fell some 20-feeet through a roof of a Metra-owned premise to land on the concrete floor. A waver of the $560,000 lIlinois workers’ compensation lien was included in the settlement.

The defendants in the case include Walsh Construction Company, the general contractor for the construction project, Metra, and Consoer Townsend Environdyne and Cotter Consulting, a contractor on the project.

Roofer Injuries
Roofers risk serious injuries when doing their job. Chicago slip and fall accidents, fall accidents from elevated heights, falling objects and debris, falls through skylights and unstable floors, and roof collapses are just a few of the hazards faced by roofers. According a University of Florida study from 2000, almost 88% of roofing accidents require hospitalization or end in death. Broken bones, traumatic injuries, and spinal cord injuries can be very painful and costly for the victim and his/her family. A worker with such catastrophic injuries may become disabled for life and no longer be able to earn a living to support the family.

With so many parties normally taking part in a construction project, it can be difficult to determine who should be held liable for your Chicago, Illinois construction accident injuries. Your employer should pay you your Illinois workers’ compensation benefits, and an experienced Chicago workers’ compensation law firm can make sure you are getting all the work injury benefits that you are owed. However, there may be contractors, sub-contractors, architects, insurers, manufacturers of faulty equipment, engineers, and/or other parties who also should compensate you for your injuries.

$6.25 Million Dollar Settlement Paid by Insurers for 57 Year Old Roofer Injured at a Walsh, Forbes.com, July 14, 2010

UF Study: Lax Safety Causes More Home-Building Deaths And Injuries, University of Florida, December 18, 2000


Related Web Resources:
Construction Safety, CDC

Illinois Workers' Compensation Act (PDF)

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July 6, 2010

Worker Dies in Chicago, Illinois Industrial Accident at Berlin Industries

A worker who was crushed by a paper roll during a Chicago industrial accident at Berlin Industries, which is located in the Carol Stream suburb, has died. Jorge Espinosa sustained fatal injuries early on the morning of June 26, 2010 when more than 100 pounds of paper crushed him while his shoulders and head got caught in a suction bailer.

Local firefighters and paramedics arrived at the plant but by then Espinosa did not have any vital signs. He was pronounced dead, but because of the large volumes of paper around him, the process of extracting him took about two hours. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the fatal work accident.

Crush Injuries
Crush injuries can prove catastrophic. They can lead to crushed bones, internal injuries, rhabdomyolysis (which involves ruptured muscles that can release myoglobin into the body), kidney failure, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and death. Crush injuries can disable a person for life. Machinery accidents, falling debris, equipment malfunctions, safety violations, and inadequate safety equipment and gear are some reasons why Chicago crush accidents can happen on the job.

A worker injured on the job should be able to receive their Chicago, Illinois workers’ compensation benefits from his/her employer. Surviving family members of a worker that died can file a Chicago survivors’ benefits claim.

Carol Stream IL Industrial Accident: Berlin Industries worker crushed by paper, New York Injury News, July 2, 2010

Crush injuries can be deceptively dangerous, CNN, January 21, 2010


Related Web Resource:
United States Department of Labor


OSHA

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July 1, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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June 30, 2010

Wal-Mart Employee Who Sustained Brain Injury While Trying to Stop Shoplifter Dies

Wal-Mart worker Bruce Florence has died after sustaining a brain injury that he sustained when he attempted to detain a shoplifter at the store where he worked. Florence got hurt on June 14 when he tried to stop a man that was trying to sneak a TV that hadn’t been paid for out of the store.

The alleged thief, William Allen Kennedy, is accused of pushing the Wal-Mart employee and knocking him to the ground before running outside to a waiting motor vehicle.

Florence hurt his head when he fell. Doctors say that he began experiencing bleeding in the brain. After Florence was hospitalized for a number of days, he passed away on Father’s Day.

Kennedy, who is a suspect in other store robberies, is charged with aggravated robbery and shoplifting. Police say that he could be charged with murder if the medical examiner determines that Florence died because of the brain injury he sustained when Kennedy shoved him.

Although working in a department store may seem like a safe occupation, injuries can occur on the job, including:

• Ladder fall-related injuries
• Electrical accidents
• Injuries from falling merchandise
• Slip and fall injuries
• Back injuries
• Repetitive strain injuries
• Neck injuries
• Injuries sustained during store robberies and other violent crimes

Injured workers are likely covered under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. These employees cannot sue their employer, but they should receive their Illinois workers' compensation benefits in a timely manner. If third parties were involved, the injured employee may have reason to file a Chicago personal injury lawsuit.

Local Wal-Mart Worker Injured By Shoplifter Dies, CBS11TV, June 23, 2010

Wal-Mart worker dies after being pushed down by Fort Worth shoplifting suspect, Dallas News, June 24, 2010


Related Web Resources:
Wal*Mart Corporate

Workers' Compensation Overview, Justia

Brain Hemorrhage, Web MD

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June 25, 2010

OSHA Investigates Illinois Worker’s Death at Newton Plant

48-year-old James K. Humphres died on June 7 when he was fatally injured during an Illinois work accident at the GSI Group plant in Newton. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has been investigating the machine operator’s death.

Results from an autopsy performed the day after his death indicate a preliminary finding of blunt force compression trauma causing compound cranial fractures.

If your loved one died in an Illinois work accident it is important to file your claim for survivors’ benefits as soon as possible. This should prevent any delays in you receiving the compensation you are owed. It doesn’t matter who was at fault in causing the work injury. Under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, family members are entitled to survivors benefits, which can include:

• $8,000 for burial costs
• 66 2/3rd% of the employee’s gross average weekly wage during the 52 weeks prior to the work injury (minimum and maximum limits apply)
• Minimum survivors’ benefit cannot fall under 50% of the statewide average weekly wage at the time that the injury happened (a reduction for individuals that were partially dependent on the deceased may apply)
• Maximum survivors’ benefit cannot exceed 113 1/3% of the SAWW at the time of injury. This benefit is paid for 25 years of weekly benefits or $500,000 (whichever amount is greater)

The worker’s spouse and young children are the primary beneficiaries.

Our Chicago survivors benefits law firm knows how hard it is to lose someone you love in such a tragic manner. We know that no amount of money will make up for that loss, but receiving compensation can relieve some of the financial burden.

Hidalgo man, 48, dies in accident at GSI Group plant in Newton, Herald-Review, June 10, 2010

Handbook on Workers' Compensation and Occupational Diseases, Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission


Related Web Resources:
OSHA

Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

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June 23, 2010

Smurfit-Stone to Pay $100,000 to Settle Allegations of Violating Workers’ Compensation Rules

Smurfit-Stone has settled an unlawful business practices case accusing the company of violating workers’ compensation rules, including allegedly trying to conceal worker injuries in an attempt to discourage employees from submitting workers’ compensation claims. According to the District Attorney’s Office’s consumer protection unit, there were instances when Smurfit-Stone workers were not given claim forms and work injuries were either not documented or their reporting was delayed.

By agreeing to settle, Smurfit-Stone is not denying or admitting to any wrongdoing. In addition to the $100,000 civil penalties, $4,293 in restitution will be divided between 11 victims. The settlement comes with an injunction that prevents the company’s owners from disregarding workers’ compensation rules in the future. Smurfit-Stone is currently going through Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings.

In a related case, chiropractor Robert Ray Schreiner is charged with 16 felony counts, including conspiracy to deny workers’ compensation benefits to injured workers, making false statements to an insurer, and filing fraudulent insurance claims. Schreiner, who owns California Chiropractic Center and Golden State Physical Therapy, allegedly treated at least six Smurfit-Stone workers for work injuries and is said to have tried to persuade them that the injuries were caused by non-work-related activities. He also is accused of telling injured employees that their employer would pay for the initial visits but that their own insurers would have to cover the rest. The injured employees paid co-payments and deductibles for medical services that should have been covered by their workers’ compensation. The chiropractor is also accused of billing private insurers for workers’ compensation-related services.

Smurfit-Stone settles workers' comp case for $100,000, The Herald, June 17, 2010

Salinas Chiropractor Arrested for Workers' Comp Fraud, ClaimsJournal.com, June 4, 2010


Related Web Resources:

Illinois Workers' Compensation Act (PDF)

Workers' Compensation, Illinois Department of Labor

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June 18, 2010

AirTran Pilot's Widow Who Died While Riding as a Passenger in Plane that Crashed Can Pursue Workers’ Compensation Benefits

A state Supreme Court has ruled that the widow of a pilot who was died while riding a Comair plane that crashed can seek workers’ compensation benefits. Sarah Fortney’s husband Clarence Fortney, an AirTran Airways pilot, was flying to work when Comair Flight 5191 crashed on August 2006.

AirTran has contended that the pilot’s death was not work-related because while Fortney was headed to work at the time, he was not actually “on the clock” when the plane he was riding crashed seeing as during air commutes to and from their work pilots were not required to do any actual and were not paid for their travel time. AirTran has also said that it wasn’t responsible for Comair’s actions leading up to the plane crash that killed Fortney.

An administrative law judge agreed that AirTran was not obligated to pay Sarah work injury payments.

However, the Fortney family’s workers’ compensation lawyers kept pursuing her case. They argued that the AirTran policy not only let pilots live away from its Atlanta hub, but also that the airline company offered free or reduced air travel rates to the pilots on the airline’s own planes as well as on other airlines it had reciprocal conveyance agreements with so that the employees could get to their work base without having to live in the same area. Because Clarence Fortney’s work was based at the Airtran’s hub in Atlanta, he commuted eight to ten times a month between Lexington and Atlanta.

The high court agreed with the Fortney family and has reversed and remanded the ALJ's ruling.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation
Just because your work injury claim has been denied does not mean you are not entitled to Illinois workers’ compensation benefits. Don’t take a “no” from your employer’s insurer as the final answer and explore your legal options.

Court rules that widow of Comair crash victim should get benefits, Kentucky.com, June 18, 2010

Read the Opinion, Leagle.com


Related Web Resources:
Your right to workers' compensation benefits, Nolo

Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

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June 16, 2010

Illinois Municipal League Pressures the Village of Roscoe to Reduce Number of Workers’ Compensation Claims

According to the Illinois Municipal League, the amount of workers’ compensation claims filed by the employees of the village of Roscoe over the last six years is causing insurance premiums to go up. Now, the IML is pressing the village to reduce the number of work injury claims and improve safety policies and training.

The village obtains health insurance through the IML Risk Management Association. Because its claims have been more than its premium, the premium has gone up from $83,000 in 2008 to over $100,000 last year.

Now, the IML has given Roscoe until July 31, 2010 to complete a new employee safety handbook and establish plans for better training programs.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation
Implementing policies and training programs that will allow workers to minimize injuries and decrease the number of work accidents is always good news. However, regardless of whether or not there are the proper systems in place to limit the number of work injuries and deaths, if a worker is injured on the job he or she is likely entitled to receive Illinois workers’ compensation for medical bills, disability, temporary disabilities, permanent disabilities, and/or income loss. If the worker died from his/her injuries or illness then family members may be eligible to receive survivors’ benefits.

Workers’ compensation claim hurt Roscoe's budget, RR Star, June 14, 2010


Related Web Resources:
Workers' Compensation FAQ, Nolo

Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

Continue reading "Illinois Municipal League Pressures the Village of Roscoe to Reduce Number of Workers’ Compensation Claims " »

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June 11, 2010

Worker Pulled into a Wood Chipper Dies

A 60-year-old worker is dead after he was pulled into a wood chipper. Henry Lira had been working in his job for over 40 years prior to the catastrophic work accident, which wasn’t even his first.

It was 25 years ago that Lira badly mangled one arm and lost the other during another workplace accident, which forced him to need a prosthetic limb. He also sustained burn injuries from electric shock when he grabbed jumper cables out of a crane’s cab and the crane extension made contact with a nearby power line. Lira and his ex-wife sued PG&E for personal injury claiming that the line that made contact with the crane was a hazard because it had been sagging. A jury ruled in favor of the defendant.

Monday’s fatal accident happened while Lira and three other workers were doing road maintenance and clearing brush. He died at the work accident site.

Wood Chipper Injuries
Wood chipper injuries are not uncommon. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in its 2004 report, that each year about three deaths and 204 injuries are caused by wood chippers.

Working with and around a wood chipper can be dangerous for everyone involved. Employees feeding the wood chipper branches and tree limbs risk getting pulled into the machine’s rapidly turning chipper knives.

This is why it is so important that workers are properly trained to work with a wood chipper, safe work practices are put in place, and the wood chipper is properly maintained and correctly operated.

Illinois Workers' Compensation
Spouses and children of employees killed on the job are entitled to survivors benefits under the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act. It is important that you receive all of the benefits that you and your family are owed.


County worker killed in wood chipper lost arm in earlier workplace accident, Mercury News, June 8, 2010

Wood chipper injuries not so rare, WVEC, November 23, 2009


Related Web Resource:
Hazards of Wood Chippers, OSHA

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June 9, 2010

“Octomom” Settles Workers’ Compensation Case

Nadya Suleman has settled her workers’ compensation case against Metropolitan State Hospital. The mother of 14, who is known as the “Octomom,” hurt her back when she was hit by a desk that was thrown by a patient during a 1999 disturbance at the hospital.

Suleman, who was a psychiatric technician at the time, went briefly back to work following the work accident. She collected nearly $170,000 in disability payments between 2000 and 2008. Now, she will receive a $40,000 settlement—though documents indicate that she is only actually going to get $23,120 once permanent disability payments she already received and attorney fees are deducted.

Suleman had also filed a workers’ compensation claim in 2001 after she was injured in a car accident that occurred while she was headed to a facility to receive medical treatment. She claimed that she had hurt her back, neck, and shoulders during the car crash. Although her employer objected, Sulemen won out at the hearing and she received continued benefits because of her injuries.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation
If you are owed workers’ compensation for injuries you sustained while doing your job, there is no reason why you shouldn't be getting paid. Not only will you need your medical expenses related to your injuries covered, but also you cannot sue your employer and you may have to take time off from work. In addition to the effects of any physical pain and suffering, all of this can place a lot of emotional pressure, as well as a financial toll, on you and your family. Do NOT give up hope if your Chicago workers’ compensation claim was denied. Explore your legal options.

Octuplets mom Nadya Suleman settles her workers’ comp case, Los Angeles Times, June 7, 2010

Octuplet mom filed 2 workers' comp claims, UPI, February 4, 2009


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

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June 5, 2010

Scaffolding Accident at Construction Site Injures Six Workers

Investigators are still trying to determine the reason a section of scaffolding collapsed at a Binghamton University construction site on Wednesday. The construction accident caused six workers to fall five stories (about 60 feet) to the ground. All of the injured workers are employed by Apple Roofing, a subcontractor on the nine-building construction project that LeChase Construction is managing.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has six months to complete its probe into the construction accident. According to one BU employee who had passed by the site, the scaffolding looked overloaded with too many people, lumber, and other material.

Scaffolding Accidents
• OSHA says that out of 2.3 million construction workers, 65% have to work with scaffolding.

• According to the US Department of Labor, there were 88 scaffolding deaths in 2007.

• More than 4,000 scaffolding injuries and occur each year.

• 72% of scaffolding injuries that year either involved the support or planking giving way or a worker slipping or getting hit by a falling object.

• Many of these injuries and deaths could have been avoided were it not for improper scaffolding construction or maintenance.

• Common serious scaffolding injuries include traumatic brain injuries, head injuries, spinal cord injuries, back injuries, neck injuries, broken bones, and other physical trauma.

With so many parties usually involved in a construction project, not only are you, as an injured worker, likely entitled to Illinois workers’ compensation benefits from your employer’s insurer, but you also may be able to file Chicago construction accident lawsuits against the other parties responsible for your work accident.

More Details Released On Scaffold Collapse; Still No Cause Determined, WICZ, June 3, 2010

Scaffolding at Binghamton University erected one day before collapse, Pressconnects.com, June 3, 2010

Scaffolding, US Department of Labor

Related Web Resources:

Construction Accidents, OSHA

A Guide to Safe Scaffolding, NCDOL (PDF)

Continue reading "Scaffolding Accident at Construction Site Injures Six Workers" »

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June 4, 2010

Man Who Smoke Pot Before Grizzly Bear Attacked Him is Eligible for Workers’ Compensation

A judge says that a seasonal worker who was mauled by a grizzly bear he was trying to feed at Great Bear Adventures on November 2, 2007 is eligible for workers’ compensation. Brock Hopkins, then 23, sustained serious injuries during the attack, including a detached kneecap, leg wounds, and possibly permanent muscle damage.

Russell Kilpatrick, the owner of the property where the park is located, had argued that not only did Hopkins admit to taking nonprescription marijuana before coming to work, but also he was not an employee but a volunteer. Judge James Jeremiah Shea, however, disagreed and said that Hopkins was injured while doing a job that Kilpatrick had paid him to do. The judge also noted that while smoking pot before going to a job that takes place around grizzly bears is “mind-bogglingly stupid to say the most,” there was no evidence presented that was conclusive enough to convince him that Hopkins’ marijuana use played a role in causing the bear to attack. Shea said “grizzlies are equal opportunity maulers.”

It’s not clear whether or not Kilpatrick told Hopkins to feed the bear that day. Kilpatrick claims that he did not, although he admits to telling him to adjust the gates. The bear mauling incident occurred after Hopkins, who had spent two hours working on gate, went back to Kilpatrick and found him sleeping. The seasonal worker then started mixing bear food and then went into the grizzly pen where he was attacked. Hopkins was able to escape by crawling under the electric fence.

Hopkins’ workers’ compensation attorney says that his client will “hurt when he’s older” because of his work injuries. Meantime, Kilpatrick is seeking a motion for reconsideration.

In Grizzly Mauling, Judge Rules Pot Not the Cause, Flathead Beacon, June 3, 2010

Bear gets munchies for pot smoker, Associated Press/KVAL, June 4, 2010


Related Web Resources:

Continue reading "Man Who Smoke Pot Before Grizzly Bear Attacked Him is Eligible for Workers’ Compensation " »

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June 3, 2010

Illinois Workers’ Compensation: Cahokia Man Says Allied Services Let Him Go Because He Filed Claim for Injury Benefits

According to Antoine Smith, Allied Services fired him last November because he filed an Illinois workers’ compensation claim for his work injuries. The Cahokia man is seeking over $100,000 plus costs.

Smith, who began working for Allied Services on August 18, 2008, says he was fired on November 12, 2009. He says that he was let go after he got hurt on September 4, 2009, notified his employer about his injuries, obtained medical help, filed his Illinois workers’ compensation claim, took time off work, and started receiving work injury benefits.

Smith says that while he supposedly lost his job because the company had decided to cut the number of workers it employed and he had left work without giving proper notice, he contends that his termination was in fact payback because he availed of his rights under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. Smith says that the reason he was absent from work was because of the injury that he sustained on the job.

Because he was fired, the Smith says that he lost his medical and dental coverage, substantial income, sick leave, vacation time, retirement and pension benefits, as well as his seniority. He also as experienced emotional pain and suffering.

Workers’ Compensation
Each year, thousands of people are injured on the job in the US, while tens of thousands of others will die from an occupational disease. Although you cannot sue your employer for Illinois personal injury or wrongful death for your work-related injury, you are entitled to certain rights under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act.

Key steps to take after getting hurt on the job:
• Get medical help
• Tell your employer
• Speak with a Chicago workers’ compensation law firm about your case
• File your Illinois workers’ compensation claim

Allied Services worker claims he was terminated after filing for work comp, The Record, May 31, 2010

Hurt on the Job, AFL-CIO

Related Web Resource:
llinois Workers’ Compensation Act (PDF)

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May 28, 2010

Deer Park Man Files Schaumburg Injury Lawsuit for Injuries Sustained While Working at Medieval Times

Frank Kaszycki is seeking more than $50,000 in Cook County personal injury damages for injuries he sustained while working as a king at Medieval Times. The Deer Park man was hired last year to play the role of King Philippe. His work esponsibilities included speaking at the Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament Show and riding a horse.

During the show, actors playing the roles of kings, knights, princesses, and others are supposed to take part in simulated and choreographed combat, horsemanship, jousts, and falconry. Kaszycki says that he was injured on January 28 when the horse that he was being trained to ride reared. This caused him to fall backward onto the ground before the horse landed on him.

Kaszycki says that prior to working for Medieval Times, he had no experience riding horses. A fellow cast member, rather than the trainer, was training him. The trainer was not there that day. Kaszycki is suing Medieval Times USA and Medieval Knights LLC, the companies that operate the entertainment venue, for failing to control the horse and negligence.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation
Under Illinois law, employers must provide nearly everyone they hire or who is localized in the state with workers’ compensation insurance. If you have Illinois workers’ compensation, you cannot sue your employer for personal injury. However, your work injury benefits should cover your medical benefits and pay you at least partial wages while you are temporarily or permanently disabled. In certain situations involving an employer that doesn't provide workers' compensation, an injured worker may have grounds for filing an Illinois injury lawsuit. You also may be able to sue liable third parties for work injuries.

Man sues Medieval Times, Chicago Tribune, May 13, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Workers' compensation insurance: It's the LAW, Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

Illinois Workers' Compensation Act

Medieval Times

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May 25, 2010

Worker Says that His Illinois Workers’ Compensation Claim Led to His Termination

Bradley O’Brien is suing Olin Corporation's and/or Global Brass and Copper because he says that he was fired after he submitted his Illinois workers’ compensation claim. O’Brien was injured when his hand got caught in the conveyor belt at work.

He says that Olin and/or Global Brass accepted his workers’ compensation claim but that after he filed for an adjustment of the claim with the llinois Workers' Compensation Committee he was harassed by fellow employees that demanded that he discuss his work injury claim with them or face firing. O’Brien contends that Olin and/or Global Brass employees harassed him in an attempt to stop him from exercising his rights under the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act.

He says that not only did they bother him about his claim abut they also told him on more than one occasion that he would be fired if he didn’t act out the incident that led to his Illinois work injuries.

O’Brien is seeking over $200,000 plus costs.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation
If the company that you work for harasses you or fires you for filing an Illinois workers’ compensation claim, your rights are being violated. While an employees that is injured on the job cannot sue his/employer, Illinois workers’ compensation exists to cover medical bills and other expenses and financial losses related to the work injury or illness. Do NOT let your employer or its insurer pressure you out of receiving the work injury benefits that you are owed.

Former Olin worker claims he was fired after work comp claim, The Record, May 25, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

Illinois Workers' Compensation Act (PDF)

Continue reading "Worker Says that His Illinois Workers’ Compensation Claim Led to His Termination " »

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May 21, 2010

High School Janitor Seeks Over $800,000 from Two Students for Work Injuries

A Bellevelle West High School janitor is suing two students for the Illinois personal injuries he sustained while on the job. Keith Muskopf is seeking over 800,000 from the two minors, whose horseplay he claims caused his arm, shoulder, back, and neck. Muskopf contends that on May 7, 2008, Philsamrae Escaesenas and Ehhsan Hamden slammed an athletic storage door into his shoulder while running out of the school’s locker room.

As a result of the work accident, Muskopf says that he suffered mental anguish and physical pain, lost his normal life, and incurred medical costs. His wife Paula is seeking compensation for the loss of her husband’s affections, services, companionship, society, and consortium. She claims that his injuries have prevented her from seeing to her usual activities and business. Also named as defendants in the Illinois personal injury lawsuit are the teenagers parents, Marites and Rodolpho Escaesena and Nasser and Nadia Hamden.

Janitor Injuries
According to the Occupation Safety and Health Administration, in 2007 262 out of 10,000 full-time janitors were injured in work accidents. This figure is two times the average injury rate (122 out of 10,000) for all private worker industries. Common janitor injuries include repetitive stress injuries, shoulder injuries, chemical exposure, back problems, and electrocution accidents. Many janitors work odd hours, which can lead to stress, fatigue, and loneliness.

Work Injuries
Injured workers can sue parties that are not employers for Chicago personal injury. Meantime, their employer should provide them with Illinois workers’ compensation benefits.

School janitor claims student horseplay causes $800k in injuries, The Record, May 19, 2010


Related Web Resources:
Janitors and Custodians, AHealthyMe

Occupation Safety and Health Administration

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May 19, 2010

Worker Says Landshire Fired Her for Filing Illinois Workers’ Compensation Claim

Shannon French is suing Landshire for over $100,000 plus costs. She claims that her employer fired her for trying to file her Illinois workers’ compensation claim.

French says that she was working for Landshire on July 23, 2008 when she got hurt. She contends that she was let go after notifying the company that she was going to submit the claim.

In French’s Illinois lawsuit, she says that her termination was wrongful and an act of retaliation against her for exercising her legal rights under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. She claims that she lost benefits and income, experienced mental anguish, and her reputation suffered damage.

Chicago, Illinois Workers’ Compensation
It doesn’t matter who or what caused your Illinois work injury. If you were injured while doing your job and your employer is supposed to provide you Illinois workers’ compensation, you are likely entitled to these benefits and you cannot be fired for seeking to avail of this right under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act.

So many people don’t realize that your work injury compensation will cover their medical expenses to treat their work injuries. Instead, they pay out of pocket and don’t avail of the disability benefits that they should be getting. In some cases, it may even to be an injured worker’s benefit to negotiate a lump sum settlement.

Do not give up just because your worker’s insurer tried to deny you Illinois workers’ compensation or your employer fired you as a result of your claim.

Worker claims she was terminated after seeking work comp benefits, The Record, May 17, 2010

Related Web Resource:

Illinois Workers' Compensation Act (PDF)

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May 15, 2010

Employer Ordered to Pay $1.3 Million for Underpaying Workers’ Compensation Coverage

A man who underpayed workers compensation coverage after underreporting how many employees worked for him at his nurse staffing agency has been ordered to pay $1.3 million in restitution to the state. The superior court judge also sentenced Joseph Baiden to five years supervised probation.

An investigation was instigated into Baiden’s company, Nurse Connection Inc. in 2008 after an anonymous tipster suggested that suggested that over a six-year period the nursing company owner had been falsifying payroll records and California and federal tax filings. Baiden was accused of trying to hide the actual risk to the insurance carrier by misrepresenting $20 million in payroll. This lowered his workers’ compensation premiums by nearly $1.3 million.

Baiden must also pay the state $110,000 for its investigative expenses. He also will have to turn in his yearly corporate tax returns to the district attorney’s office and insurance regulators. When he goes back to court in November for a progress report, he will have to provide proof of current workers’ compensation insurance.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation
Employers must provide workers with Illinois workers’ compensation coverage so that in the event of work-related injury, illness, or death, the employee can avail of these benefits. If your company’s insurer decides to deny your work injury benefits, there are steps that you can take to dispute their decision to deprive you of the compensation that you are owed. Unfortunately, many workers don’t understand that they have rights and don’t file Illinois workers’ compensation claims or settle for far less than they should be getting.

Calif. man to pay $1.3 million for underpaying workers’ comp. premiums, Insurance and Financial Advisor, May 11, 2010

Diamond Bar man suspected of fraud, properties seized, SGVTribune, August 19, 2009


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

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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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May 6, 2010

Workers’ Compensation: Company to Settle Over Allegations it Discouraged Injured Employees to File Claims

To settle allegations that it discouraged its employees from filing workers’ compensation claims and instead pressured them into using their own health insurance to cover their medical costs, Supermarket chain Raley’s will revise its workers’ compensation policies and pay $550,000 in a settlement with six California counties. By agreeing to settle, the company is not denying or admitting to the allegations.

Raley’s also has consented to improve record-keeping, provide mandatory workers’ compensation training for store managers, and contact a medical advice company to assess worker injuries and suggest treatment. Raley’s CEO and president Michael Teel says the supermarket chain cooperated with investigators and immediately fixed any problems to make sure that the company was in compliance with state workers’ compensation regulations.

An investigation was started in 2007 after a complaint was made that managers at one Raley’s owned store tried to stop an injured worker from filing a workers’ compensation claim. Two managers were later charged with insurance fraud. Investigators said that in an attempt to make the store appear to have an injury-free record and obtain bonuses as a result, managers discouraged workers who had gotten hurt from filing workers’ compensation claims. Investigators also discovered “widespread” instances of other managers trying to persuade injured workers to use their health insurance coverage instead of filing for workers’ compensation.

Chicago Workers’ Compensation
You have the right to file an Illinois workers’ compensation claim against your employer if you were injured on the job. Your employer cannot order you to do otherwise or punish you if you seek to avail of your workers’ compensation benefits. You shouldn’t have to pay for medical expenses caused by injuries or illnesses that you sustained because of your job.

Raley's to pay $550,000 to settle workers' comp accusations, The Sacramento Bee, May 4, 2010

Raley's case settles for $580,000, Mercury News, May 4, 2010


Related Web Resources:

Raley's

Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

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May 3, 2010

Ironworker Sues Illinois Power Company for Fall Injuries During Work Accident

Gregory K. Masterson is suing Illinois Power Company, Power Maintenance and Constructors, Dynegy, Dynegy Midwest Corporation, and Illinova Corporation for injuries he sustained while working as a subcontractor. Masterson, an ironworker, was employed by Ben Hur Construction Company when he was injured on July 22, 2009.

According to his Illinois construction accident lawsuit, he fell through a hole (26-30 inches in diameter) on a grate floor, which caused him to sustain injuries to his right shoulder, right arm, and back. Masterson claims that because of his ironworker injuries, he lost significant income, incurred medical expenses, and experienced serious pain and suffering. He says that his ability to enjoy his life and take part in his usual activities became impaired.

Masterson says the defendants neglect him to provide him with a safe workplace, failed to make sure the hole was properly covered, and did not provide the standard railing or toeboard around the hole in the grate floor.

He is seeking over $200,000 plus costs.

Ironworker Injuries
The Center to Protect Workers’ Rights says that the number one cause of injuries to ironworkers is fall accidents. Not only do many ironworkers work at elevated heights, but they are also prone to trip and fall and slip and fall accidents because of the kind of equipment they have to work with and around. They also risk serious injuries from getting hit by falling construction materials. Dangerous power tools can also cause painful injuries. The Bureau of Labor Statistics considers ironworkers to have one of the most dangerous jobs in the US—all the more reason why the proper safety measures must be in place.

As an injured ironworker, you likely won’t be able to sue your employer for personal injury. If so, then you should receive Illinois workers’ compensation for your work injuries and other related costs. You can also file third party lawsuit against individuals and entities that are not your employer but were responsible for your injuries.

Ironworker falls through grate floor, sues over injuries, The Record, April 30, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Center to Protect Workers’ Rights

Bureau of Labor Statistics

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April 29, 2010

“Chimp Bill” Gives Workers’ Compensation Coverage to Cops Injured by Animals

Our Chicago workers’ compensation lawyers like to bring our readers information and updates about work injury news-related updates from other US states.

Yesterday, in Connecticut, the state’s Senate overwhelmingly passed what is being called the “chimp bill.” The bill expands police officers workers’ compensation rights in that it lets cops that were hurt when using deadly force against an animal obtain work injury benefits.

Supporters of the bill believes that such a law is necessary. It wasn’t that long ago that Officer Frank Chiafari was denied workers’ compensation for the trauma he suffered after fatally shooting Travis, a 200-pound chimp in February 2009. If you’ll recall, the incident made national headlines because Travis ended up severely mauling Charla Nash, who is now severely disfigured.

After attacking Nash, the chimp tried to attack Chiafari and that is when the police officer shot him. Following the tragic chimp mauling, Chiafari says he experienced crippling anxiety and depression. Not only was he traumatized by his encounter with the enraged, 200-pound chimp, but he was also severely disturbed by seeing Nash’s mauled body and face. The 53-year-old cop, who is married with three kids, says that following the chip attack, he would look at women and imagine that their faces were missing.

Chiafari sought therapy for his trauma and filed a workers’ compensation claim, which was denied. The city of Stamford eventually agreed to cover his therapy bills, but only after police and union officials intervened.

This bill lets cops receive workers’ compensation for injuries sustained while hurting or killing an animal.

Chicago, Illinois Workers’ Compensation
Just because your workers’ compensation claim was denied doesn’t mean that you should give up. Disputes between injured employees and their insurers happen all the time. This is why it is important that you speak with an Illinois workers’ compensation law firm who can fight for your right to receive work injury benefits.

'Chimp Bill' Passes Through Senate, EyeWitness News 3, April 29, 2010

After Shooting Chimp, a Police Officer’s Descent, New York Times, February 24, 2010


Related Web Resources:
Police: Pet chimpanzee, Travis, attacks woman in Stamford, NY Daily News, February 17, 2009

Workers' Compensation, Nolo

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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

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April 22, 2010

Ex-County Sheriff Takes Workers’ Compensation Dispute to Court

Michael S. Carona, the former sheriff of Orange County, California, is taking his workers’ compensation case against the county to court. Carona is seeking to receive benefits for injuries he sustained during a car accident while on the job.

According to his workers’ compensation claim, Carona hurt his lower back when the unmanned vehicle that he was a passenger in rear-ended another auto. The driver that crashed the car was an investigator who had picked Carona up for work.

Following the car crash, Carona filed his workers’ compensation claim, which was accepted. It wasn’t until last month that he filed an application to take the case to court because there appears to be a dispute with the county over his claim.

Police Officer Injuries
Many police officers risk injury and death while doing their job. If you or someone you love is a Chicago police officer that was hurt in a work accident, it is important to file the Illinois workers’ compensation claim right away. It is also a good idea to speak with a Chicago workers’ compensation law firm to make sure that you receive everything that you are owed by your employer’s insurer.

Common police officer injuries:
• Dog bite injuries
• Gunshot injuries
• Stabbing injuries
• Slip and fall injuries
• Car crash injuries
• Severe trauma and emotional injuries

These injuries can be very painful and you may be forced to take time off work while you recover. The last thing that you need to worry about is how to pay your medical bills and other living expenses. There also may be third parties that you can hold liable for your Chicago personal injuries.

Carona pursues workers’ comp claim against county, The Orange County Register, January 20, 2010


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

Your Right to Workers' Compensation Benefits, Nolo

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April 15, 2010

Wendy’s Restaurant Employee Who Hugged Worker Before Getting Hurt Entitled to Workers’ Compensation

A state appeals court says that Danielle Wood is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Wood was injured on January 29, 2008 after her shift at a Wendy’s had ended.

She had just clocked out and was walking toward to rear exit when she saw co-manager Delilah Stroud leaning against a Frosty machine. Wood stopped and used one arm to hug her. She was then was injured in a fall accident after stepping away from Stroud.

Wood, who has had to undergo knee surgery and physical therapy, filed a workers’ compensation claim. An administrative law judge determined that Wood wasn’t entitled to work injury benefits because her shift had ended, she wasn’t required to hug Stroud, and she could have gone straight to the exit. The state’s Workers’ Compensation Commission went on adopt the judge’s findings.

Now, however, a three-judge panel has reversed the commissions ruling and ordered that Wood receive her work injury benefits. The court’s opinion noted that because Wood had to go through a walkway that was two feet wide to leave the restaurant, she did not stray from her exit path when she paused to hug Stroud. The court also said that even if Wood had deviated from her employment duties when hugging Stroud, the fall accident happened after the embrace, not during, which means that when she got hurt she was in the middle of performing employment services while attempting to leave the restaurant.

Chicago, Illinois Workers’ Compensation
Unfortunately, disputes can arise between a worker filing a Chicago workers’ compensation claim and an employee. The disagreement may have to be worked out in arbitration, before the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, or in court. Some workers’ compensation cases have even made their way all the way to the Illinois Supreme Court.

Court: Co-Workers’ Hug No Reason To Deny Compensation, SWTImes, April 16, 2010

Read the Opinion (PDF)

Related Web Resource:
Workers' Compensation, Justia

Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission

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March 31, 2010

OSHA Discovers Safety and Health Violations at Evansville Regional Airport Air Traffic Control Tower

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says that during a recent inspection, it discovered four serious and four repeat safety and health violations at the Evansville Regional Airport’s air traffic control tower. Serious violations included the failure to conduct yearly fire drills, not putting up a diagram of emergency exit routes, failure to correctly ground an electrical outlet, and not identifying when doors were not exits. Repeat violations included the failure to test the stair pressurization system, not making sure that exit routes were unobstructed, and missing or inadequate fire prevention and emergency action plans.

These type of violations can result in burn injuries, electrocution injuries, other serious injuries, or death. Employees are supposed to provide workers with a safe environment that decreases the chances of injuries or fatalities. However, whether or not your employer contributed to causing your work injuries should not affect your right to receive Chicago, Illinois workers’ compensation. It is important that you file your work injury claim as soon as possible to prevent any delay in getting your benefits.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Under Illinois workers’ compensation law, you are entitled to receive needed first aid, medical care, and hospital services to treat, cure, and relieve your work injury or illness. Rehabilitation services, when warranted, are also covered. If you must take time off from work while you recover from your injuries, then you should receive Temporary Total Disability Benefits. TTD is 66 2/3% of a worker’s gross average weekly wage. Overtime pay is usually not factored in except for under the Workers’ Occupational Disease Act.

In the event that a work injury results in partial or complete loss or loss of use of a body part or the partial loss of use of the body as a whole the worker may be entitled to Permanent Partial Disability Benefits. Loss of both arms, legs, feet, eyes, or any two such parts or the permanent loss of the ability to do any kind of work in a stable, reasonable, employable market entitles a worker to Permanent Total Disability Benefits for life. This is usually 662 2/3% of the workers’ gross average weekly income.

OSHA Finds Illinois Airport Tower Trafficking in Unsafe Conditions, Occupational Health and Safety, March 31, 2010

Workers' Compensation, Chicago Workers' Compensation Lawyer Blog


Related Web Resources:
Air Traffic Controllers

Evansville Regional Airport

Occupational Safety and Health Administration, United States Department of Labor

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March 30, 2010

Ex-Cop Awarded Workers’ Compensation for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

A judge has awarded a former police officer $13,165 in workers’ compensation. John Forte was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after he was involved in a shootout on August 25, 2008. The gunman died and another cop suffered injuries.

Forte did not sustain any physical injuries. However, he says that following the shooting, he suffered nightmares and has relived the incident about 1,000 times in his head. He says his career as a police officer is over.

His workers’ compensation claim was denied. The award issued by the judge covers about 26 weeks of disability pay.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
This anxiety disorder can be set off by a traumatic episode. Merely witnessing a traumatic event can lead to PTSD.

People with PTSD can take months or even years to bounce back from the effects of the trauma inflicted upon them. In certain cases, it may take years after an incident for PTSD symptoms to occur.

Symptoms of PTSD:
• Flashbacks
• Bad dreams about the traumatic incident
• Periodically reliving the event
• Emotional numbness
• Becoming unwilling to deal with what happened
• Sense of hopelessness
• Avoiding certain activities
• Problems with concentration
• Intimacy issues
• Anger
• Guilty
• Irritability
• Shame
• Self-destruction
• Easily frightened
• Sleep issues

PTSD-related complications can include depression, alcoholism, drug addiction, suicidal tendencies, eating disorders, relationship problems, job issues, an inability to enjoy everyday life, chronic pain, cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal issues, and autoimmune disease.

Chicago, Illinois Workers’ Compensation
Following your Cook County work accident that resulted in injuries, you should file your Chicago, Illinois workers’ compensation claim as soon as possible.

Former Police Officer in Arkansas Awarded Benefits for Stress Disorder, Claims Journal, March 30, 2010

Jacksonville Officer John Forte awarded benefits for stress disorder, Today STHV, March 30, 2010

Post-traumatic stress disorder, MayoClinic


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

National Center for PTSD

Documents related to John Forte's case, Arkansas Online

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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

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March 24, 2010

Worker who Filed Illinois Workers’ Compensation Claim Says Olin Brass Then Fired Him

William Worthen Jr., is suing his former employer. Worthen claims that Olin Brass let him go because he submitted an Illinois workers’ compensation claim. He filed his complaint against GBC Metal.

Worthen says that he sustained his work injury on January 3, 2010. He then filed for Illinois workers’ compensation benefits. He says that it was after this that Olin Brass fired him—even though the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act makes it illegal for employers to fire workers for this reason.

Worthen is seeking over $100,000 plus costs. He says that because he was fired, not only did he lose benefits and income, but he also experienced mental pain and anguish.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation
If you were fired because you filed for Illinois workers’ compensation, you may have a retaliatory discharge claim on your hands. If you were fired for a reason unrelated to your work injury, your employer must still pay you the benefits that you are owed.

Just this January, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that employers must still pay work injury benefits to a worker even if he/she was fired for reasons not related to the injury. For example, if a fired worker is still temporarily disabled because of a work injury, then the employee should still be getting workers’ compensation benefits.

Getting injured on the job and, in many cases, not being able to work is hard enough without worrying about medical bills, living expenses, and the loss of benefits. Do not give up on receiving the Chicago, Illinois workers’ compensation you are owed just because your employer denied you your benefits.

Olin Brass worker claims he was fired after applying for work comp, Madison Record, March 24, 2010

Interstate Scaffolding Inc. v. Illinois Workers' Compensation Comm'n, Illinois Supreme Court (PDF)

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

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March 20, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Back Injuries, Medline Plus


Related Web Resources:
How to Prevent Back Injuries

Preventing Back Injuries in Healthcare Settings, CDC


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

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March 19, 2010

Teacher’s Workers’ Compensation Claim for Electrical Accident May Be Under Dispute

The workers’ compensation claim of a middle school teacher who was injured in an electrical accident last February may be under dispute, claims her lawyer. Kristy Ejazk, a teacher at Pearson Middle School, suffered shock-related and burn injuries to her hand when she was injured by a light switch during an electrical shock accident.

Ejazk was taking kids back from an art class last February when the work accident happened. A loose screw had caused the light switch to come into contact with an interior metal junction box.

Following the incident, school was closed so that an investigation could take place. Grounding insulation was added to the light switches.

Ejazk was treated at a burn center for her injuries. Although she took time off work following the electrical accident, she is back teaching school and has been wearing a protective glove over her hand.

While the workers’ compensation claim has not been officially denied, the school district’s insurance carrier has submitted a form to indicate that there may be differences in opinion over some issues related to the work accident. However, Ejazk has been getting workers’ compensation for related medical costs, as well as wages and benefits for when she took time off work to recover.

Chicago, Illinois Workers’ Compensation
In the event that your workers’ compensation claim is denied or there is a disagreement with your employer about how much you are owed, it is important that you not give up your right to receive your work injury benefits.

Lawyer: Burned Winsted teacher's workers compensation claim disputed, The Register Citizen, March 19, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Electrical Injuries

Electrical Burns, MayoClinic

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March 12, 2010

Your Employer Cannot Fire You For Submitting an Illinois Workers' Compensation Claim

A former B & J employee is suing B&J Food Service Equipment for letting her go after she applied for Illinois work injury benefits. Debra S. Frakes says she was let go on June 12. She claims that her termination caused her to lose wages and benefits, as well as experience suffering, pain, mental anguish, humiliation, and loss of enjoyment of life.

She is seeking over $50,000 in compensatory damages and punitive damages.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation
You cannot get fired for submitting an Illinois workers’ compensation claim for injury benefits. Unfortunately, some injured workers don’t realize this and may suffer in silence while paying the financial and emotional costs.

You should file your workers’ compensation claim immediately so that you can start getting your benefits. This should alleviate some of the financial pressure that can build up from medical expenses, rehabilitation, time off from work, and other related costs.

You work hard and you shouldn’t have to suffer financially because an injury occurred while you were doing your job. According to some studies, workers’ compensation claimants who seek out their benefits without legal help are more likely to get less than employees that hired a Chicago, Illinois workers’ compensation law firm.

Remember, you cannot sue your employer for personal injury, and the law entitles you to compensation for your work injuries. There is no reason why you cannot make sure you are given the maximum compensation that you are owed.

Work comp claim prompted firing, woman says, The Record, March 5, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Illinois Workers' Compensation Forum

Workers' Compensation, Nolo

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March 10, 2010

16 Workers and the Widow of One of the Six Employees Killed in Kleen Energy Plant Blast File Their Workers’ Compensation Claims

One month after a catastrophic blast at the Kleen Energy Plant injured 17 workers and killed 6 other employees, 16 of the injured workers and the widow of one of the workers that died have filed their workers’ compensation claims for benefits. The deadly explosion happened at midday on February 8, causing damage to the plant, as well as to several nearby homes. Investigators believe that natural gas had pooled outside the power building and exploded.

Because the pipes going to the large turbines were being purged, natural gas was pumping through the lines at a high pressure. Investigators want to know why the workers that weren’t involved in the purging were in the building when, per industry guidelines, they should have been evacuated.

Among the workers who were injured were four Keystone Construction employees, a Securitas security guard, two Ducci Electric of Torrington employees, and 10 United/Anco Services carpenters. One Keystone worker, 59-year-old Charles Sposito, says he injured his knee and shoulder and sustained a concussion. Sposito was thrown against a wall as a natural gas pipe exploded. Another Keystone employee, 37-year-old Anthony J. Laudano, says he injured his back during the blast and has suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the work accident. Many of the carpenters, sustained ear, eye, and head injuries.

Chicago, Illinois Workers’ Compensation
It is important that you file your work injury claim for benefits as soon as you can. This will increase the chances that you get your Illinois workers’ compensation sooner rather than later. Unfortunately, many injured Illinois workers don’t file their claims or agree to get paid far less than what they are entitled to receive.

Injured Workers, Widow File Compensation Claims In Kleen Energy Plant Explosion, Courant.com, March 5, 2010

Kleen Energy Connecticut Power Plant Blast Kills 5, Injures 12, Business Week/Bloomberg, February 7, 2010

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

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February 27, 2010

Cop Says He Was Denied Workers’ Compensation Claim For Post-Traumatic Stress After He Shot Chimpanzee that Attacked Woman

The cop that fatally shot Travis the chimp after he tore off the hands and face of Charla Nash last year says he was denied workers’ compensation for his post-traumatic stress because the assailant was an animal. The city later consented to pay for some of Officer Frank Chiafari’s medical bills, but he says that he continues to remain traumatized over the incident and suffers from terrible visions and anxiety.

Nash was brutally attacked by the 200-pound animal in February 2009. She nearly died and remains severely disfigured and nearly died. She lost her nose, eyes, and jaws and wears a vail so that people don’t get scared when they see her. In addition to her traumatic facial injuries, Nash lost both hands.

At a Labor and Public Employees Committee meeting last week, Chiafari recounted how the chimp nearly attacked him. The police officer was testifying in favor a bill that would let police officer receive workers compensation for post-traumatic stress caused by shooting an animal on the attack. Under the proposed legislation, the police officer can use deadly force against the animal if he/she reasonably believed that the threat of physical injury or death was imminent.

Chicago, Illinois Workers’ Compensation
If you are a Chicago cop, you are entitled to Illinois workers’ compensation in the event that you are injured on the job. If your Chicago work injury claim was delayed or denied, do not hesitate to contact the Law Offices of Steven J. Malman & Associates, PC immediately.

Cop who shot marauding chimp says workers' comp law a 'farce', Theday.com, February 26, 2010

Charla Nash, Chimp Attack Victim, Shows Face On "Oprah" (PHOTOS), The Huffington Post, November 11, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Chicago Police Department

National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund

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February 25, 2010

SeaWorld Trainer Dies in Fatal Killer Whale Attack

A SeaWorld trainer died on Wednesday after a killer whale attacked her. The tragic work accident happened at SeaWorld’s Shamu Stadium in Orlando, Florida.

Dawn Brancheau, 40, was in the whale holding area lecturing hundreds of visitors about the display, when, according to one witness, Tillikum the whale approached the side of the tank, jumped up, and grabbed her by the waist.

Paula Gillespie, who was at the Dine with Shamu show with her daughter, told CNN that the killer whale pulled the trainer into the tank where she struggled during the attack. Another woman that also saw the show said the trainers were having a hard time getting the whales to perform.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals claims that the tragic work accident could have been prevented if only SeaWorld didn’t keep oceangoing mammals confined in spaces that are the “size of a bathtub.” The group says that considering that such smart animals are repeatedly called on to “perform silly tricks,” it is no wonder that they might lash out.

Brancheau died from drowning and multiple traumatic injuries. Her death isn’t the first accident involving a killer whale at SeaWorld. A trainer was hospitalized in 2006 after a whale grabbed him and held him under. In 1999, a 27-year-old man who climbed into the tank after the park had closed died in what was called “horseplay” involving Tillikum.

Chicago, Illinois Workers’ Compensation Benefits
If your loved one died in a Chicago work accident, you may be entitled to Illinois workers’ compensation death benefits. It is important that you file your claim right away.

SeaWorld trainer killed by killer whale, CNN, February 24, 2010

Autopsy says SeaWorld trainer died of drowning, traumatic injuries, USA Today, February 25, 2010

Related Web Resources:
SeaWorld

Killer Whales, National Geographic

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February 22, 2010

Court Tells Wal-Mart to Pay Workers’ Compensation to Employee Who Was Exposed to Carbon Monoxide

A state appeals court is ordering Wal-Mart stores Inc. to pay workers’ compensation benefits to a worker who was injured when he was exposed to carbon monoxide while on the job. Donald Greg Wells sustained his injuries in 2005 while in a freezer at a Wal-Mart distribution center.

Wells says that the carbon monoxide came from welding machinery and generators that were being used to renovate the freezer, which was nonventilated. Following the work accident, he filed a workers’ compensation claim to obtain work injury benefits from his employer and sued the two contractors involved in the renovation.

Wells received a $900,000 award from his third party claim. It was at this point that Wal-Mart contended that Wells should only recover from either the civil case or the workers’ compensation claim.

The state’s Workers’ Compensation Board and an administrative law judge disagreed with Wal-Mart. The judge awarded Wells almost $441,000 in medical costs and income. The appellate court agreed with the judge’s ruling and said because Wal-Mart should receive a $126,811 subrogation credit, the company should pay wells approximately $317,000.

Carbon Monoxide Exposure
Exposure to CO, a colorless, odorless, and toxic gas can kill you. A person may not even realize the gas has infiltrated the air before the damage is done. Exposure to lower levels of CO can cause flu-like symptoms, such as dizziness, headaches, nausea, disorientation, and fatigue.

Chicago, Illinois Workers’ Compensation
If you were injured at work, you are likely entitled to Chicago, Illinois workers’ compensation benefits. This does not preclude you from filing a third party lawsuit against any other negligent party that is not your employer.

Kentucky court upholds workers comp for Wal-Mart employee, Business Insurance, February 22, 2010

Carbon Monoxide, US Environmental Protection Agency

Related Web Resources:
US Department of Labor

Wal-Mart

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February 20, 2010

Remember to File Your Chicago, Illinois Workers’ Compensation Claim if You are Suffering from an Occupational Disease

Every year, per American Family Physician, hundreds of thousands of workers become afflicted with occupational diseases. Tens of thousands of these workers will die as a result. It is important that you make sure that you receive all your work illness benefits that you are owed. Our Chicago, Illinois workers’ compensation lawyers can help you explore your legal options.

Unfortunately, diagnosing occupational illnesses sometimes take awhile. A worker may not want to link his/her affliction to work for fear of not being able to make a living. Also, it can take years for some illnesses' symptoms to fully manifest.

Examples of some health conditions linked to occupational exposure:

• Carpal tunnel syndrome
• Asthma
• Chronic encephalopathy
• Cervical strain
• Interstitial fibrosis
• Hearing loss
• Infections that are transmitted orally or fecally
• Lung cancer
• Contact dermatitis
• Spontaneous abortion
• Birth defects
• Liver cancer
• Coronary disease
• Upper air irritation

The kind of occupational disease a worker can suffer from will, of course, depend on the conditions and environment the worker is exposed to on the job.

You would be surprised at the kind of occupations that can lead to occupational injuries and illnesses. For example:

• Computer work
• Letter sorting
• Mining
• Baking
• Plating
• Farming
• Teaching
• Health care work
• Prison work
• Animal care
• Construction
• Forestry

Unfortunately, problems can arise when availing of your work injury benefits. This is where an experienced Chicago, Illinois workers’ compensation lawyer can step in.

Recognizing Occupational Disease -- Taking an Effective Occupational History, American Family Physician


Related Web Resources:
Occupational Safety and Health Administration

Illinois Workers' Compensation Act

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February 11, 2010

Refinery Worker Claims His Filing for Workers’ Compensation Led to His Dismissal

A refinery worker says he was fired after he filed a claim for workers’ compensation even though the company that he worked for is supposed to provide these benefits to workers injured on the job. Eduardo Perez, a refinery worker, filed his lawsuit against Starcon International Inc.

Pedraza says he sustained his work injury while lifting a heavy slap of sheet metal weighing at least 100 pounds at a BP Refinery. The injury required him to constantly be under doctor care. In his lawsuit, he claims that when he was finally able to go back to work, Oziel Gonzalez told him that he had lost his job.

Working in a refinery can be hard and dangerous work. Refinery workers are constantly working in and around hazardous situations that can cause serious and painful, life changing injuries in an event of an accident.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation
Most workers are not allowed to sue their employers for personal injury, which is one of the reasons Illinois workers’ compensation benefits exist. Workers’ compensation is supposed to cover medical costs while providing wages to the employee while he or she recovers. Depending on the seriousness of the injuries, other benefits may apply. Workers do not have to prove liability on their employers’ part and they should never be fired for seeking to avail of their work injury benefits. Unfortunately, some insurers and employers will try to get out of paying these benefits to an injured worker.

It is important that you know about your legal rights.

Refinery worker claims heavy lifting caused injury, SexTexasRecord, February 4, 2010


Related Web Resources:
Your right to workers' compensation

Illinois Industrial Commission

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February 9, 2010

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

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

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

A Few Steps to Prevent Injuries When Using a Computer:

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

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

Computer Workstation Ergonomics, CDC


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

Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

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February 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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February 5, 2010

WCRI Reports that Illinois Workers’ Compensation Medical Costs Per Claim are Higher than the Average

According to the Workers Compensation Research Institute, Illinois’ workers’ compensation expenses per claim for medical care are on the higher end of the spectrum compared to the costs for the same kind of claims in other US states. WCRI’s study also found that after hitting growth rates in the double digits prior to 2005, the increase in medical costs per claim went down in ’07- ’08 and—just as it has in past years—indemnity benefits/claims involving workers that had to miss over seven days of work grew 7% in ’07- ’08.

The growth in indemnity benefits can be attributed to a 6% rise in the length of temporary disability “and a 5% increase in the average permanent partial disability (PPD)/lump-sum payment per PPD/lump-sum claim.” With total costs per all paid Illinois workers’ compensation claims at $11,224/claim in ’05 – ‘08, the WCRI says these paid for claims were among the highest compared to the other states that were included in the study. Also, more injured workers in Illinois missed over a week of work and/or missed work an average of 20 weeks in ’05 -‘08—4 weeks more than the injured workers missed in other non-wage-loss states. Illinois ranked in the middle when it came to average lump-sum workers’ compensation settlements per claim.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation
If you are an injured worker, it is important that you are familiar with your right to receive Illinois workers’ compensation benefits. In most cases involving work-related injuries, you cannot sue your employer for personal injury—although you may have grounds for filing a third party Chicago injury lawsuit. It will be very important for you to receive all of the work injury benefits that your employer owes you.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation Medical Costs Per Claim among Highest, but Growth Slowed, New WCRI Study Reports, Earth Times, February 1, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Workers Compensation Research Institute

Illinois Workers' Compensation Act

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February 1, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sciatica, Mayo Clinic

Related Web Resources:
Spine

Herniated Disc, WebMD

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January 29, 2010

Construction Worker Killed in Forklift Accident

A construction worker died today after he was run over by a forklift. The construction accident took place at a work site at a children’s hospital. The 30-year-old worker was pronounced dead at the accident scene.

Forklift Accidents
Forklifts are used at many work areas in the US on a daily basis. This heavy piece of machinery must be operated correctly and workers in the vicinity must be careful that they don’t get in its way. Unfortunately, forklift accidents are not uncommon and cause a number of US worker fatalities every year.

Some Common Kinds of Work Accidents Involving Forklifts:
• A worker gets hit by a forklift
• A forklift tips over to land on a worker
• A load that falls off a forklift lands on a worker
• The operator loses control of the forklift, which runs over another worker


Some Common Causes of Forklift Accidents:
• The operator does not know how to use a forklift correctly
• Improper safety procedures
• A forklift malfunction that was caused by poor maintenance or a part defect
• The operator loses control of the forklift
• Overloaded forklifts
• Inadequate operator training
• Lack of proper communication among workers and supervisors


Examples of Serious Injuries Caused by Forklift Accidents:
• Crush injuries
• Broken bones
• Spinal cord injuries
• Internal injuries

An experience Chicago construction accident law firm can help you determine who should be held liable for your for Illinois forklift accident case. In addition to filing third party lawsuits against the responsible parties that are not your employer, you will want your employers’ insurer to pay you your Illinois workers’ compensation benefits.

Construction Worker Run Over, Killed by Forklift, MyFoxPhoenix, January 29, 2010


Related Web Resources:
Occupational Safety and Health Administration

Illinois Department of Labor

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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

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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

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January 22, 2010

Truck Worker Says Company Fired Him for Filing for Workers’ Compensation Benefits

A former employee is suing Metro Truck and Trailer Repair for compensatory damages, punitive damages, unpaid overtime pay, liquidated damages, and other costs. Stephen Ryan says that his former employer fired him because he filed a workers’ compensation claim. He is also accusing the trucking company of not properly paying workers for all of their overtime hours.

Ryan says he got hurt on the job on December 5, 2008. He says he told the foreman he would need to take time off so he could undergo surgery. Ryan claims that the foreman then started treated him in a less favorable manner than the other employees. He also allegedly told one of Ryan’s coworkers that he was planning on firing him.

Ryan had to tell his boss in July 2009 that he needed more time off because of his work injury. In August, the truck company fired him.

Ryan claims that his rights under the state’s Workers’ Compensation Act were not upheld and as a result, he suffered distress, mental suffering, and humiliation. He also says he lost wages.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act
Under state law, a worker cannot be fired for availing of his Illinois workers’ compensation benefits. Employees are protected from personal injury lawsuits from workers injured on the job. They should, however, pay the workers’ compensation that an injured employee is entitled to under state law. Unfortunately, an employer/insurer may offer reasons for why you shouldn’t receive your work injury benefits. This is unfortunate for the worker, who must take time off work, resulting in reduced or no pay, and deal with costly medical expenses.

Metro Truck worker claims retaliatory discharge, unpaid overtime, Madison Record, January 21, 2010

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

Workplace Injury, Illness, and Fatality Statistics

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January 21, 2010

Chocolate plant owners sued over wrongful death of worker who fell into melting vat

The family of a man who died after he fell in a melting vat while employed as a temporary worker is suing the owners of the chocolate plant where the fatal work accident happened for his wrongful death. Vincent Smith II was fatally injured on July 8, 2009.

He was placing raw cocoa into a giant melting tank when he fell into it and was hit on the head by a rotating panel. The hot liquid chocolate in the vat was 120 degrees.

According to the plaintiffs, there were no guardrails around the melting vat, which had slippery melted chocolate around it. They also say that there were no warning signs, an easily accessible shutoff valve, and or rescue gear. The family’s wrongful death lawyer said Smith was “invited into a death trap” and did not stand a chance of survival once he fell in. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Cocoa Services and Lyons for failing to install warning signs and railings over the tanks.

Lyons and Sons, Inc. and Cocoa Services are among the numerous defendants named in the wrongful death lawsuit.

Workers’ Compensation and Third Party Lawsuits
Most workers are entitled to Illinois workers’ compensation benefits, which include payment of medical benefits, as well as pay for permanent total disability, permanent partial disability, and temporary total disability. An experienced Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer can make sure you receive all the work injury benefits that you are owed.

Although you cannot sue your employer for personal injury, you may be able to sue liable third parties that are not your employer. This is a matter that a Chicago injury attorney can help you figure out.

Suit filed in death at chocolate plant, Philly.com, January 12, 2010

Factory Worker Dies After Falling Into Vat of Chocolate, FoxNews, July 8, 2009


Related Web Resources:
Illinois Industrial Commission

OSHA

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January 19, 2010

Workers’ Compensation Indemnity Costs are Lower for Older Workers, Says National Council on Compensation Insurance

According to a new study by the National Council on Compensation Insurance, the workers’ compensation indemnity expenses for workers over the age of 64 are usually lower than they are for younger workers, who are generally paid more. The NCCI has put together a detailed report on workers’ compensation injury claims by older workers. Among its findings:

• Since the ‘80’s, there has been a nearly 50% increase in the number of workers ages 65 and older.

• This worker age demographic is expected to increase in the wake of the current economic crisis.

• Better health is another reason why there are more older workers that have either opted to keep working or go back to work.

• This older worker age group makes up just under 5% of worker injury and illness cases.

• Trip and fall accidents, slip and fall accidents, and fall accidents on the job were the most common cause of injury to older workers. NCCI is recommending that employers provide better lighting, handrails, and slip-resistant flooring to decrease the number of work accidents.

• Medical severity tends to be higher for older employees.

If you were injured or got sick while doing job, you should file your Illinois workers’ compensation claim right away. It doesn’t matter whether you, another party, or your employer caused your work accident or illness. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act entitles most employees to work injury benefits for injuries and sicknesses.

Our Chicago, Illinois workers’ compensation lawyers are committed to making sure that our clients receive all of the benefits that they are owed and that there are no unnecessary payment delays.


Workers Over 65 Have Lower Comp Indemnity Cost, NCCI Finds, Property-Casualty.com, January 18, 2010

Read the Full Report (PDF)


Related Web Resources:
Workers' Compensation, Nolo

US Department of Labor

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January 14, 2010

Appeals Court Says Worker Injured During Coffee Run is Eligible for Workers’ Compensation Benefits

According to an appeals court, a master plumber who broke his legs and an arm when he was involved in a car crash is eligible to receive full workers’ compensation benefits. Jesse Cooper Sr., employed by Barnickel Enterprises Inc., went for a coffee run while waiting to meet with a union instructor, who was busy teaching a class, about a work project. During the five-mile drive to get coffee, Cooper was involved in a traffic crash.

Barnickel did not want to pay Cooper workers’ compensation benefits and argued that the work injury did not occur during and as a result of work. Rather, the company claimed that Cooper was injured while attending to a personal errand, for which, per the state’s Supreme Court, disallows work injury benefits.

However, Workers’ Compensation Judge Bradley Henson says that the foreman was taking part in the kind of activity that someone in his job would likely engage in. Henson also noted that because Cooper was participating in a “mission” for his employer by going to meet with the union instructor, his work accident thereby falls under the workers’ compensation act’s “going-and-coming rule.”

The appeals court’s ruling upholds Henson’s conclusion that Cooper was entitled to go on a coffee break while waiting to meet with the union instructor. Judge Edwin Stern also noted that considering the amount of time Cooper had to wait to meet with the instructor and the fact that the area he was in was a rural one, the five-mile distance that he drove to the coffee shop was reasonable.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation
There are a variety of reasons a company and/or its insurance firm might give to an injured worker for why he/she is not entitled to receive Illinois workers’ compensation benefits. Do not take these claims at face value.

Employee Injured in Five-Mile Drive for Coffee Is Eligible for Workers' Comp, Law.com, January 14, 2010

Read the Opinion (PDF)


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

Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

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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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January 9, 2010

Movie Actor Sylvester Stallone Says He Broke His Neck During Fight Scene

Movie star Sylvester Stallone says he had to undergo serious surgery after he broke his neck while shooting a fight scene for his new film “The Expendables.” The 63-year-old action star says that doctors had to insert a metal plate in his neck to treat his work injury, which he sustained during a fight scene with Stone Cold Steve Austin.

Contrary to how easy actors make their job look onstage and on film, acting is a lot of hard work and can be very physically demanding. It can also lead to injuries whether you are a stunt double, an action hero, a stage actor, a standup comedian, a dancer, or an extra. Slip and fall injuries, vocal injuries, injuries from falling or malfunctioning props, stunt-related injuries, sunburns, fatigue, back injuries, neck injuries, and even death can result during an actor-related accident.

Also, although it is just the actors that viewers see on camera and onstage, there are many behind the scene workers who work very hard to make any film or theaterical production happen. Production assistants, the director, producers, writers, stagehands, camera persons, lighting crew, and other workers can also get hurt while doing their job in a studio or at the theater. Fortunately, most film, TV, and theater professionals are entitled to Illinois workers’ compensation in the event of work-related injury, illness, or death.

Unfortunately, there are employers and insurers who will attempt to deny an employee the work injury benefits that he/she is owed. This is unfortunate and can make recovery much more difficult and costly for the injured worker.

Stallone injured neck making 'Expendables', UPI.com, January 6, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Illinois Workers' Compensation Act

Screen Actors Guild

American Federation of Radio and Television Artists

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January 5, 2010

Nursing Home Worker Says She Was Let Go After Filing Illinois Workers’ Compensation Claim

A nursing home worker says she was fired from her job at Calvin Johnson’s Nursing Home after she filed an Illinois workers’ compensation claim. She is suing Eldercare for over $100,000 plus costs.

Tracy Perkins says the nursing home company fired her after she was injured on the job and sought to avail of her work injury benefits. In her civil lawsuit, she accuses the defendant of acting wrongfully when she was deprived of her rights under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act.

As a result of her firing, Perkins contends that she lost benefits and income, and her reputation was damaged. She also says she suffered mental anguish.

Nursing home workers can get hurt on the job. The Bureau of Labor Statistics ranks the nursing and personal care industry high among the industries where workers have a high injury rate. Common injuries include:

• Musculoskeletal injuries
• Back injuries
• Shoulder injuries
• Needlestick-related injuries
• Injuries from patient violence
• Contagious illnesses

Most employers are obligated by law to provide Illinois workers’ compensation to employees. This means that if an employee is injured at work, he or she should receive work injury benefits, including medical benefits and lost income. Employers are not allowed to fire workers for filing an Illinois workers’ compensation claim.

While an assisted living facility may not seem to be as dangerous an environment as a construction site, nursing workers who work with sick or mentally ill patients that may be prone to violence risk getting illness and sustaining injuries when doing their jobs. Unsanitary conditions and hazards at a facility can also cause work injuries and health issues.

Eldercare worker says she was fired after filing work comp claim, The Record, January 5, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Staffing and Worker Injury in Nursing Homes, AJPH Publications

Illinois Workers' Compensation Act (PDF)

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December 31, 2009

As Year Ends, Wall and Scaffolding Collapses Cause Construction Accident Injuries and Deaths

Three construction workers were injured today when a wall collapsed on them. The workers were pouring foundation on a house being built when the construction accident happened. All three construction workers were transported to the hospital. Two of them reportedly sustained serious injuries.

On Wednesday, four people were hurt when the 20-foot aluminum plank they were standing on collapsed, causing them to fall to the ground. Their injuries are serious.

The workers were doing roof work when the construction accident happened. According to one police officer, the brackets used to attach the plank to the exterior of the building were not properly secured.

Also on Wednesday, a construction worker died when he was hit by a beam while working on a site at an air force base. The worker, Brian Lowry, was reportedly on an I-beam some 20 feet off the ground when another I-beam that a crane was lowering hit him.

In another construction accident, construction workers William Day, Jr. and Joshua Champney sustained injuries when an 18-foot wall collapsed, pinning them. Champney sustained minor back injuries while Day fractured his pelvis. Day will have to undergo surgery.

According to police, the braces that are supposed to hold the wood wall may have given way. The workers were putting up the preconstructed section of home under construction when the wall fell.

Falling construction materials, scaffolding and wall collapses, trench collapses, and fall accidents from significant heights can cause serious injuries to construction workers. As an injured construction worker, you should file your Illinois workers’ compensation claim immediately and speak with a Chicago construction accident lawyer about your legal options for obtaining financial recovery from third parties.

Two construction workers injured after wall collapse, Taunton Daily Gazette, December 31, 2009

3 Injured In Construction Accident, WFSB, December 31, 2009

Worker For Atlanta Company Killed In S.C., CBS Atlanta, December 31, 2009

Westbrook Scaffolding Collapse Injures Four, WMTW, December 29, 2009


Related Web Resources:
Construction Accidents, Justia

OSHA

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December 30, 2009

Excavator Operator Killed During Construction Accident at Illinois State University Campus

A construction worker died on Christmas Day when part of a four-story stone column fell on the excavator that he was operating. The Illinois construction accident took place at Illinois State University.

The worker, 57-year-old Stephen White, worked for Stark Excavating Inc. According to authorities, the stone column that fell on the construction machinery weighed 18,000 pounds.

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration is investigating the cause of the catastrophic accident.

Construction Accidents
OSHA and the Department of Labor say that the most dangerous job sites in Illinois are construction sites. Construction injuries are often catastrophic. Over 200 construction workers are killed every year in construction accidents. Crush injuries, spinal cord injuries, and brain injuries can take years to recover from and for many injured construction workers, the injuries are permanent, leaving him/her unable to earn a living, physically impaired, and emotionally damaged. Some examples of other serious construction accident injuries include chemical burns, burn injuries, amputated legs, arms, or limbs, and blindness.

You may not be able to sue an employer for Chicago personal injury or wrongful death, but there may be other parties affiliated with the construction job that should be held liable in civil court, such as negligent construction machinery manufacturers, contractors, sub-contractors, construction firms, engineers, architects, and entities that are not directly affiliated with the project but contributed to causing the Chicago construction accident. You also are very likely entitled to Illinois workers' compensation.

Worker dies at ISU while removing collapsed column, Chicago Tribune, December 26, 2009

Equipment operator killed while trying to remove column at Hovey Hall, Pantagraph.com, December 25, 2009


Related Web Resources:
Construction Accident News, New York Times

Illinois Department of Labor

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December 29, 2009

Obese Workers Obtain Workers’ Compensation for Weight-Loss Surgery

In two recent workers’ compensation cases, decisions were issued in favor of obese workers who needed to undergo weight loss procedures after they were injured on the job. One work injury case, which went before the workers’ compensation board, involved an employer who was ordered to pay for the weight-loss surgery of a cook who sustained a back injury while on the job. The other workers’ compensation case, which also resulted in an employer being ordered to pay for an obese worker’s weigh-loss procedure (following a knee injury), went all the way up to the state Supreme Court.

According to Diane Stafford, the Kansas City Star’s workplace and career columnist, these rulings may be causing human resource consultants and employment law attorneys to warn employers about hiring people who suffer from obesity. Unfortunately, may prove to be another bias to toward overweight job applicants who are already worried that they might be discriminated against because of their appearance.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation
It doesn’t matter who or what cause your work injury. If your work entitles you to Illinois workers’ compensation benefits, your employer must pay them to you if you were injured on the job.

Common work-related injuries can include:

• Traumatic brain injuries
• Spinal cord injuries
• Repetitive strain injuries
• Carpal tunnel syndrome
• Back injuries
• Knee injuries
• Fractures
• Internal injuries
• Organ damages
• Illnesses from exposure to toxic substances
• Shoulder injuries
• Arm injuries
• Hand injuries
• Knee injuries
• Burn injuries
• Electrical injuries
• Fall injuries

Workers' comp boards rule for obese workers wanting weight-loss surgery, Tampa Bay, December 22, 2009

Injury/Illness Incidence Rates, OSHA


Related Web Resources:
Bureau of Labor Statistics

Illinois Workers' Compensation Act

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December 23, 2009

Court Upholds $70 Million in Workers’ Compensation Case Against Insurer

A court has affirmed the $70 million award plus interest that a jury awarded to Charles Tate in the workers’ compensation case he filed against Discovery Property Insurance Company, his employer’s insurer, and JI Specialty Services Inc., a claims adjuster.

Tate, a maintenance mechanic, sustained serious shoulder and neck injuries when he fell from a ladder while trimming trees at an apartment complex in 2003. Following the work accident, Tate was no longer able to engage in manual labor. He filed for workers’ compensation benefits from Discover. Six times the state Department of Insurance’s workers’ compensation unit agreed that the insurer needed to pay for Tate's retraining so he could become a real estate agent.

The insurer turned down two of his requests for supplemental income benefits. Tate succeeded in contesting the case, but the insurer appealed to the state’s workers’ compensation appeals panel, which affirmed that the maintenance worker was entitled to second and third quarter supplemental income benefits. In June, a District Court ordered the case back to trial court.

Earlier this month, a jury awarded Tate $70 million: $50 million in damages, $20 million in attorneys fees, $491,000 in prejudgment interest, and $2.5 million for court costs and legal fees if the case is appealed. The jury found that because the Discovery delayed paying Tate for rehabilitative job training, the maintenance mechanic suffered mental anguish. The jury also found that both defendants engaged in a deceptive and unfair act.

Texas Court Allows $70M Judgment in Workers' Comp Case to Stand, Insurance Journal, December 16, 2009

Hurt worker is awarded $70 million, My San Antonio News, December 2, 2009

Related Web Resource:
Your Right to Workers' Comp Benefits FAQ, Nolo

Illinois Workers Compensation Commission

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December 22, 2009

Construction Fall Accident Kills One Worker and Injures Another

A construction fall from the roof of a two-story house has left one worker dead and another with injuries. The roofer that died is 43-year-old John Nadeau. 36-year-old Michael Larochelle was taken to the hospital for treatment of his injuries.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and state and local officers are investigating the tragic construction accident. OSHA wants to find out whether the workers’ employer complied with safety standards when setting up the construction site.

The building that the workers fell from is described as a two-family residence. It was under renovation. Replacing the roof was one of the construction modifications that needed to be made.

As our Chicago, Illinois construction accident lawyers have written about in the past, fall accidents continue to be a leading cause of construction deaths. Fall accidents are often catastrophic, resulting in traumatic brain injuries, organ damage, broken bones, spinal cord injuries, and death.

Some common hazards at a construction site that can contribute to fall accidents:

• Unprotected wall openings, holes in the floor, and sides
• Improperly set up scaffolding
• Defective or unstable cranes
• Improperly secured or wrongly positioned ladders
• Lack of safety equipment
• Defective construction machinery

Even if all proper safety precautions were put in place, your employer can still owe you workers’ compensation benefits if you were injured in a Chicago, Illinois construction accident. Our Chicago workers’ compensation lawyers want to remind you and your family to file your work injury claim as soon as possible. Unfortunately, an employer's insurer can attempt to deny your claim for work injury benefits.

Contact our Cook County workers’ compensation attorneys and ask for your free case evaluation. We also represent workers’ compensation clients in DuPage County, Will County, and Lake County, Illinois.

One worker dies, other injured in fall from roof, The Eagle Tribune, December 23, 2009

Roofer dies in fall from Methuen home, MyFoxBoston, December 23, 2009


Related Web Resources:
Falls, OSHA

Construction Accident News, NY Times

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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

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December 19, 2009

Bank Teller Held at Gunpoint Wants Workers’ Compensation Benefits

A 56-year-old bank teller is seeking workers’ compensation benefits for the post-traumatic stress disorder she suffers from a robbery at her bank on May 26. Edith Johnson was held at gunpoint, handcuffed, and ordered to the ground.

Police say that one of the robbers pointed a sawed-off shotgun at Johnson while the other robber grabbed money from the teller drawer and the vault. The robbery was the third one to take place at the bank while she was employed there and the second one that occurred while she was on duty.

Following this latest robbery, Johnson was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. According to Johnson’s workers’ compensation lawyer, the incident left her frightened and she can no longer do her job.

Yet the state has denied her claim by noting that state law doesn’t cover mental injury inflicted by “mental stimulus.” Johnson’s workers’ compensation attorney, however, points out that the stress suffered from becoming the victim of a bank robbery is not the same as “everyday stress” that one experiences on the job. He also says his client failed to meet the deadline for filing an appeal because she never received the letter of denial.

A hearing date has been set following a judge’s order that the state reconsider Johnson’s workers’ compensation claim.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation
Although it shouldn’t be this way, some injured workers may find it hard to receive the Illinois workers’ compensation benefits that they are owed. These disputes can be stressful for the worker, who now must worry about medical costs, lost wages, recovery expenses, and providing financial support to family members while attempting to recover from injury or illness.

Lawyer says teller deserves workers comp, WDAY News, December 18, 2009


Related Web Resources:
Workers' Compensation, Justia

Illinois Workers' Compensation Act (PDF)

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December 17, 2009

Court Says Math Teacher Injured on School Ski Trip is Entitled Obtain to Workers’ Compensation Benefits

A math teacher has a right to receive workers’ compensation for shoulder injuries she sustained during a high school ski trip. Karen Sikorski was a chaperone on the trip when she got hurt.

Sikorski filed a claim to obtain work injury benefits but the city maintained that the injuries occurred during a recreational activity that she had volunteered to take part in. Workers’ compensation law in this particular state exempts employers from covering workers for injuries sustained in certain settings, such as picnics. Sikorski, however, argued that she was acting in her role as a teacher on the trip even though she volunteered to go.

By finding in favor of the math teacher, the highest court in the state noted that the school administration had asked members of the faculty to volunteer to chaperone and wanted teachers to take part in extracurricular activities.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation
Do not give up if your employer or its insurance company has chosen to deny your benefits. Many workers agree to receive less than what they can get. This is unfortunate. Each state has their workers’ compensation laws, which is why if you’ve been injured in an Illinois work accident, it is a good idea to consult with an experienced Chicago workers’ compensation law firm.

Not obtaining the work injury benefits you are owed can affect your finances and recovery. Retaining the right legal representation increases the chances that what you get back will be greater than if you chose to pursue your claim alone.

SJC rules on teacher workers-comp suit, Boston Business Journal, December 11, 2009

Teachers covered for injuries as chaperones, Boston.com, December 12, 2009


Related Web Resources:
Your Right to Workers' Comp Benefits FAQ

IWCC WC Act

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December 15, 2009

Illinois Workers' Compensation: Woman and Ethnic Hotel Workers Have High Injury Rate

At an American Public Health Association meeting, University of Illinois Chicago School of Public Health’s Susan Buchanan, MD, reported that hotel workers risk injury and becoming ill on the job:

• Female hotel workers had a 1.5 times greater rate of getting hurt than their male counterparts.

• Hispanic female workers were almost two times more likely to sustain work injuries than white female hotel workers.

• Hispanic and Asian male hotel workers had a 1.5 greater injury rate risk than white male workers.

Buchanan and the other researchers she worked with say they don’t know why women and minority hotel workers have a higher injury rate than Caucasian hotel workers. They gathered their information from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Researchers took a look at information from 3,000 worker injuries between 2003 and 2005 in five hotel job categories. The injuries occurred on 50 unionized properties run by major hotel chains. 80% of the hotel workers that were looked at for the study were minorities. Upper extremity injuries appeared to be the most common kind of work injury.

A spokesperson for Hyatt says that the study’s findings do not reflect its hotels workplace environments.

Hotel room cleaners, front desk clerks, bellhops, hospitality workers, maintenance employees, waiters, and other hotel workers can get hurt on the job. Ergonomic injuries, back injuries, slip and fall injuries, injuries caused by lifting heavy objects, and other work-related injuries can result.

Chicago Workers’ Compensation
Chicago is one of the most visited cities in the United States and hotel workers are employed to help the hospitality industry of our beautiful city run smoothly. This 24-hour/seven days a week business can be stressful and physically challenging for its employees and unfortunately, work injuries do happen. Most Chicago workers are entitled to Illinois workers' compensation benefits in the event of injury.

Women Hotel Workers Suffer High Injury Rates, New American Media, December 6, 2009


Related Web Resources:
OSHA

Unite Here!

AFL-CIO


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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

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December 12, 2009

Illinois Workers’ Compensation Payout for Construction Workers Most Impacted by Seriousness of Injury and Impairment Level Say Researchers

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health are reporting that it is the degree of impairment and seriousness of injury and not the workers’ compensation attorney fees that most impact an injured Illinois construction worker’s compensation payout.

The researchers came up with their findings based on a study of 19,734 workers’ compensation claims submitted to the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission between 2000 and 2005. Claims are submitted to the commission when an employee and employer are unable to resolve a work injury claim without its intervention. Among the findings:

• 1.21 construction accident claims for every 100 Illinois construction workers.
• Injured construction workers that were represented by an Illinois workers’ compensation lawyer obtained $1,210 more than workers who did not have legal representation.
• Back injuries, spinal injuries, and extremity injuries were the most common work injuries.
• Workers who sustained spinal injuries and back injuries obtained higher compensation than Illinois workers who had injured other body parts.

In an ideal world, a worker who was injured on the job should be able to easily obtain the Illinois workers’ compensation that he is entitled to receive under state law. However, disagreements and delays can happen, which can seriously affect an injured worker’s ability to recover and provide financial support to family members.

Our Chicago workers’ compensation law firm has over 15 years experience obtaining the work injury benefits our clients are owed from employers, bad faith insurance companies, and other parties. Retaining an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can increase the amount you would otherwise receive by two or three times.

Severity Of Injury, Not Legal Fees, Drives Cost Of Workers’ Compensation, UIC School of Public Health

Related Web Resources:
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine

Illinois Workers' Compensation Act (PDF)

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December 11, 2009

Worker Says He Was Fired After Filing Illinois Workers’ Compensation Claim

A man who says his employer fired him after he filed a claim to receive Illinois workers’ compensation benefits and was placed on restricted duty by his doctor is suing Global Brass and Copper Inc. Troy Pizzo says he was working at Olin Brass on September 12, 2008 when he got hurt.

He then filed an Illinois workers’ compensation claim. Pizzo says that after his doctor said he could only perform on restricted duty, the company fired him. Pizzo’s lawsuit claims the defendant purposely disregarded his welfare and rights and fired him to punish him for seeking to avail of his work injury benefits, which he is entitled to receive under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. He is accusing his former employer of committing these actions even while having full knowledge of Illinois’ workers’ compensation laws.

Pizzo is seeking over $100,000 plus costs.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation Claims
Employers are not allowed to fire workers for filing for Illinois workers’ compensation benefits. Injured workers are entitled to their work injury benefits, which can include medical care, rehabilitation, lost wages, temporary total disability benefits, permanent partial disability benefits, permanent total disability benefits, and, in the event of the worker’s death, the family is entitled to survivors benefits.

In certain instances, an employer’s insurer may seek to settle the case with a lump sum amount. While this guarantees a specific amount to the injured worker, this also usually does not allow for the employee to receive more compensation even if more treatment is required beyond what was initially estimated. However, in some work injury cases, this may be the best option.

Olin Brass worker claims retaliatory discharge, The Record, December 1, 2009


Related Web Resources:
Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

Your Right to Workers' Comp Benefits FAQ, NOLO

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November 30, 2009

Injured Boilermaker Sues Third Parties for Personal Injuries Sustained in Illinois Work Accident

A boilermaker who says he was injured in a work accident is suing two companies for Illinois personal injury. Ronald McMillan was working at Conoco Phillips refinery on November 20, 2008 when a welding machine with a jack stand that he was moving collapsed, crushing his left foot.

McMillan is suing Miller Welding and Iron Works and DJ Miller Enterprises. He is alleging negligent design of a machine that had a jack stand that wasn’t strong enough to support it and the failure to warn of possible hazards. McMillan is seeking over $200,000 plus costs.

McMillan says the Illinois work accident caused him to suffer permanent and serious disabilities, experience great mental and physical pain and incur medical expenses. Because of his inability to work he contends that he lost significant income.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation
As an injured worker, you are likely entitled to Illinois workers’ compensation benefits from your employer. You may even be able to sue third parties that were responsible for your work injuries for personal injury compensation.

Illinois workers’ compensation usually entitles injured workers to compensation for all necessary medical services, including first aid, surgeries, hospital services, and doctors visits to heal or relieve the injury or illness. Benefits for disabilities and time taken off work are also provided. While you cannot sue your employer for personal injury, liable third parties are not exempt from being sued for personal injury or wrongful death. Obtaining injury compensation from these responsible parties may be critical--especially if your injuries are catastrophic.

Jack stand collapses, boilermaker claims in suit, The Record, November 23, 2009


Related Web Resources:
Illinois Workers' Compensation Benefits, Malman Law

Risk and Insurance Online

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November 28, 2009

Electrical Shock Accidents on the Job Result in Two Worker Deaths and One Injury

A worker was killed on Friday when the semi-trailer he was driving made contact with power lines at a demolition site. Gary D. Colvin was 48. According to police, Colvin suffered electric shock as he was exiting the truck, which was dumping a load of metal at a demolition site.

Unfortunately, Colvin was not the only worker to die from electric shock last week. On Wednesday, 59-year-old James Bea was pronounced dead when he was electrocuted while removing temporary lighting. Another worker, age 24, sustained critical electrical burn injuries.

The catastrophic work accident occurred when workers came into contact with a power line.

Electrocution Accidents
Electrical shock accidents can be very dangerous for workers. Electrical burns, kidney failure, neurological problems, blood clots, muscle tissue damage, eye injuries, and instant death are some of the more serious injuries that can result.

Most workers are entitled to obtain Illinois workers’ compensation whenever they are injured at work. It doesn’t matter who or what caused the work accident. This should make it easier for everyone involved. The worker gets paid work injury benefits (or the family of a deceased worker receives death benefits) and the employer doesn’t have to contend with an Illinois personal injury complaint or wrongful death lawsuit.

Unfortunately, there are instances when an employer and/or the insurer will attempt to deny or delay a work injury or death claim.

Arlington County employee electrocuted, Washington Post, November 26, 2009

Ohio man fatally shocked at Ind. demolition site, Chicago Tribune, November 27, 2009


Related Web Resources:
Workers' Compensation, Justia

OSHA

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November 24, 2009

GAO Says OSHA Cannot Verify All Work Injury and Illness Reports

According to the General Accounting Office, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration can’t accurately verify all illness and injury cases requiring time off work that have been reported by employers. While OSHA audits illness and injury records of some 250 out of about 130,000 worksites, OSHA cannot verify all of the injury reports’ details.

The GAO says this is because OSHA doesn’t gather all of the information it can get about work illnesses and injuries from workers. The GAO discusses these concerns in its report Enhancing OSHA’s Records Audit Process Could Improve the Accuracy of Worker Injury and Illness Data.

While OSHA isn’t obligated by regulation or law to verify data during records audits, the GAO says asking workers about their work injuries and illnesses during these audits may give OSHA valuable data. Right now, OSHA doesn’t audit employer records for approximately two calendar years. By that point, a worker who was sick or injured and had to take time off work may not longer be with the company or may have forgotten the specifics of the work accident or incident that led to the injury or illness.The GAO says OSHA should add eight more industries, including amusement parks, rental centers,and industrial launderers, to to its high-hazard industry list.

Employers that have under 11 employees and those in low-hazard industries do not have to report or record an incident to OSHA unless someone dies or at least three worekrs are hospitalized. This means that some 83% of all workers are exempt.

GAO says some employers can pressure their injured or sick workers to underreport work incidents in an attempt to avoid having to pay work injury benefits. Bonuses can be based on safety records and a worker may be afraid of getting fired if he or she files a workers' compensation claim.

Also, a 2006 study by two researchers from University of Illinois-Chicago say that OSHA’s changes redefining illnesses and injuries have allowed employers to interpret incidents in a more narrow manner. The researchers say the decline in illness and injury rates is linked to this.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says there were 3.7 million work injury and illnesses and 5,071 work-related deaths in 2008.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation
Our Chicago workers’ compensation law firm are committed to obtaining for our clients all of the Illinois workers’ compenstion benefits they are owed. Employers are not allowed to deny a worker his or her compensation for work-related injuries or illness. Workers can’t sue their employer for personal injury or wrongful death and they need to obtain their work injury benefits. Proving fault is not a requirement of being able to obtain Illinois workers' compensation benefits.

OSHA Misses Injuries and Illnesses, GAO Says, OMB Watch, November 24, 2009

The Report Summary


Related Web Resources:
General Accounting Office

OSHA

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November 20, 2009

At Least 5 Construction Accident Deaths Reported in the Last 10 Days

A 27-year-old construction worker died on Tuesday after an embankment at the site he was working at collapsed on him. According to police Gabe Koenigsfeld was unloading wall forms when he was buried in dirt and sand.

The other workers dug him out in about four minutes but he was not breathing or responsive. Koenigsfeld was later pronounced dead. He and his wife were expecting their first child.

The following day, Jerry Pell, a 51-year-old worker, sustained fatal injuries when the Sky Trak that he was riding tipped over. Pell was in the forklift vehicle’s cage when the construction accident happened. He fell at least 20 feet, sustaining heavy neck and head trauma during his fall accident. He was working for David C. Bos Homes when the deadly work incident happened.

Last Friday, 27-year-old Matt Megginson died from injuries he sustained during a forklift accident. The construction worker reportedly lost control of the vehicle, which overturned and pinned him.

That same day, construction worker John Borovicka died in another forklift accident at a construction site on the Quinnipiac University campus. The 58-year-old was fatally injured when a forklift that was moving in reverse struck him.

On November 11, a 35-year-old construction worker died during an aerial lift accident. Ryan Goodman and Shane Wagener, 30, were riding a lift basket when the lift tipped over. The two men were some 50 feet off the ground when the work accident happened. Wagener was seriously injured.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation
It is important that you submit your Illinois workers’ compensation claim as soon as possible.

SLT man dies after construction accident, GrandHaven Tribune, November 19, 2009

SD construction accident victim identified, Chicago Tribune, November 18, 2009

Forklift kills worker at Burris Logistics, Justice News Flash, November 18, 2009

Man Dies In Construction Accident At Quinnipiac University, Courant.com, November 14, 2009

O&G worker killed in freak accident, The Register Citizen, November 13, 2009

Fatal construction accident at arts center is under investigation, The Kansas Star, November 11, 2009


Related Web Resources:
Construction Accidents, Justia

US Department of Labor

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November 12, 2009

Illinois Manager Obstructed OSHA Investigation into Worker’s Fall Accident Death

An Illinois roofing company manager has been ordered to serve 30 days in jail after pleading guilty to obstructing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s probe into a worker’s death. The charges that Moline resident Stephen Vynke agreed to plead guilty to are one count of making false statements related to the work accident probe and two felony counts of obstructing pending proceedings.

Vynke must also pay a $5,000 fine. He is to spend two years under supervised release.

A 36-year-old worker with Winter's Architectural Roofing Company died on October 10, 2007 after falling 16 feet from the roof of a building he was working on. Vynke admits that he set up safety fall protection after Walter L. "Boe" Whipple's fall accident and made false statements when speaking to OSHA.

Fall accidents, including falls from roofs, cranes, scaffolding, elevated heights, and slip and fall accidents, continue to be common causes of work injuries or deaths.

Companies are supposed to make sure that safety measures are in place so that workers are protected from hazardous conditions that could result in injury or death. However, in Illinois, it shouldn't matter whether the employee or the employer was at fault for causing the work accident if the employee is entitled to Illinois workers’ compensation benefits.

Filing your work injury claim as soon as possible is the first step to obtaining your benefits.

Manager at Illinois Firm Sentenced for Obstructing OSHA Investigation, Claims Journal, October 21, 2009

Vyncke pleads guilty to covering up safety violations, Quad Times, May 22, 2009


Related Web Resources:
OSHA

Benefit Rates, Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

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November 10, 2009

Construction Accidents Result in Serious Crush Injuries for Two Workers

A work accident involving a forklift and a heavy crate has left one worker with a crushed leg. The construction accident happened on Thursday while ADI Marketing Inc. workers were unloading the wooden objects.

While workers were using a forklift to move the bigger boxes, one of the crates fell on a worker, pinning him to a truck. His leg was crushed during the construction accident.

Also on Thursday, a construction worker was killed when he was run over by a truck. Police declared 57-year-old flagger Carroll Michael Rehmert dead a the work accident site. Rehmert was stopping traffic when the construction truck, driven by Anthony Wayner Lamburn, 37, backed over him. The flagger was pulled into the vehicle’s rear axle.

Lamburn panicked, and he attempted to put the vehicle in drive. This caused the truck to accidentally crush Rehmert.

Crush injuries are often catastrophic and can cause permanent if not fatal damage to the victim. While employees generally cannot sue their employers for personal injury, they are usually entitled to Illinois workers’ compensation and they can sue other responsible parties for damages.

The construction industry can be dangerous for workers and many injuries can render a victim unable to work for life. This is one reason it is so important that you consult with a Chicago construction accident lawyer about your case so that you are aware of all your legal options.

Multiple parties may even be liable for your construction accident injuries, such as the construction company, an engineering company, machinery manufacturers, building architects, project designers, insurers, and others.

Construction Worker Killed in Buckeystown, Your4State, November 6, 2009

Construction worker’s leg crushed by falling wooden crates!, New York Injury News, November 10, 2009


Related Web Resources:
Construction Accidents, Justia

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

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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

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November 3, 2009

Two Illinois Gas Plant Workers Injured in Fiery Blast

In Illinois, two gas plant workers were injured at a St. Elmo gas plant last Wednesday when a fire broke out. The Natural Gas Pipeline Company believes the fire started while welding was taking place on a ground storage tank that was holding natural gas. Witnesses say a number of blasts occurred as a result of the fire.

The two workers who got hurt were the ones engaged in the welding work. Investigators say the 10,000 gallon tank was supposed to only contain oil and waste water. They are trying to determine where a mistake was made.

Working with natural gas can be dangerous. Work injuries can occur during fires, chemical spills, fall accidents, refinery blasts, machinery accidents, while toxic gas is being released, or during other kinds of work accidents.

Burns, broken bones, internal injuries, disfigurement, severed limbs, crushed body parts, traumatic brain injuries, and spinal cord injuries are just some of the injuries that can result from a work accident at a gas plant.

Most workers are entitled to Illinois workers’ compensation benefits in the event that they are seriously injured and need to take time off. There also may be third parties that the worker can sue for Illinois personal injury. With so many factors possibly involved in causing a gas plant accident, a construction accident, or another kind of industrial accident that it can be hard to determine who is liable without consulting with a Chicago injury lawyer about your case.

Natural Gas Tank Explosion In St. Elmo, Illinois, Fox2Now, October 28, 2009

Fiery explosion injures 2 gas plant workers, Justice News Flash, November 3, 2009


Related Web Resources:
US Department of Labor

OSHA

Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

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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 31, 2009

Does Playing NFL Football Cause Long-Term Head Injuries?

On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee listened to retired NFL football players talk about how years of getting hit on the head while playing the game has caused them to struggle with depression, homelessness, memory problems, and the ability to complete simple tasks. Some researchers are even drawing a link between professional football and memory-related diseases, including dementia. According to a study conducted at the University of Michigan, retired pro football players may have a six times greater incidence rate when it comes to suffering from dementia compared to the rest of the population.

Boston University School of Medicine Chris Nowinski says striking one’s head thousands of time while playing football can cause a disease that kills brain cells. Neuropathologist Dr. Anne McKee, who had had examined the brains of numerous professional and college football players, said 11 of her subjects exhibited brain degradation, memory loss, and emotional issues prior to their deaths.

Also attending the hearing was NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. He pointed out the improvements the NFL has made, including better helmet technology and banning certain kinds of physical hits. He refused to acknowledge a direct connection between playing football and brain disorders.

Regardless, hitting your head or having your head struck can result in serious head injuries and traumatic brain injuries. Depending on the seriousness of the head injury or TBI, it can also lead to long-term disabilities, impairment of the senses, language difficulties, problems being able to reason, emotional problems, social inappropriateness, epilepsy, Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s disease, coma, and death.

In this state, NFL players are entitled to Illinois workers’ compensation benefits.

NFL head injuries a hot topic in Congress, Los Angeles Times, October 29, 2009

House Judiciary Committee Hearing Calls Attention to Long-Term Effects of Head Injury Among NFL Players, Reuters, October 28, 2009

Related Web Resources:
National Football League

Illinois Workers' Compensation Act

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October 30, 2009

Work Injury: Harvard Researchers Hospitalized Due to Poisoned Coffee

Six Harvard University researchers were hospitalized in August after drinking coffee that was poisoned. The coffee, which came from a coffee machine in a campus building, had sodium azide in it.

The poisoned researchers, consisting of Harvard Medical School students and scientists, experienced various side effects after drinking the coffee, including low blood pressure, dizziness, ringing in the ears, and fainting. All six victims were treated at Beth Isreal Deaconess Medical Center.

Sodium azide, commonly used in labs as a preservative, is listed as a “potentially deadly chemical" by the federal government. All of the victims work in the medical school’s pathology department where they test mice to determine the way the immune system and diseases interact.

Harvard University is installing more security cameras and adding additional security to prevent this kind of incident from happening again. Police and health officials are trying to figure out how the coffee was poisoned. Was it a work accident or attempted murder?

Sodium Azide
According to Mallinckrodt Baker, a chemical company, sodium azide is highly toxic. Ingesting it can lead to abnormal breathing, low blood pressure, rapid heart beat, pulmonary edema, breathlessness, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, restlessness, reduced body temperature, red eyes, skin burns, lung injury, convulsions, reduced body pH, respiratory failure, collapse, brain damage, heart damage, and death.

Poisoning at Harvard, Boston Herald, October 25, 2009
Sodium Azide, Mallinckrodt Baker

Related Web Resources:
Facts About Sodium Azide, CDC

Illinois Workers' Compensation Act

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October 29, 2009

Recent Industrial and Construction Accidents Result in Catastrophic Injuries

The last few days have been rough for at least three workers who sustained catastrophic injuries on the job. On Saturday, Seth Golbitz severed four fingers on his right hand during an industrial accident.

Doctors were able to reattach his index finger. However, they could not save his ring finger and middle finger. His pinkie now only extends up to his first knuckle.

Golbitz, 32, and another worker were using a computer-controlled overhead router when the work accident happened. OSHA is investigating the incident.

On Monday, a worker fell to his death at a CPS Energy coal plant. According to another worker, Toby Shane Berry was on an unsecured portion of a walkway that tipped. Berry lost his balance and fell approximately 30 feet. He died from fatal head injuries.

Even though the 27-year-old was wearing a safety harness, he did not secure it to anything.

Berry is the second person killed this year during a fall accident at the construction site. In January, Horatio Sepulveda was working on scaffolding when he fell.

Calaveras Power Partners, Berry’s employer, says the company requires that all workers be secured by two harnesses when working at elevated heights.

Also on Monday, another worker was sent to the hospital when he was buried alive during a construction accident. Cory A. Rogers was working in a 7-foot trench when he was covered by dirt and rocks. It took rescuers over an hour to dig him out.

Worker falls to death at power plant, My San Antonio, October 27, 2009

1 of Cranston worker's 4 fingers reattached, The Providence Journal, October 26, 2009

Bristol man remains in guarded condition following construction accident, MPN Now, October 27, 2009


Related Web Resources:

Construction Safety, CDC

Workers' Compensation Overview, Justia

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October 27, 2009

Illinois Workers' Compensation: Appeals Court in Chicago Affirms that Worker Injured While Playing Wallyball is Entitled to Benefits

In Chicago, the First District Appellate Court says that an Elmhurst Park District employee who got hurt in 2002 while playing Wallyball is indeed entitled to receive Illinois workers’ compensation benefits for his injury. Sean Murphy sought work injury benefits under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act after he injured his right leg. His employer countered by citing section 11, which prevents workers from recovering benefits from work accidents that occurred during voluntary recreational programs (unless participation was mandatory).

Murphy, however, says on the day he was injured, an off-duty co-worker asked him to play the game. He refused but the co-worker pushed him into participating by saying the game wouldn’t take place otherwise due to a shortage of players. Murphy, a fitness supervisor, says his job included promoting and implementing programs and classes for patrons.

An arbitrator found that section 11 wasn’t applicable to this DuPage County workers’ compensation case because Murphy was doing his job. He was awarded temporary total disability benefits for seven weeks and two days. The arbitrator also awarded him, for the 25% loss of use of his leg, 50 weeks of permanent partial disability benefits.

The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, a Cook County Circuit Judge, and the state appellate panel affirmed the arbitrator’s findings.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Injuries on the job can be very painful and costly. Because you cannot sue your employer for Chicago personal injury, it is important that you receive all of the workers’ compensation benefits you are owed. Sometimes, an employer will try to delay or deny benefits.

Man's Wallyball Injury Leads to Workers' Comp, Courthouse News, October 26, 2009

Panel: Playing wallyball part of the job for injured worker, All Business/Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, October 6, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Elmhurst Park District

American WallyBall Association

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October 24, 2009

Skokie Worker Dies in Chicago Construction Accident

An Illinois worker who was injured during a Park Ridge construction accident on October 17 died. Joseph C. Patyk, 32, is from Skokie.

According to police, the construction worker was using a power rodder to clean a drain located outside a residence when the catastrophic Chicago-area work accident happened. A neighbor found Patyk unconscious at around 7:30am. Patyk’s sweatshirt appears to have become entangled in the sewer equipment equipment he was using.

Today, in another construction accident, two workers got hurt while installing a tire on a piece of equipment. Geoff Beaudry, who was injured on the head, was also treated for facial injuries. Construction worker Brandon Erme received medical care for possible eyes injuries.

Illinois Construction Accidents
The construction industry is a high-risk field that can lead to catastrophic injuries for workers. Fortunately, most workers are entitled to Illinois workers’ compensation benefits that can cover medical costs and lost wages. An experienced Chicago workers' compensation law firm can ensure that you receive all work injury benefits that you are owed.

Examples of Construction Accidents:
• Construction machinery accidents
• Crane accidents
• Scaffolding accidents
• Fall accidents
• Motor vehicle-related construction accidents
• Electrocution accidents
• Fire accidents
• Trench collapses
• Exposure to hazardous substances
• Explosions
• Defective construction devices
• Structural collapses
• Falling objects

An injured construction worker and his or her family may also be entitled to third-party Chicago personal injury recovery.

Two hurt at Maumee Tire Man, ToledoontheMove, October 24, 2009

Contractor dead after accident with sewer equipment, Chicago Sun-Times, October 21, 2009


Related Web Resources:
Construction Accidents, Justia

OSHA

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October 21, 2009

Chicago Worker Dies in Crush Accident at Industrial Company

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says the probe into the death of a 63-year-old janitor could take up to half a year. Dennis Woods, a Chicago resident, died following an Illinois work accident at Material Sciences Corp., an Elk Grove Village industrial company, on Wednesday.

According to Elk Grove Village Fire Battalion Chief William Sellers, Woods was attempting to place an 18,500 pound, 5,800 feet long steel coil onto a machine so it could get a paint finish when the heavy object fell on him.

He became trapped under the heavy object and died before rescuers arrived. It took firefighters several hours to extricate his body from under the coil.

Woods had been working for the industrial company for over 30 years.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation
If someone you love was killed during a work accident, you may be entitled to Illinois workers’ compensation benefits for your loved one’s death. Losing someone you love is always a tragedy. It can also take a huge financial toll, which is one of the reasons it is important that you receive your survivors’ benefits.

The spouse and children of a worker who had workers’ compensation are entitled to full benefits in the event of the employee's death. If there is no eligible husband, wife, son, or daughter, then the worker's totally dependent parents can receive the benefits.

Investigation into worker's death could take half a year: OSHA, Daily Herald, October 15, 2009

Man killed in Elk Grove Village workplace accident, Chicago Breaking News, October 14, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Workers' Compensation Benefits

ndustrial Accidents, Chicago Tribune

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October 20, 2009

OSHA Fines Galva Company Over $500,000 for Violations that Could Cause Illinois Work Injuries and Health Issues

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is proposing fines totaling $518,520 against All-Feed Processing and Packaging Inc. OSHA is accusing the Galva pet food research and packaging company of committing serious, willful, failure to abate, and repeat violations of federal workplace health and safety standards.

Alleged violations include:

• Inadequate housekeeping, making it possible for combustible dust to accumulate.
• No explosion prevention systems.
• Insufficient protection gear for workers.
• Inadequate warning signs during the processing of combustible dust.
• Failure to lockout energy sources when maintenance occurs.
• Deficiencies in training.
• Fall hazards.
• Failure to put together a hazardous chemicals list.
• Using flexible cords in place of fixed equipment and wiring.
• Using wiring not approved for danger spots.

Last April, three workers were treated at a hospital when a fire broke out at the facility. One worker, Dustin Williams, sustained burn injuries on his hands, face, and legs. Workers say the flames broke out in the pellet mill, resulting in a chain reaction that set the bagging plant on fire.

In the last decade, OSHA has inspected the company at least seven times and issued 7 other-than-serious, 31 serious, 4 repeat, and 9 willful citations for alleged violations. Just last January, OSHA issued 28 citations against All-Feed. Eight of them were for explosion and fire hazards.

Fortunately, most workers can avail of Illinois workers’ compensation benefits if they are injured during work accidents. Unfortunately, there are times when an employer’s insurer might find reason to turn down or delay payment of those work injury benefits. An experienced Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer can make sure you receive all of your work injury benefits.

Illinois Company Cited by OSHA, Fined More than $500K, Claims Journal, October 16, 2009

Explosion rocks Galva All Feed processing and packaging plant, Wqad.com, April 14, 2009


Related Web Resources:
All-Feed Processing and Packaging Inc.

OSHA, US Department of Labor

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October 17, 2009

Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission Says Casino Worker’s Back Injury Was Aggravated By Dealing Cards

The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission held and adopted an arbitrator’s decision that dealing at a stand-up card game aggravated a casino dealer’s back injury. The worker was awarded workers' compensation benefits, which included temporary total disability, medical costs, legal fees, and penalties.

The casino dealer said that she sustained a compensable back injury while doing her job. She claimed that she had to twist her upper torso so she could use her left hand to draw the cards from a dispenser that was placed on her right side.

Her doctor said that the repetitive twisting and bending she was required to do as a card dealer aggravated an old back injury. An expert testifying for the casino disagreed and said that the dealer’s work duties were only a minor contributing factor.

The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, however, found that the testimonies of the employee and the orthopedic specialist were enough evidence to prove that the casino dealer had suffered a repetitive stress injury that was work-related.

Employees must protect workers from injuries on the job. However, regardless of who caused the injury or neglected to do enough to prevent the injury from happening, Illinois workers’ compensation law provides injury benefits to most workers.

In the event that a dispute arises between an employee who says an injury was caused by work and the employer who is disputing the claim, an experienced Illinois workers’ compensation lawyer can help you resolve your claim and protect your right to receive your work injury benefits. In some instances, a case will have to go through arbitration or be heard by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission.

Casino dealer wins benefits for back condition, Risk and Insurance, October 15, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

Related Web Resources:
Illinois Workers' Compensation Act

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October 15, 2009

Trench and Crane Collapses Claim Construction Workers’ Lives

A construction worker died today in a trench collapse accident. The man was buried under five feet of dirt for nearly four hours before rescuers were able to retrieve his body.

The sewer trench that collapsed was being constructed for a Habitat for Humanity home that was under construction. Batallion chief Dave Rhodes says that heavy rains increased the chances of a spoil pile, which involves dirt that was dug up collapsing back into a hole. Rhodes says the dirt’s weight was approximately 3,000 lbs/cubic yards and that 32 cubic yards had been removed. He noted that steel plants or wooden blanks hadn’t been used at the construction site to hold back the dirt during digging.

Some 45 people worked to free the construction worker, who fell into the foot trench. Another man also fell into the trench but was rescued before emergency workers arrived.

Another construction worker died on Monday when he fell 125 feet during a crane collapse accident. The tall construction lift reportedly toppled over while it was on a sidewalk grate, striking an apartment building as it fell.

There are some reports that the gate gave way. Investigators are trying to determine why 40-year-old James Wilson wasn’t properly secured to the boom lift’s bucket.

Falling debris caused minor injuries to three others. One victim, a woman in her 70’s, sustained a broken arm.

Our Chicago construction accident lawyers and Illinois workers’ compensation attorneys represent the families of clients who were injured in construction accidents. Construction work can be dangerous work, and an experienced Chicago injury law firm can determine who is liable for your Illinois work injuries. Workers’ compensation and third party recovery is very important—especially if the construction injuries are catastrophic or fatal.

Also on Monday, a 19-year-old construction worker’s right arm was mangled when it got stuck in a portable mortar mixer. Isaac Lee was partially pulled into the machinery. The top of his head and his cheek were impaled, and he also sustained facial lacerations that were almost a half-inch deep.

onstruction worker killed in trench collapse, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, October 15, 2009

Worker’s arm mangled in mortar mixer accident, Justice News Flash, October 14, 2009

Worker dies in Philly after 125-foot fall, Boston.com, Octobe 12, 2009


Related Web Resources:
US Bureau of Labor

Fatal Facts, OSHA

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October 13, 2009

Filing for Illinois Workers’ Compensation Claim Got Him Fired, Says Truck Driver

A truck driver has filed a lawsuit against Gordon Trucking accusing the trucking company of firing him because he filed an Illinois workers’ compensation claim for a work-related injury he sustained on September 1. Helmut Drake is seeking over $50,000, in addition to punitive damages and costs.

Drake says his doctor told him to stop working because of his work injury. He intended to go back to work a few weeks later but he says the trucking company told him he was fired. As a result, Drake says he suffered reputation loss, emotional trauma, humiliation, and embarrassment.

Illinois Workers' Compensation
In Illinois, an employer cannot fire a worker because he or she has has availed of workers’ compensation benefits. Most workers are legally entitled to work injury compensation to cover medical costs, wages, time off from work, and any permanent disabilities or injuries.

Truck drivers can get injured while working, whether during a truck crash, while loading or unloading a truck, during a slip and fall accident, from exposure to hazardous substances, or due to another kind of work accident.

In addition to Illinois workers’ compensation benefits, a trucker may be entitled to third party compensation.

Recently, trucker James Owens and his wife Melissa sued Fleet Car Carriers, Fleet Car Lease, CCJ Auto Tranport, Cotrell, and others for his work injuries.

Owens got hurt in a slip and fall accident while operating a rig on October 2, 2007. He had to undergo medical treatment and take time off from work. He also experienced mental trauma and serious pain and was disfigured and scarred. He is accusing the defendants of neglecting to warn about the dangers related to operating the rig and making a truck that did not have the adequate walkway and footing traction surfaces and handholds necessary to prevent his work accident from happening. His wife is suing for loss of her husband’s services and support.

The couple is seeking over $500,000 plus punitive and exemplary damages and costs.

Trucker claims work comp claim led to his termination, Madison Record, October 13, 2009

Man falls from top of his rig, sues, Madison Record, October 13, 2009

Related Web Resources:
American Trucking Associations

Truck Drivers United

Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

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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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October 2, 2009

Sears, Accused of Maintaining Inflexible Workers’ Compensation Leave Policy, Settles Class Action Lawsuit for $6.2 Million

In a record-setting consent degree, Sears, Roebuck, & Co. will pay $6.2 million to settle a class action lawsuit over disability bias as it related to the company’s workers' compensation leave exhaustion policy. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission lawsuit accused Sears of firing employees who became disabled after getting injured during work injury accidents rather than taking steps to reasonably accommodate their disabilities so that they could go back to work.

The American with Disabilities Act case stems from a discrimination charged filed by John Bava, a former Sears service technician. Bava, who became disabled when he injured his knees, back, and wrist during a fall accident down a flight of stairs while working at the home of a customer, took workers’ compensation leave. He then made a number of attempts to go back to work. However, according to EEOC Chicago District Director John Rowe, Sears was never able to make accommodations that would allow him to return to his job. When Bava's workers’ compensation leave expired, he was fired.

The EEOC Chicago District Office is accusing Sears of not attempting to make reasonable accommodations that would allow disabled workers to go back to work or take an extended leave. Instead, the EEOC says contends that Sears fired hundreds of workers who had gone on workers’ compensation leave. Some of the terminated employees didn’t know they had been fired until their discount cards were turned down when they went shopping at Sears.

Per the three-year consent degree, Sears must amend its workers’ compensation leave policy, provide training about the ADA to workers, submit written reports to the EEOC demonstrating how its workers’ compensation practices are in compliance, and post decree notices at all Sears.

A final hearing will take place early next year to determine the fairness of individual distributions from the settlement fund. Sears, however, continues to maintain that despite agreeing to the settlement, the company reasonably accommodates workers who go on leave for work injuries or illnesses.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation
Most Illinois workers are entitled to Illinois workers’ compensation. It is against the law to fire a worker for availing of their work injury benefits. Specific injury compensation is provided for those who sustain some type of disability during an Illinois work accident.

Sears settles lawsuit with disabled former worker for $6.2M, Chicago Sun-Times, September 29, 2009

Sears Settles Discrimination Lawsuit for $6.2 Million, Workforce Management, September 30, 2009

Related Web Resources:
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Titles I and V

US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

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September 30, 2009

Fall into Hot Water Tank Kills Construction Worker

A construction worker died on Monday after he fell into a water tank. Toby Lynn Gardner, a 35-year-old contract worker, was on a catwalk above the tank when he fell at an International Paper Co. mill.

The linerboard white water tank is three stories high and stores recycled water that the company uses to make paper. The water’s temperature is about 150-200 degrees.

Coworkers failed in their attempts to rescue Gardner and his body was recovered almost an hour and a half after the construction accident.

Gardner was employed by Zachry Construction Corporation.

Also on Monday, a 23-year-old construction workers was crushed to death by a compactor roller at a sewage treatment plant. Joshua Parks was driving the machinery over a pile of dirt when it rolled over him. He died at the construction crash site.

In another fatal construction accident involving machinery on the job, John Thomas Sparks, 51, died on Saturday when he was run over by a dump truck that backed over him. Sparks was working at the construction site as a flagger. He also was pronounced dead at the work accident site. Sparks worked for Mama Joe’s Flagging.

Our Chicago construction accident law firm represents injured construction workers and their families with claims against third parties involved in catastrophic work accidents. Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer Steve Malman can also represent construction accident clients during discussions with employers and their insurers to make sure injured workers receive all of the work benefits that they are owed.

Dump truck runs over Oregon construction worker, Justice News Flash, September 30, 2009

Construction worker killed in Roller Compactor accident, ARI, September 30, 2009

Victim in Monday paper mill accident identified, Enquirer-Herald, September 29, 2009

Related Web Resources:
US Department of Labor

Construction Accidents News, New York Times

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September 29, 2009

Wood River Man Says Employer Fired Him for Filing Illinois Workers’ Compensation Claim

A plumber who smashed his hand while moving equipment says his company fired him for filing for Illinois workers’ compensation. Wes Amerson is seeking over $100,000 plus punitive damages over $50,000, in addition to other relief.

Amerson says that on May 8, Mark Eberhardt, doing business as B & W Heating and Cooling, called him while he was in an Alton emergency room after his work accident and tried to get him to report his injury under Eberhardt’s general medical insurance plan as a non-accidental injury.

Amerson says he refused and asked for workers’ compensation carrier information so he could notify his doctor. Amerson claims Eberhardt wouldn’t give him the information. He says that on May 12, Eberhardt called him and inferred that the information the injured worker had written on the accident form was inaccurate. Amerson claims that Eberhardt then fired him for, according to the lawsuit, “asserting his rights under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act.”

Amerson says he suffered emotional trauma and lost income because he was fired.

Illinois Workers' Compensation
Your employer is not allowed to fire you because you filed a claim for Illinois workers’ compensation benefits. Most workers who get injured or sick because of their job are entitled to these benefits.

Unfortunately, disputes do arise. An employer may deny an employee's work injury claim or decrease/delay the amount of benefits owed. This is unacceptable, and there are ways to make sure that you receive all of your workers' compensation payments in a timely manner. In some instances, a workers' compensation claim may have to be argued before the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission. Because injured workers generally cannot sue their employer for personal injury it is very important that they receive their worker injury benefits.

Plumber says he was fired after filing work comp claim, The Record, September 29, 2009


Related Web Resources:

Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

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September 23, 2009

Truck Driver Says Employer Fired Him for Filing Illinois Workers’ Compensation Claim

In Illinois, most workers are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths. State law mandates that employers provide workers with this coverage in the event of a work accident. It doesn’t matter who or what caused the injury accident.

Unfortunately, obtaining Illinois workers’ compensation isn’t always easy.

On September 15, Brian Elkins filed a lawsuit against Eagle Express Lines, Inc. The trucking company hired the truck driver on April 26, 2008.

Elkins hurt his back while on the job On October 25, 2008. Because of the work accident, he was unable to do his job. He filed an Illinois workers’ compensation claim to receive benefits.

Last June, the trucking company fired him because he failed to reveal certain information about his medical history. Elkins, however, says that he was fired because the company wanted to get back at him for filing a workers’ compensation claim. As a result, the truck driver has lost benefits and wages. He also suffered emotional trauma and has not been able to fully enjoy his life.

Illinois Workers' Compensation
An Illinois workers’ compensation lawyer can deal directly with your company’s insurance company for you and push for you to receive all of your benefits in a timely manner. In the event a dispute arises that requires arbitration, your workers’ compensation law firm can protect your rights and fight for your interests. In certain cases, an Illinois workers’ compensation case may end up in front of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission and possibly even the Illinois court system. Having a work injury attorney who is on your side can only be to your benefit. It is important that you receive all of the work injury benefits that you are entitled to under state law.

Truck driver says he was terminated after work comp claim, The Record, September 21, 2009


Related Web Resources:
Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

State Employee Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission Awards Act, Illinois General Assembly

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September 22, 2009

Chicago Demolition Worker Survives Roof Collapse Accident with Minor Injuries

A Chicago work accident left one demolition worker with minor injuries after he survived a roof collapse incident at a Menard’s store in Hoffman Estates on Tuesday afternoon. A demolition was taking place at the building.

The worker, 45, became trapped in a three-foot high pocket after the roof fell during the demolition. It took crew workers nearly an hour to stabilize part of the roof and cut out a space that the man could use to escape. He was transported to a local hospital and treated for minor injuries. According to Arlington Heights police, the fact that the man got caught in the “pocket” prevented him from sustaining more serious injuries.

Whether a work site is one designated for construction or demolition, it is important that the proper safety measure are implemented to protect construction workers and demolition workers. Structural collapses can cause serious injuries to workers and people passing by the site. Having a roof collapse is a serious matter, and victims have been known to sustain broken bones, back injuries, neck injuries, nerve damage, internal injuries, disfigurement, amputation, and traumatic brain injuries. In some cases, Chicago demolition accidents can prove fatal.

Common causes of demolition accidents include:

• Premature structure collapse
• Hazardous substances
• Someone accidentally knocking into the structure
• Falls from elevated areas
• Premature detonation

Demolition workers who are injured during work accidents need to file their Chicago workers’ compensation claim right away.

Demolition worker rescued after northwest suburban building collapse, Chicago Sun-Times, September 22, 2009

Worker rescued in Hoffman Estates roof collapse, Chicago Breaking News, September 22, 2009


Related Web Resources:
National Demolition Association

Demolition Magazine

Continue reading "Chicago Demolition Worker Survives Roof Collapse Accident with Minor Injuries" »

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September 19, 2009

OSHA to provide Illinois Department of Labor with $1.5 million grant to improve safety and health for public workers

The Illinois Department of Labor is getting a $1.5 million federal grant from the United States Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The money will supplement IDOL’s safety and health programs that are there to provide protection to employees who work in the public sector. Government workers, state employees, police officers, school teachers, transportation workers, and firefighters are among the public employees that fall under this category.

It is very important that workers are protected while on the job. Illinois workers’ compensation is available for employees who are hurt or get sick as a result of work-related circumstances, but that doesn’t mean that employers shouldn’t exercise all necessary precautions and implement the steps required to protect workers from injuries and a hazardous health conditions.

The federal funding provided by OSHA will go toward:
• Reducing the number of Illinois work injuries and deaths, especially in high-risk fields such as law enforcement and transportation.
• Increasing the number of field inspectors and support employees so that more onsite inspections can take place.
• Providing more education and information about workplace safety and health challenges so that employees and employers are both more aware.
• Developing a consultation program to help workers create and maintain a safe work environment so that injuries are less likely to happen.

A worker injured on the job may have to take time off work, incur significant medical and recovery expenses, and may even have to give up working entirely if the injury or illness is serious enough that permanent damage or disability results.

You can’t sue your employer for personal injury so it is important that your receive all of the Illinois workers’ compensation benefits that you are owed.

llinois Receives $1.5 Million in Matching Grants from Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Illinois Gov, September 1, 2009

Related Web Resources:
OSHA

IDOL

IWCC

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September 16, 2009

Jury Awards $6.7 Million Illinois Wrongful Death Verdict to Family of Man Who Died in ADM Work Accident

A jury has awarded the family of Francisco Moreno Garcia $6.7 million for his Illinois wrongful death. Garcia was employed by ECF Inc. when he died from injuries he sustained during a work accident while insulating pipes at an ADM facility. The defendant in the third party lawsuit is Archer Daniels Midland Co.

A machine located close to where he was working malfunctioned, spraying him with steam and hot liquid. He was ushered into a safety shower, but even as his clothes were taken off him, his skin was coming off. According to the Sagamon County coroner, Garcia had burn injuries on more than nearly 90% of his body.

While state law prevents a worker from suing his or her employer for Illinois personal injury, an employee (and his or her family) is entitled to Illinois workers’ compensation benefits in the event of injury or death. The victim and family members can, however, pursue personal injury or wrongful death recovery from a negligent third party. In this particular case, ECF was Garcia’s employer and ADM is the third party.

Garcia was 26 when he died.

Third Party Lawsuits
In Illinois, third party lawsuits are usually filed in Federal or Circuit court. Recovery from a third party claim can be significant if the injuries are serious. The statute of limitations for filing a third party lawsuit is two years from the date of the work accident.

If you were injured in a work accident, you should notify your employer as soon as possible that you are entitled to Illinois workers’ compensation benefits. You should not, however, attempt to resolve your third party dispute without talking to a Chicago injury lawyer. Your Chicago workers’ compensation attorney can make sure that you receive all of the work injury benefits that you are owed.

Ill. jury awards $6.7 million to family of man killed in ADM accident, The Gaea Times, September 16, 2009


Related Web Resources:
Archer Daniels Midland Co.

Accident Report Forms, Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

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September 15, 2009

Many Low-Wage Workers In Chicago Do Not Have Access To Workers’ Compensation Benefits

According to the UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, the Center for Urban Economic Development, and the National Employment Law Project, many low-wage employees are the victims of workplace abuse. One of these abuses is that many of them are denied workers’ compensation benefits even when they are injured on the job.

According to a survey conducted in 2008, of the nearly 4,400 low-wage workers surveyed in Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles, only 8% of the participants who sustained work injuries filed claims for workers’ compensation. Only 6% of the injured workers were given benefits to cover their medical bills.

Also, 2/3rds of survey participants say they had experienced some form of wage violation, including getting paid less than the minimum wage or not getting the correct overtime rate (or even any additional payment) for working beyond their shifts.

Immigrants, people of color, and women, as well as workers hired in private residences or in the garment industry, seemed at highest risk of becoming victims of workplace abuse. Examples of positions considered "low-wage" include dishwasher, busboys child care provider, security guard, and textile worker.

Many low-wage workers—especially “front-line” workers—are not natural born citizens. Many of them are in the US illegally. This can place them at the mercy of an employer knows the worker might be too scared to report the abuse.

Workers in the United States have certain rights. Even if you are an undocumented worker who was injured while doing your job, you may be entitled to work Illinois work injury benefits. An experienced Chicago workers’ compensation law firm can help you with your case.

Down and Out, The Washington Post, September 8, 2009

How the Lowest Paid Workers Get Ripped Off, US News, September 3, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

Read the Report (PDF)

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September 11, 2009

OSHA Fines Illinois Company $275,000 for Workplace Safety Violations that Could Cause Worker Injuries

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is proposing a $275,000 fine against a Lombard, Illinois company for numerous safety and health violations that could cause serious injury to workers. In this case, the company Metal Improvement Co. was doing business as E/M Coating Services.

Although a worker injured on the job generally cannot sue an employer for personal injury, he or she is usually entitled to Illinois workers’ compensation benefits regardless of who was responsible for causing the work accident. This, however, does not mean that companies are allowed to become careless and violate standards of safety and health that are there to protect workers.

According to OSHA, E/M Coating Services committed 10 serious and six repeated violations. Safety hazards involved fire hazards in a spray booth, the absence of a sprinkler system in the booth, electrical and equipment concerns, incorrect oxygen cylindrical storage, fall protection deficiencies, inadequate personal protective equipment, no shower and emergency eyewash facilities, violations involving confined entry space, and respirator equipment fit issues.

Because of the nature of their jobs, many workers in the metal treatment industry and other industrial fields are exposed to working conditions that could cause injury or prove hazardous to their health unless the proper safety and health precautions are in place.

If you are a worker injured on the job or you believe that your illness was caused by conditions in your place of work, a good Illinois workers' compensation lawyer can help you consider your options.

Illinois Company Fined $275K for Workplace Safety Violations, September 11, 2009

Lombard metal coating company cited for workplace safety issues by OSHA, WQAD, September 5, 2009

Related Web Resource:
Occupational Safety and Health Administration

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September 9, 2009

Latino Workers Have Highest Workplace Death Rate

According to the National Council of La Raza, Hispanic workers have the highest death rate from injuries sustained while on the job. The group’s report, called “Fractures in the Foundation: The Latino Worker’s Experience in an Era of Declining Job Quality” notes that the Latino worker death rate—at 4.6% for every 100,000 workers—is higher than the fatality rate in the US and in many developing countries.

The report also stated that Hispanic workers are the lowest paid, have a greater chance of becoming the victims of wage theft, and are likely to deal with more dangerous conditions on the job than any other group of workers.

Some of the other findings in the report:
• Per the US Census Bureau, nearly 400,000 Hispanics became part of the country’s workforce last year.
• Since 2003, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration has reported a 6.4% increase in violations of regulations and standards.
• 426,000 Hispanic workers are employed in the agriculture industry.
• In 2007, 937 Latinos, most of them immigrants, died from work-related injuries.
• Many employers try to get out of being in compliance with labor laws because they know the chances they will get caught are low. Lack of compliance can expose workers to dangerous working situations that can lead to injury or death in the event of a work accident.

Ted Smucker, of the Interfaith Worker Justice in Chicago, notes that immigrants are especially vulnerable to issues affecting the US workforce.

The report wants the Department of Labor and Congress to increase the number of investigators tasked with enforcing labor law in high-risk work industries, including those involving farming, construction, factories, meat packing plants, and poultry packing plants.

Our Chicago workers’ compensation law firm is committed to making sure that our injured worker clients receive all of the work injury benefits that they are owed following an accident on the job. Unfortunately, some insurers will try to get out of paying work benefits if they can.

Workers have rights and one of those rights is the right to receive Illinois workers’ compensation benefits in the event or injury or death.

Read the NCLR Report (PDF)

Related Web Resources:
National Council of La Raza

OSHA

US Department of Labor

Interfaith Worker Justice

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September 4, 2009

Company Sues Insurance Company for Denying Illinois Workers’ Compensation Benefits to Employee

Rehkemper and Sons is suing its insurance provider for refusing to provide an employee with Illinois workers’ compensation benefits. The worker, Michael Gray, was hurt during a work accident on August 8, 2005.

Gray claims that the work accident caused him to injure his back, neck, and arms. He filed a work injury claim to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Rehkemper submitted the claim to its insurer, Indiana Lumbermens Mutual Insurance Company. Rehkemper, a roof and floor trussing company, says that per its policy with Indiana Lumbermens, bodily injury per work accident is covered up to $500,000.

Indiana Lumbermens, however, has said it will not cover Gray’s claim.

Now, Rehkemper’s lawsuit wants an Illinois court to find the insurer in breach of its insurance policy. It is also asking that the defendant be made to defend and indemnify the plaintiff from the workers’ compensation claim that Gray has filed.

Rehkemper says that its policy with Indiana Lumbermens gives the roof and floor trussing company the right to secure the insurer’s defense if Rehkemper is targeted by work injury claims that are covered under the policy. Gray’s workers’ compensation complaint is currently pending before the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission.

Unfortunately, time and again, there are workers who are denied their Chicago workers’ compensation benefits by an employer and/or its insurance company. Workers need their workers’ compensation benefits in order to pay for the medical and recovery costs, as well as living expenses, incurred from injuries sustained on the job.

Rehkemper and Sons sues over denied work comp case, St. Clair Record, September 3, 2009


Related Web Resources:
Indiana Lumbermens Mutual Insurance Company

Rehkemper and Sons

Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

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August 31, 2009

Court Says Workers’ Compensation Insurance Can Cover Weight-Loss Surgery if Injury is Job-Related

A state Supreme Court says that SAIF Corp, which handles workers’ compensation benefits, must cover a gastric bypass procedure that an injured worker had to undergo so that he could then get his knee replaced. The worker, Edward G. Sprague, hurt his knee in 1976 while working as a mechanic.

Sprague underwent surgery following the work accident and SAIF compensated him for his medical expenses. Sprague weighed 225 pounds at the time of the accident.

In the last three decades, Sprague’s weight has grown to 320 pounds. He also has arthritis in the knee that he injured. He hurt his knee again in 1999 in a work accident at a bakery.

His physician recommended knee replacement surgery. However, in order to obtain the best results possible, he said that Sprague would have to undergo gastric bypass surgery to get rid of his excess weight.

Sprague’s employer at the time rejected his workers’ compensation claim, citing that the arthritis he experienced was a result of the work injury in 1976. Sprague filed a claim against SAIF. The company had said that the worker’s weight issue was a preexisting condition and it therefore should not have to pay for the gastric bypass procedure.

An appeals court and now the Oregon Supreme Court disagreed with SAIF. The court found that the bypass procedure was related to the worker’s knee condition, which resulted from the 1976 work accident.

If you were injured in an Illinois work accident and your employer’s insurer is refusing to cover the expenses for services and procedures that you need to recover from your injuries, please do not despair. It may be a good idea, however, to retain the services of an experienced Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer who will know how to make sure that you get the work benefits that you are owed.

Gastric bypass to ensure success of second surgery compensable: Court, Business Insurance, August 28, 2009

Oregon Says Workers' Comp Must Pay for Weight Loss, Claims Journal, August 31, 2009

Related Web Resources:
SAIF

Corporation v. Edward G. Sprague, Entry Form, May 18, 2009

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August 28, 2009

Chicago Construction Worker Killed When Bobcat Falls Seven Stories

A Chicago construction accident has claimed the life of worker Carlos Mayroja. Mayroja, in his late 30’s, was riding a Bobcat that a crane was lifting up seven stories when the heavy machinery fell to the ground, pinning him in the machine. The deadly Chicago work accident took place at the Chicago Housing Authority demolition project located on South State Street.

A crane was required to extricate Mayroja from the Bobcat. He was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital and later pronounced dead.

Bobcat Accidents
Bobcats are commonly used at Chicago, Illinois construction sites to move materials and large objects. It is important that a Bobcat operator know how to properly run this piece of heavy equipment to decrease the chances of injury or death.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has specific regulations and rules about how to safely operate Bobcats that are used on the job. That said, Chicago construction accidents can happen because of the negligence of the construction company, the construction worker, the machinery manufacturer, or merely by accident and through no one else’s fault.

While an injured construction worker cannot sue his or her employer for personal injury, he or she will likely be entitled to Illinois workers’ compensation benefits. Also, because construction projects tend to involve more than one company participant, there may be parties that can be held liable for personal injury via third party lawsuits. An experienced Chicago construction accident law firm will have the resources, the manpower, and the experience to properly investigate the accident site and evidence so that they can prove liability.

1 dead in S. Loop construction accident, ABC Local, August 18, 2009

Construction Worker Dies After 7-Story Fall, NBC Chicago, July 7, 2009

Injuries Involving Heavy Machinery, Ezine Articles,

Related Web Resources:
Bobcat Safety

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August 26, 2009

Illinois Workers’ Compensation Benefits Awarded to Mechanic Who Sustained Burn Injuries that Developed Staph Infection

The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission has awarded workers’ compensation benefits to a mechanic who sustained burn injuries during a work accident. The worker, who was a diabetic, sustained burn injuries to both arms and his abdomen while on the job.

Over six months after the work accident, the mechanic developed a staph infection in his elbow. His infection was treated with antibiotics and he was admitted to the hospital.

The worker claimed that there was a causal connection between his work accident and his staph infection. The doctor of his employer denied that there was a relationship between the two. The physician, however, did acknowledge that because the mechanic had diabetes, he was more likely to sustain a staph infection.

The IWCC adopted the findings of the arbitrator that the Illinois work accident might have or could have been a cause of the staph infection. The commission said that just because the staph infection occurred over six months after the work accident doesn’t mean the two aren’t linked—especially when the worker had open wounds and was suffering from a condition that increased the chances that a staph infection might arise.

Staph Infections
This type of bacteria can be harmless, unless it enters the body, such as through a wound or broken skin. While many types of staph infections are easily treatable, they can prove harmful should the bacteria enter the bloodstream. The heart, lungs, bones, blood, central nervous system, and other parts of the body may become infected.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation
Illinois law requires employers to provide employees with injury benefits. This should, ideally, be a done deal anytime that a worker is injured while doing their job. Unfortunately, incidents will arise when an employer and/or the insurer might try to get out of paying these benefits.

It’s hard enough getting hurt and having to take time off from work so you can deal with recovering without having to worry about how you are going to pay for your medical costs and living expenses, as well as support your family.

There are ways to fight for your right to receive all of the work injury benefits that you are owed.

Mechanic links staph infection to work injury despite diabetes, Risk and Insurance, August 20, 2009

Staff Infections, Mayo Clinic

Related Web Resources:
Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

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August 20, 2009

Electrocution Accident Claims the Life of Worker Who Was Installing Wiring

A worker who was installing a new air compressor wiring died yesterday when he was electrocuted. A subcontractor who worked for the DC metro hired the man. This is not the first electrical accident to cause injury to a worker in the last couple of months.

Last week, a worker sustained burn injuries while working on power lines. The work accident happened while the worker was in a bucket truck and he received an electrical shock.

Also last week, a worker employed by an electrical subcontractor was shocked while working on electrical systems at a construction site. He was shocked unconscious.

In July, two National Guardsmen suffered electrical shock injuries at a Tennessee county fair. According to witnesses, a man was using a control box to elevate a climbing wall, which was part of the National Guard recruiting station, when the control box fell on top of him. Another man who tried to help suffered electrical shock injuries, as did a second person who rushed to help. The two men were transported by air to a hospital.

Our Chicago workers’ compensation law firm knows that it can be hard to regroup after getting injured in an Illinois work accident. It is important that you file your work injury claim with your employer as soon as possible.

Electrical Shock
A person can suffer from shock after coming into contact with an electrical source. If the electrical energy enters the person’s body, he or she could suffer from electrical shock. Burns is the most common kind of electric shock injury. A person might also sustain a spinal cord injury, internal injuries, pain in the foot or hand, broken bones, and electrical mouth burn.

While in some cases, it is obvious that someone has sustained an electrical shock injury, some signs indicating that a person may be suffering from electrical shock include:

• Burns to the skin
• Tingling
• Numbness
• Hearing problems
• Paralysis
• Speech problems
• Unconsciousness

Electrical Worker Killed at Bus Garage, The Washington Post, August 19, 2009

Nixa employee injured in electrical accident, city administrator says, News-Leader, August 12, 2009

Nixa Lineman Shocked, KSPR, August 12, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Electric Shock, EmedicineHealth

Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

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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

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August 15, 2009

Illinois Workers’ Compensation Benefits Should Be Given to Worker Who Was Injured When Ramming into Vending Machine to Dislodge Snack, Says Appellate Court

The Illinois Appellate Court says that a Circuit City employee who got hurt when helping a co-worker get a stuck bag of chips from a vending machine should receive workers’ compensation benefits. The decision reverses a Circuit Court judge’s ruling that Clinton Dwyer shouldn’t receive work injury benefits.

Dwyer sustained a fracture when, after failing to dislodge the bag of chips by shaking the machine, he pushed into it using his hip and shoulder. He fell.

X-rays show that Dwyer sustained a fractured hip. He went to a Chicago hospital to undergo surgery. Dwyer filed for Illinois workers’ compensation benefits but Circuit City denied his claim.

Citing the “personal comfort doctrine,” the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission awarded the work injury compensation to Dwyer. Under the doctrine, certain personal activities designed for a worker’s comfort, such as eating, are covered under Illinois workers’ compensation law.

Circuit City appealed and the McHenry County Circuit Court sided with the company.

The appeals court, however, reversed the circuit court’s ruling. Rather than citing the personal comfort doctrine, the court noted the Good Samaritan Doctrine, which lets a worker step away from his work responsibilities to help another worker. The court also noted that others had experienced problems with the vending machine and said that Dwyer wasn’t in violation of any company policy when he shook the machine.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation Benefits
You generally cannot sue your employer for Chicago personal injury, which is why you are supposed to receive Illinois workers’ compensation benefits if you get hurt on the job. However, there are cases when an Illinois company might decide to deny a worker his or her injury benefits. The best way to make sure that you receive the work injury benefits that you are owed is to have an experienced Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer representing you.


Worker attacked by snack machine sues for comp, Safety News Alert, June 12, 2009

Circuit City Stores Inc. v. Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission (PDF)


Related Web Resources:
Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

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August 14, 2009

Several People Injured this Week in Construction Accidents

A number of workers got hurt this week in construction accidents that occurred throughout the US.

John Grizo, 36, had to be airlifted to a burn center after he experienced electrical shock at a wastewater treatment plant on Thursday morning. Grizo works for an electrical subcontractor. He was knocked unconscious while working at a construction site and was struck in the head when electricity in a 480-volt panel arced.

Also on Thursday, two other construction workers got hurt when the hydraulic lift they were using tipped over. The workers broke limbs and were transported to a hospital.

On Wednesday afternoon, three construction workers got hurt when a mobile construction machine crashed into temporary steelwork. Three men were thrown to the ground. They were taken to the hospital for what appeared to be minor injuries.

Construction accidents continue to be a major cause of work-related injuries and deaths. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, some of the most common causes of construction citations include:

• Electrical-related issues
• Fall protection and training
• Scaffolding
• Head protection
• Excavations
• Ladders
• General construction safety
• Issues with health provisions

Injured construction workers and their families will likely have Illinois workers’ compensation benefits to cover the costs incurred from Chicago construction accidents. Who is at fault should not be an issue.

It is important, however, that your employer pays you the work injury benefits that you are owed and that you receive them on time. Should a dispute arise, you should speak with our Chicago workers’ compensation law firm about your case.

3 workers hurt in Bay Bridge accident, SF Gate, August 14, 2009

2 construction workers injured at NJ university, Philly.com, August 13, 2009

Man shocked in Holly Springs construction accident, WRAL, August 14, 2009


Related Web Resources:
OSHA

Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

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August 6, 2009

Protecting Workers From Office Injuries

While we commonly associate work injuries with jobs that require workers to engage in challenging physical labor or in dangerous environments, working in an office can also be a place rife with hazards that can lead to work injuries, including slip and fall injuries and electrical injuries.

If you were injured on the job, you need to contact your employer right away so that you can receive your Illinois workers’ compensation benefits as soon as possible. By speaking with an experienced Chicago workers’ compensation attorney, you can figure out the steps you need to take to make sure that you receive all of the work benefits owed to you.

Most Illinois employers are required to provide workers with workers’ compensation—it doesn’t matter who was at fault.

In the meantime, however, there are preventive measures that can be taken to minimize the chances of slip and fall or trip and fall accidents in the workplace which, according to OSHA, cause 15% of work-related fatalities:

• Make sure that any computer cables are shielded or placed in a location where no one can slip or trip over them.

• If necessary, lift cables, power strips, modems, and other devices off the ground.

• Not only can cable clutter on the ground prove to be a slip and trip hazard, but also it can cause electrical injuries if liquid spills are involved along with human contact.

• Make sure there are fire extinguishers and other safety measures in place. With so many electronic products running at the same time, you never know when a computer may overheat or a fire may break out.

• Consider installing traction floor mats to minimize slip and fall accidents.

• Wrap sharp edges and corners in duct tape or corrugated cardboard to prevent accidental cuts from happening.

In addition to fall injuries, examples of other common office injuries include:
• Injuries from lifting heavy loads or incorrectly lifting a heavy item.
• Injuries caused by bumping into objects or getting hit by falling objects.
• Injuries related to poor ergonomics.

Simple Solutions for Office Hazards, EHSToday.com, March 3, 2008


What are the Top Injuries in a Typical Office (and How Can You Avoid Them)?, SixWise.com


Related Web Resources:
Ergonomics Makes Your Office Work for You, AAPM & R

OSHA


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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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July 31, 2009

Construction Worker Dies After He is Struck by Utility Pole

A 32-year-old construction worker is dead after he was struck by a utility pole during a construction accident. The pole was knocked over by construction equipment that a co-worker was operating.

The worker that died is Andrew Russell Clarke. The man that was operating the Bobcat is Paul Maple, who is the father of Clarke’s girlfriend.

According to officials, Maple was backing up the Bobcat when he struck the pole, which fell onto a parked truck. They think that Clarke was reaching inside the truck when he got hit. They are calling his death a tragic work accident.

In other recent construction accident news:

• On Thursday, a construction worker was treated at a hospital for minor injuries after the wall of a garage under construction fell on him.

• A man who was operating heavy equipment for a highway improvement project died when the machinery ran him over. Steve Vigil was using a chip spreader to spread gravel when he fell in front of the machine. He died at the construction accident site.

• A flagwoman died while working on a bridge interchange project.

• 23-year-old construction worker Donald Flood III died after falling from an Ingersoll-Rand asphalt roller. The machine struck him and he sustained fatal injuries as a result.

• On Wednesday, a 21-year-old worker died in a construction accident after the square bucket on the top of a front end loader struck him on the chest. John Bradley IV was one of a group of construction workers who were making street repairs.

Amenia man killed in construction accident, Poughkeepsie Journal.com, July 30, 2009

2 killed in NM industrial accidents, AP/Newswest9.com, July 30, 2009

Man Hurt In Construction Accident, News Talk 650, July 30, 2009

Norco man killed in construction accident in eastern New Orleans, Nola.com, July 29, 2009

Update: Construction worker in fatal Des Moines accident is identified, DesMoinesRegister.com, July 29, 2009


Related Web Resources:
Constructions Accidents, Justia

US Department of Labor

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July 30, 2009

Workers’ Compensation Fraud: Roofing Company Owner Pleads Guilty

The owner of a roofing company has pleaded guilty to workers’ compensation fraud charges. Robert McDonald owns Gulfstream Roofing. He has been found guilty of using bogus construction companies so he wouldn’t have to pay $400,000 in premiums.

According to investigators, Gulfstream Roofing transferred nearly $3 million in payroll using “fake construction companies” under the pretense that it was paid to insure subcontractors. The company reportedly did this between 2002 and 2006.

McDonald has been ordered to pay Bridgefield Insurance Co. $400,000 in restitution, over $6,000 in investigative expenses, and nearly $500 in court costs. He also has to serve 300 hours of community service.

Alex Sink, Florida’s chief financial officer, noted that actions like the one attributed to McDonald and others place workers at risk and leave them without protection.

Workers’ Compensation Fraud
Workers’ compensation fraud may involve someone withholding information or making bogus statements to receive workers’ compensation benefits or a party preventing someone else from receiving the Illinois workers’ compensation benefits that they are owed.

Considering that workers’ compensation exists to provide injured workers and their families with benefits in the event of a work accident, workers’ compensation fraud can be a serious matter.

Under Illinois state law, injured employees receive 2/3rds of their regular wages, tax-free, during the time they cannot work because they are busy recovering. The employers’ insurer pays for medical bills.

In the event of delays or disputes, our Chicago workers’ compensation law firm knows what to do to make sure that your payments come to you on time and in the full amounts that you are owed.

Roofer pleads guilty to workers’ comp fraud, Bizjournals, July 30, 2009


Related Web Resources:
Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

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July 28, 2009

OSHA Investigates Fatal Chicago Work Accident in Humboldt Park

A 33-year-old worker died on Monday after he was struck by stone slabs at a marble warehouse for injuries he sustained during an Chicago industrial accident on Wednesday. Gilbert Sandoval Ramirez was pronounced dead at John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital. According to police, Ramirez sustained blunt trauma and multiple fractures during the Chicago work accident.

Just the day before, in East Chicago, a female worker, 37, died at the ArcelorMittal Indiana Harbor Plant East during a work accident. Angela Smith also had sustained a blunt force trauma injury.

Blunt Force Trauma Injuries
Blunt force trauma usually involves injury to a certain area of the body caused by a sudden or heavy force that leads to trauma to that body part. A blunt force trauma injury can occur during fall accidents, when a swinging or falling object that is heavy strikes the worker, or during a machinery accident. Blunt force trauma injuries are frequently serious injuries that can prove fatal—especially if it affects the head or a major organ of the body.

Sometimes, there may not be any visual symptoms to indicate that a worker sustained a blunt trauma injury during a work accident. Common signs of blunt force trauma, however, can include:

• Bruising, which may be a sign of broken blood vessels
• Lacerations, which may indicate that there is tissue tearing or organ damage
• Abrasions

It is important to file your Chicago workers’ compensation paperwork with your employer as soon as possible after your work injury accident.

OSHA investigates death of warehouse employee on West Side, Chicago Sun-Times, July 27, 2009

Mittal worker, 37, dies of blunt force trauma at E.C. steel mill, NWI Times, July 27, 2009


Related Web Resources:
Blunt Force Trauma, ExploreForensics.Co.UK

OSHA

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July 25, 2009

Worker Sues Yankees for Construction Accident that Severed His Wrist

This week, a construction worker sued the New York Yankees and Turner Construction for injuries he sustained in a construction accident last year. Marc Kemprowski severed his wrist when the portable, power driven handsaw he was using kicked back at him. Kemprowski, 28, says the saw cut his arm to the bone. While doctors were able to reattach his hand, he has lost full use of it and cannot use his hand to do his job.

Kemprowski is accusing the defendants of maintaining dangerous working conditions. Over a dozen other workers have filed personal injury lawsuits for injuries they sustained while building the new stadium for the Yankees.

Construction Accident Claims
Many construction workers place themselves at risk of getting seriously hurt while doing their job. If you were injured in a Chicago construction accident, not only are you likely entitled to Illinois workers’ compensation benefits, but there may be third parties associated with the job that you were performing that can be held liable for personal injury.

Many serious construction accidents have been known to leave a worker injured in such a way that he or she may not longer be able to work as a construction worker ever again. Not only are there costly medical and recovery expenses to consider, but your permanent loss of income may require you to explore all avenues of compensation in addition to your workers’ compensation benefits.

Recent US construction accidents:

• A construction worker was rushed to the hospital today after he fell 30 feet in a scaffolding accident. The worker was working on a job at the JW Marriot Resort when he landed on the concrete. The cause of the fall accident is not known at this time. According to one fire department lieutenant, the worker appeared to have sustained internal injuries and traumatic brain injuries.

• Also this month, a 21-year-old worker died in a July 10 construction accident. It was just his 5th day on the job. Spencer Clark Harrington sustained fatal injuries to his stomach and head when a 30-foot steel fell off a forklift, striking him. Harrington was a father-to-be.

• Just two days before that, another construction worker died when one of the metal pieces used to hold scaffolding together fell five stories, striking the worker’s head. According to police, the other workers told the men on the ground to move but Kimberly McKinley, 54, was not able to get out of the way. McKinley wasn’t wearing a hard hat when he was struck by the metal attachment.

Construction worker injured at the new Yankee Stadium takes legal action, NY Daily news, July 23, 2009

Worker Falls At Hotel Construction Site, KSAT12, July 24, 2009

Construction worker falls 30 feet and lands on concrete, KENS5, July 24, 2009
Father-to-be, 21, dies after construction accident on Harbor Island, Seattle Times, July 13, 2009

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July 24, 2009

Illinois Worker Undergoes Tracheotomy After Falling From Ladder

An Illinois worker sustained serious injuries when he fell while climbing down a ladder. Richard L. Godwin fractured several ribs and vertebrae, as well as sustained a serious head injury during the Illinois work accident, which occurred on April 24. He had to undergo a tracheotomy and use a feeding tube following the work accident. Godwin was working for Survant Air Systems on a job in Fairview Heights when he got hurt.

While Illinois workers’ compensation law allows an injured worker to obtain work injury benefits for any injuries sustained on the job, state law also allows an injured employee to sue third parties for personal injury.

On July 21, Godwin and his wife Dianna filed their Illinois personal injury lawsuit against Old Style Roofing Company. They are accusing the company of failing to secure the ladder to the roof and neglecting to warn Godwin that the ladder was not secured properly.

They are seeking an over $100,000 personal injury judgment. The couple contends that Godwin suffered disability, pain, mental anguish and distress, and loss of enjoyment of life as a result of the work accident. He also can no longer attend to his regular responsibilities and has medical bills that must be paid because of the work accident.

Common Kinds of Injuries Caused by Ladder Falls:

Spinal cord injuries
• Head injuries
Traumatic brain injuries
• Arm injuries
• Leg injuries
• Chest injuries
• Pelvis injuries

Falls from scaffolds and ladders account for a significant number of work injuries. It is important that a ladder is properly positioned, secured, and in proper working condition when used by a worker on the job. Regardless of why a ladder-related work accident occurs, Illinois workers are more than likely entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.

Roofing company blamed for worker's fall and tracheotomy, The Record, July 24, 2009

Related Web Resources:

Misuse of Portable Ladders, OSHA

Safe Ladder Management, Safety-Engineer.com

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July 16, 2009

Fatal Work Accident: Walt Disney World Monorail Accident that Killed Worker May Have Been Caused by Human Error

A fatal work accident involving two monorail trains at Walt Disney World may have been caused by human error. According to FoxNews.com, attributing the Orlando Sentinel, a Disney employee has told investigators that he may have mistakenly radioed that he had already activated a track switch.

Monorail operator Austin Wuennenberg died over the July 4th weekend when two trains on the monorail crashed into each other. Eight people were on board at the time of the amusement park accident. Another employee was taken to a hospital for a medical check.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board, there were no mechanical errors discovered on the track or the trains. Investigators from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are also looking into the deadly incident. OSHA has six months to present a report to the public.

Possible violations Disney could face:
1) Willful (Up to $70,000 fine)
2) Repeat violations (Up to $70,000 fine)
3) Serious (Up to $7,000 fine)
4) Other than serious (Up to $7,000 fine)

OSHA is also looking into another work accident at another amusement park. This incident occurred on July 1 at Universal Orlando's Islands of Adventure theme park right before the park opened. A worker sustained serious injuries when he was struck by a moving vehicle on the Dueling Dragons roller coaster.

OSHA spokesperson Michael Wald says that Universal did not contact them about the work accident, but that they heard about it via a “referral.” Universal is only required to report work accidents to OSHA if there is a death or at least three workers end up with injuries serious enough to warrant hospitalization.

Workers injured on the job or the families of workers killed in Chicago work accidents are likely entitled to Illinois workers’ compensation benefits.

Disney Monorail Accident Was Human Error, Report Says, FoxNews, July 16, 2009

OSHA investigates accident at Universal park, Miami Herald, July 14, 2009

OSHA probes accident that hurt employee, Orlando Sentinel, July 15, 2009

NTSB to probe crash of Disney monorail, Chicago Tribune, July 7, 2009

Related Web Resource:
Occupational Safety and Health Administration

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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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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

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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

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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 26, 2009

Illinois Workers’ Compensation: Agent Admits that He Defrauded 22 Businesses Out of $400,000 in Premiums

An Illinois insurance agent has admitted to defrauding 22 businesses out of about $400,000 in workers’ compensation premiums. In Lake County Court, Reuben Collier Jr. pleaded guilty to four Class 3 felony charges.

Collier, who was working in Waukegan out of Collier Insurance Agency, committed insurance fraud when he fabricated false insurance certificates to make his clients think that their premiums were sent to insurers.

According to investigators, many of his clients paid cash for their Illinois workers’ compensation coverage. The Illinois Department of Insurance and the Waukegan Police Department say that the insurance agent told these clients that they were getting a discount because they paid him in cash.

Collier also forged bogus policy renewals when policy periods were about to or had ended, and he would create fraudulent certificates when clients needed additional proof of insurance.

As part of his guilty plea, Collier:

• Must serve a 30-month probation period.
• Serve a term of periodic imprisonment, which will include electronic home monitoring. He will be released for work.
• Make restitution to 24 of his victims for $97,136.

Workers’ Compensation
It is important that Illinois companies have workers’ compensation coverage so that in the event that an employee is injured, gets sick, or dies on the job, he or she can receive benefits. Illinois workers’ compensation law prevents workers from suing their employer for personal injury or wrongful death because they can avail of this coverage.

Unfortunately, disputes and misunderstandings can arise between injured workers and their employers, which can make obtaining workers’ compensation benefits in a timely manner a challenge—unless you’ve got legal help.

Illinois Agent Guilty of Fraud Charges, Insurance Networking News, June 25, 2009

Illinois Insurance Agent Pleads Guilty to Fraud, Claimsjournal.com, June 25, 2009


Related Web Resources:
Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

Illinois Workers' Compensation Act

Illinois Department of Insurance

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June 24, 2009

Chicago Slip and Fall Work Accident: Worker Dies After Falling into Manhole

A Chicago Park District employee was killed after he slipped and fell into a manhole. William Daniels III was in Mann Park doing maintenance work last week on the wading pool when he appears to have opened a drain, slipped, and fell in. He was partially submerged in the drain after he was struck by a rush of water. Someone saw him leaning into the manhole and contacted 911.

Firefighters arrived to rescue Daniels, who was in cardiac arrest by the time they arrived. Daniels, 59, was pronounced dead at St. Margaret’s hospital. Tests will be conducted to determine if he died from drowning.

Manhole Accidents
Manhole accidents can cause serious injuries to workers. Just this April, two contract workers collapsed while in a manhole. One of the workers died. Investigators have said that the air in the manhole contained 13% oxygen. Less than 16% oxygen in the atmosphere is considered very dangerous. The deadly work accident happened just one block away from where a worker had to be rescued from another manhole.

Just last month, a judge issued an order that allowed family workers of two workers that died in a manhole accident to move forward with their wrongful death lawsuit against Boyd Gaming, the owner of the hotel-casino where the tragic work accident happened. Boyd supervisors were accused of ordering the employees to go into the manhole even though they allegedly knew it could prove fatal. A third worker also sustained serious injuries during the work accident.

In October, a Consolidated Edison worker that was splicing cable was killed in a manhole blast. In 2003, a construction worker broke his leg while working in a manhole.

Sewer death: Autopsy set for Park District worker who died, Chicago Tribune, June 24, 2009

Chicago Park District employee drowns in catch basin, Chicago Sun-Times, June 16, 2009

Suit in Orleans worker deaths allowed to proceed, LasVegasSun.com, May 1, 2009

Worker dies while in manhole, ABClocal.go.com, April 24, 2009


Related Web Resources:
Chicago Park District

Illinois Industrial Commission

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June 18, 2009

Illinois Work Accident: Worker Sues Crane Company for Construction Accident Injuries, Including TBI

A Monroe County construction worker is suing Rehkemper & Sons and National Crane Company for his work injuries. Andrew Buckley claims he started to experience mental, personality, and behavioral changes after he sustained a traumatic brain injury while on the job.

Buckley says that on July 11, 2007, he was hit in the head and chest by bundled floor trusses that had fallen after the crane arm that was carrying the materials suddenly broke. The impact of being struck by the bundles threw him backward onto concrete.

Buckley says that as a result of the crane accident, he sustained facial fractures and had to undergo reconstruction surgery. He also sustained a TBI. He contends that his ability to work and enjoy life became impaired and he lost income because he couldn’t work.

At the time of the work accident, Buckley was employed by McFadden Construction Company, and Rehkember and Sons was using mobile cranes at the Columbia construction site. He is seeking over $50,000 plus other relief.

Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries are catastrophic injuries that can seriously impair your ability to live a normal life. A person with a TBI may no longer be able to work or perform daily tasks, and his or her ability to interact with family and friends may become seriously impaired.

While Illinois workers’ compensation benefits will provide you with some compensation for your TBI that you sustained in a work accident, this may not be enough to cover all your costs and losses. An experienced Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer can determine whether you have grounds for filing a third party lawsuit against other liable parties.

Traumatic brain injury at work site prompts suit, The Record, June 11, 2009

Brain injuries are the 'invisible' disability, The Enterprise-Bulletin, June 11, 2009

Related Web Resources:
TBIs, CDC.gov

Construction Accidents Overview, Justia

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June 15, 2009

Illinois Workers’ Compensation: Insurance Carriers Reportedly Worried About Worker Claims Linked to Obesity

According to the Insurance Journal, workers’ compensation carriers are worried that the increase in the number of obese people in American could lead to poorer job performance. According to the facts:

• The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says about 25% of Americans are obese.
• By 2020, 43% of US women and 40% of the men are expected to be obese.
• Over 70% of both males and females are expected to be overweight.
• The National Council on Compensation Insurance reports that obesity affects mortality rates and can reduce productivity.
• It can also lead to poorer health, more time in hospitals and emergency rooms, and a poorer quality of life.
• Workers that are considered morbidly obese had eight times more lost workdays than other workers.

In regards to obese workers, a 2007 Duke University Medical Center study reports that:

• Very obese workers file 45% more claims than employees that are not obese.
• Their medical costs from claims were seven times higher.
• Slip accidents, fall accidents, and lifting accidents were among the common causes of injuries.
• Obese workers were at high risk of sustaining injuries to their back, hands, wrists, or lower extremities.

The study recommended that employers develop a strategy that promotes healthy eating and physical activity. Also, according to a Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health study, workers in the obese category tend to have a higher risk of injury than workers with a normal body mass index.

If you are injured on the job—regardless of who is at fault or who caused the accident—your employer is likely obligated to pay you Illinois workers’ compensation. In the event that your benefits are denied or delayed, there are legal avenues available for you to ensure that you receive the benefits you are owed.

Workers' Compensation Industry Worried About Obesity Claims, Insurance Journal, June 9, 2009

Obesity Increases Risk of Injury on the Job, Johns Hopkins, May 15, 2007

Obesity Increases Workers' Compensation Costs, DukeHealth.org

Related Web Resources:
Overweight and Obesity, CDC

Illinois Workers' Compensation 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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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

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June 3, 2009

Chicago Work Accident: Propane Gas Blast Injures Restaurant Workers

Four people were transported to the hospital this morning following a propane gas blast at Cyrano’s Café, which is located at the Chicago Riverwalk. The blast occurred at around 9am while cooks were getting the kitchen ready.

Because of a minor gas leak, the propane tank had been repaired the day before. AmeriGas, which conducted the initial installation, says that the tank had passed a leak test.

A deckhand who works at Chicago’s First Lady boat tours, 24-year-old Jessica Herum, was working nearby and ran to the restaurant to extinguish the blast using a dry chemical fire extinguisher.

Of the four people taken to a hospital following the blast, one person was in serious-to-critical condition, two people were in fair-to-serious condition, and one person was in good condition. Two of the people injured in the blast were cooks that worked for the restaurant. Four other people that sustained minor injuries refused treatment. Later in the afternoon, the Chicago Fire Department cited the cafe with several code violations.

Propane Gas Injuries
Propane is a highly flammable gas. Injuries from a propane gas blast can be life-threatening and may include severe burns, limb loss, and death. Common causes of propane gas blasts can include:

• Leaking gas tanks
• Improper maintenance
• The tank of propane is over-pressurized
• The gas control valves are defective

Work injuries are generally covered under Illinois workers’ compensation law, which means that you are likely entitled to benefits if you were involved in a propane gas blast while on the job. If the gas company or another party acted negligently and contributed to causing your work accident, you also may be entitled to third party personal injury compensation.

Riverwalk restaurant cited in propane explosion, Chicago Breaking News, June 3, 2009

Propane, CCOHS


Related Web Resources:
Propane 101

Chicago Riverwalk

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June 2, 2009

Two Workers Hurt in Electrical Accidents Sustain Burn Injuries

A worker is in the hospital after he was injured in an electrical accident on Tuesday afternoon. Brian Arnold was testing an electrical line when his tools made a flash burn happened. He sustained second-degree burns from the work accident. According to a supervisor, Arnold was wearing the required goggles, helmet, gloves, and uniform and that this likely minimized his injuries.

In another electrical accident that occurred last week, a 38-year-old construction worker sustained burn injuries on his feet and hands when the crane he was operating came into contact with a live electrical line. The electrical shock threw the worker into a pool of water. Paramedics had to wait until the power was turned off before they were able to retrieve him.

Electrical Power Line Accidents
Electrical power lines can be a cause of work injuries in the event that a worker comes into contact with a live power line. Crane operators, painters, and construction workers are just a few of the groups at risk of getting really hurt in an electrical power line accident. In certain instances, the use of certain tools around power lines, such as metal ladders, scaffolds, backhoes, cranes, aluminum paint holders, and concrete pumpers, can increase the chances of an electrical accident happening on the job.

In the event that you are injured in an Illinois work accident, you need to let your employer know immediately so that you can receive your workers’ compensation benefits as soon as possible.

In an ideal world, obtaining workers’ compensation should be an instant, automatic process. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. However, Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer Steven J. Malman can make sure that you receive all the work injury benefits that you are entitled to receive.

Man Suffers Burns After Industrial Accident In Lebanon, WCPO.com, June 2, 2009

Construction worker in hospital due to electrical accident, 680 News, May 25, 2009


Related Web Resources:
How to Prevent Electrical Accidents

Electrical Accidents, CDC


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May 29, 2009

Chicago Workers' Compensation: On Behalf of IWCC and ISIAB, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan Files Objection to Chrysler Sale

Last week, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced that she has filed an objection over Fiat’s purchase of Chrysler in federal bankruptcy court. Madigan said her objection was filed on behalf of the Illinois Self-Insurers Advisory Board and the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission.

Madison says that the purpose of the objection is to protect Chrysler workers in the state that may need Illinois workers’ compensation for their work injuries. Her filing states that both the ISIAB and the IWCC oppose the sale if there won’t be enough assets left to pay Illinois Chrysler employees their workers' compensation benefits.

Chrysler filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last month. The motor vehicle manufacturer, which was established in 1924, announced that Fiat would be purchasing most of its assets as part of a restructuring deal reached with stakeholders.

However, the current sale terms does not obligate Fiat to pay Chrysler workers’ work injury benefits and Chrysler may not end up having enough assets to pay its injured employees their compensation. If Chrysler can’t pay these benefits, the financial burden would fall on the Illinois Self-Insurers Security Fund. Officials in other states have also filed objections voicing similar concerns about their injured Chrysler workers.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation
Most injured workers are guaranteed Illinois workers’ compensation benefits for injuries sustained during work-related accidents. This provides workers the medical services and compensation they need to recover from their injuries while protecting employers from Illinois personal injury lawsuits.

Work injuries not only take time and money to recover from, but they can prevent an injured worker from doing his or her job and earning a living.

State Attorneys General File Objections to Sale of Chrysler Assets, The National Law Journal, May 28, 2009

Madigan Files Objection to Chrysler Sale on Behalf of Workers' Compensation Fund, eNews Park Forest, May 23, 2009


Related Web Resources:
Illinois Self-Insurers Association

Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan

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May 27, 2009

Wal-Mart Worker’s Death Leads to OSHA Citation and $7,000 Fine

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is citing and fining Wal-Mart Stores Inc. for the death of a Wal-Mart employee during a Black Friday shopping event on November 28, 2008. OSHA says that store employees were placed at risk of being crushed by the crowd because Wal-Mart neglected to put into place “reasonable and effective” crowd management principles and, instead, engaged in inadequate crowd management. He died of asphyxiation.

OSHA is also accusing the Wal-Mart store of failing to provide workers with the tools and training required to manage the crowd of approximately 2,000 shoppers that rushed into the store. The crowd knocked seasonal worker Jdimytai Damour onto the ground, trampling him as they broke down doors to get to the sale items.

The OSHA fine for the citation is $7,000—the maximum fine possible for a serious OSHA violation. Based on past Black Friday experiences, an OSHA representative said that the store should have foreseen that effective crowd control tactics needed to be put in place. Wal-Mart disagrees with the citation and claims that it could not have anticipated Damour’s tragic worker accident. Wal-Mart spokesperson Daphne Moore says that OSHA and the retail industry do not provide guidance for such situations and that, in fact, the company had implemented crowd management precautions on the day Damour died.

The retailer has agreed to improve its post-Thanskgiving day crowd management strategy, pay $400,000 to victims that were injured during last year’s Black Friday trampling incident, and give $1.5 million to nonprofit and social services groups. The deal with prosecutors allows the retail chain to avoid criminal charges in Damour’s death.

Most injured workers and immediate family workers of those killed in Illinois work accidents are entitled to Illinois workers’ compensation benefits from their employers.

OSHA cites Wal-Mart in trampling death, Newsday.com, May 26, 2009

Wal-Mart pays $2M to avoid charges in death probe, AP/Trib.com, May 6, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Family Of Wal-Mart Employee Jdimytai Damour Sues Over Trampling Death, The Huffington Post, December 3, 2008

Wal-Mart Worker’s Black Friday Death Was Preventable, ChicagoWorkersCompensationLawyerBlog, December 2, 2008

Walmart Stores


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May 22, 2009

Unions to OSHA: Protect Health Care Workers from the Swine Flu

A number of worker unions are calling on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to protect employees—especially health care workers—from the swine flu by enforcing specific safety protections. At least 82 of the 5,000 probable and confirmed swine flu cases in the US involve health care workers and there is concern that the virus is still spreading.

In a letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, AFL-CIO Safety and Health Director Peg Seminario noted that emergency responders, health care workers, and other workers that come into contact with people carrying the H1N1 virus are at high risk of also getting sick while on the job. Although OSHA and the CDC issued guidelines earlier this spring on how to protect workers from the swine flu—followed by interim guidelines directed at health care workers—Seminario says the guidelines are not being followed. She says a compliance directive or a hazard alert needs to be issued to address the swine flu-related hazards that workers in the healthcare industry face and the need for employers to protect their employees so they don't sustain this work-related illness.

The AFL-CIO offers its own recommendations on how employers can protect health care workers from the pandemic flu virus:

• Establish an infection control program for workers in hospitals and clinics.
• Seek and implement ways to control exposure to the virus.
• Make sure workers have easy access to personal protective equipment, cleaning supplies, and respirators.
• Educate workers about the swine flu, its symptoms, how it spreads, and how to control the infection.
• Train workers on ways they can protect themselves and prevent the virus from spreading.
• Enforce personal hygiene policies.
• Set up isolation units for swine flu patients so that other patients are not exposed to them.
• Select the specific health care workers who will treat your swine flu patients.
• Send home any health care workers that you think may have the swine flu.

If you have the swine flu because you were exposed to the virus while working, you are likely entitled to Illinois workers’ compensation benefits.

Unions Urge OSHA to Enforce Swine Flu Worker Protections, BlogAFLCIO.org, May 19, 2009

Protecting Health Care Workers During Pandemic Flu, AFLCIO.org (PDF)


Related Web Resources:
Swine Flu, CDC

Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for an Influenza Pandemic, OSHA


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May 19, 2009

Workers’ Compensation: OSHA Tells Over 13,500 Employers that Their Illness and Injuries Rates Surpass the National Average

Last month, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration sent letters to over 13,500 employers throughout the US to let them know that their illness and injury rates are much higher than the national average. OSHA called the letter a “proactive step” toward encouraging its recipients to start taking immediate steps to lower these rates and improve health and safety conditions on the job.

The injury and illness rates of the employers that were contacted was more than double the national average and had resulted in time off from work, job changes, and limited work activities. The data for these rates was compiled from a 2008 survey conducted that involved 80,000 work sites and the illnesses and injuries that occurred in 2007.

The letter included a list of the most frequently cited OSHA standards, included copies of each employer’s illness and injury data, and offered help on how to improve illness and injury rates. OSHA also provided information on insurance carriers, health consultation services, and state workers’ compensation agencies.

Illinois Workers' Compensation
Illnesses and injuries that occur on the job may allow you to qualify for Illinois workers’ compensation benefits—regardless of who was at fault in causing the work accident. However, Illinois employers are still obligated, under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, to provide you with a healthy, safe, and hazard-free work environment. Employers can be cited and fined if a worker gets hurt, sick, or killed because of a a health hazard or an unsafe condition that could have been remedied or removed.

OSHA Notifies Workplaces with High Injury and Illness Rates, OSHA, April 17, 2009

Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

US Department of Labor

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May 15, 2009

Will Chrysler Bankruptcy Impact Workers’ Compensation Funds?

States throughout the country are observing Chrysler LLC’s bankruptcy proceedings to see how the case might affect workers’ compensation funds. Chrysler has promised to continue providing workers’ compensation benefits even though it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Last week, Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox filed a motion in bankruptcy court expressing concern that some of the verbiage in Chrysler’s bankruptcy paperwork leaves room for the auto manufacturer to back out of its existing workers’ compensation commitments. One concern would be that if a buyer were to purchase Chrysler, that entity would not be obligated to keep paying the injured workers’ claims. Cox's motion expressed concern that if the state’s Self-Insurers Security Fund had to assume these obligations, the fund would become insolvent within weeks.

Michigan, where Chrysler has strong business roots, is not the only state that could be affected if this were to happen. Chrysler, which has employees throughout the US, is self-insured some states and has bought workers’ compensation insurance in others. As a matter of fact, an Illinois Workers’ Compensation spokesperson says it is observing the situation in Michigan and speaking with agencies in other states about the issue.

A Chrysler spokesperson says that the court has given the automaker authority to keep paying workers’ compensation to its injured workers that qualify for these benefits. As of the end of 2008, Chrysler had 38,257 workers in the US. The company’s workers’ compensation liability may exceed $150 million, requiring the company to put out over $25 million a year. Chrysler filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on April 30 and is in the process of combining its business with Fiat.

States watch Chrysler's possible impact on workers' comp, Automotive News, May 11, 2009

Michigan Objects to Chrysler-Fiat Deal Over Workers' Compensation Funds, Insurance Journal, May 7, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Chrysler files for bankruptcy, Money.CNN.com, May 1, 2009

Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

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May 12, 2009

Elevator Accident Crushes Worker to Death

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the elevator accident that claimed the life of a worker yesterday. Jason William Moyer, 39, was repairing an elevator when it fell on him while he was in the shaft. He was pronounced dead at the work accident site.

A report from the Department of Business and Professional Regulation says that the elevator that crushed Moyer failed a private inspection in February 2008. At a follow-up evaluation, the state agency issued a citation to the elevator’s owner for failing to have an updated license. The owner was also told that proof of a current inspection would have to be obtained.

Work injuries and deaths can be grounds for workers’ compensation from the injured or deceased worker’s employer. A personal injury law firm can also determine whether there are third parties that should be held liable for your work accident.

For example, last month a worker that got hurt because a man-lift malfunctioned sued a number of companies and officers for injuries he sustained while on the job. Milan Patrick is suing Victory Holdings, Panco Properties, Cathy Panico, Joseph Panico, Genco Land and Development, and Antonio Colasante for personal injury.

Patrick says that the defendants hired him in 2007 to do some remodeling at an apartment building. The worker had to use a 1995 Genie S40 man-lift to complete some of the work on the side of the building.

The plaintiff contends that because the man-lift was not properly maintained and its safety warning system was not working, on April 10, 2007 the bucket of the man-lift that he was in toppled over, causing him to become pinned between a parked car and the bucket. Patrick says he sustained abrasions and broken bones during his work accident.

Work injuries can lead to expensive medical bills, lost wages, and other damages and losses.

Man crushed in Century Village elevator shaft, Palm Beach Post, May 11, 2009

Shinnston man sues over man-lift injury, West Virginia Record, May 11, 2009


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May 7, 2009

Illinois Workers’ Compensation: Workers Sick with Swine Flu

As of May 4, 2009, the Centers for Disease Control is reporting 279 confirmed cases of Swine Flu (H1N1 flu) in the United States. While this is a concern for everyone, it is especially a concern for workers who have to go to their jobs and may catch the virus from someone at their office, factory, or another type of work facility.

If you get the swine flu while you were doing your job, you may be entitled to Illinois workers’ compensation benefits. The challenge may be, however, proving that you contracted the contagious virus while you were doing your job (meaning you have a work-related illness) and not from an incident that is not work-related.

It doesn’t help that many work-related tasks put workers in situations that could put them at risk of getting the swine flu from others. For example:

• Working around other people.
• Eating out.
• Travel.
• Interacting with business associates that come from other parts of the country or the world.

Unfortunately, many Illinois workers can’t afford to stay home to avoid getting sick or to protect others from contracting their viruses. About 57 million US workers don’t get paid for sick days. Not only does staying at home mean that they don’t get paid but it could also result in the loss of their jobs.

It doesn’t help that the workers that likely don’t have sick leave are workers in the child care industry, food services industry, and hotel industry—lines of work that involve workers coming into regular contact with other people or food items. According to a 2008 study on sick leave, 68% of workers that don’t have paid sick leave have showed up to work with a contagious illness.

Steps employers can take to minimize the risk that workers will contract a virus while on the job:

• Make sure the work area is environmentally clean.
• Remind employees to regularly wash their hands.
• Have antibacterial hand cleansing lotions available.
• Encourage workers that exhibit flu-like symptoms to get medical attention and not return to work until they are certain they don’t have the swine flu.

Swine Flu Meets Workers Comp, Workers' Comp Insider, April 27, 2009

H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu) and its impact on Workers Compensation, WorkersCompensation.com

Swine Flu or Not, Many Workers Can't Stay Home, FoxNews.com, May 4, 2009


Related Web Resources:
Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

Illinois Workers' Compensation Act (PDF)

H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu), CDC

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May 3, 2009

Illinois Workers Compensation Law Firm: 12 Employees Injured as Dallas Cowboys Practice Stadium Roof Collapses

12 people working at the Dallas Cowboys practice stadium were injured on Saturday when 64 mph winds caused the roof of the tent-like structure to collapse. About 70 people were in the stadium during the rookie minicamp when the accident happened, including players, coaches, media, and team personnel. Dallas Cowboys special teams coach Joe DeCamillis was among the people who got hurt. DeCamillis broke a couple of vertebrae but is expected to recover following surgery.

Another Dallas Cowboys employee, scouting assistant Rich Behm is reportedly paralyzed from the waist down. His spine was severed during the accident. On Saturday night, assistant athletic trainer Greg Gaither underwent surgery to repair a fracture in his right leg to his tibia and fibula.

Other injuries sustained by other victims include an open fracture under the knee, a head injury, and someone was impaled with metal. Some 60 people escaped the roof collapse with bruises and cuts. There were about 70 people in the minicamp when the structure fell.

Fortunately, a lot of people received warning that there was something wrong with the roof when the lights started shaking. This caused people to try evacuating the facility, which may have saved many lives.

The building, which consisted of a 100-yard football field with a few yards of clearance around had a roof located 80-feet above the ground. One of the companies that took part in building the stadium is Summit Structures LLC. In 2006, a state court found that Summit was negligent when it designed and built a building that fell in 2003 following a snowstorm.

If you were injured on the job during an Illinois work accident, you are likely entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for your injuries.

Cowboys staffer paralyzed after accident, Comcast.net, May 2, 2009

Roof collapse injures a coach, 11 others at Cowboys' facility, USA Today, May 3, 2009

Cowboys assistant paralyzed after facility collapse, SeattlePI.com, May 3, 2009

Related Web Resource:
Dallas Cowboys Team Page

Workers' Compensation 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

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April 28, 2009

Chicago Workers’ Compensation Law Firm: Workers Memorial Day Honors People Killed and Injured in the Workplace

Today is Workers Memorial Day. The day is set aside to remember workers who were injured or died in work accidents. According go the AFL-CIO, 5,657 workers died in work accidents in 2007, while over 4 million others who were injured or got sick. That breaks down to about 15 workers killed a day and 10,959 others were injured. However, considering that there are limits to the injury reporting system, this amount is likely a conservative estimate. More likely, about 8 to 12 million workers get hurt or sick each year.

As part of its observation of Workers’ Memorial Day, the AFL-CIO issues its annual report, “Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect.” Among its numerous findings:

• 50,000 to 60,000 workers sustain occupational disease each year.
• 5,657 worker deaths occurred because of traumatic injuries.
• $145 billion to $290 billion a year is spent directly and directly on disabling injuries. But again, these costs only take into account injuries reported to employers.
• The report also reveals that Latino workers continue to be the group most likely to risk death while working.
• 937 Latino workers died in work accidents in 2007.

The report says that the Bush Administration neglected to address a number of health problems and safety issues during its eight years and even blocked or took away certain Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Mine Safety and Health Administration rules.

Lawmakers are hoping to implement better laws to protect our workers. Last week, HR 2067 was introduced. The bill calls for tougher safety and health penalties, grants more workers protection by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, provides more worker safety rights, and protects whistleblowers.

April 28 is Workers Memorial Day. The date was chosen because it is also the date that OSHA was created in 1971.

Fortunately, many US workers are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.

Workers Memorial Day 2009, AFL-CIO

HR 2067, The Protecting America's Workers Act, Washington Watch

Related Web Resources:
Death on the Job Report, 2008

Mine Safety and Health Administration

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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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April 22, 2009

Two Illinois Workers Killed in Separate Accidents

A Champaign worker is dead from an Illinois work accident at the ACH Food plant. Kurt Davis was pronounced dead at the accident site this morning. An autopsy is scheduled for today.

A co-worker reportedly found him inside an empty rail car located in one of the buildings. He had been preparing the car for the loading of vegetable oil. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says the agency is conducting an investigation into is death.

Last week, another Illinois man died in a work accident. This incident occurred in Missouri at the Holcim Inc. cement plant. Vincent Lavite, a Wood River resident, had to be airlifted to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. Lavite, who was not employed at the plant, was an outside contractor.

If you have been injured in an Illinois work accident, an experienced Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer can make sure you receive all of your benefits. Your attorney can also determine whether any OSHA violations were factors in causing your work accident.

Last Tuesday in Galva, investigators say a machine that malfunctioned caused a spark that triggered a number of dust explosions at the All-Feed Processing and Packaging plant. Three workers were injured from the blasts. They were treated and later released.

OSHA investigators arrived at the Illinois work accident site to determine if these recent blasts were connected to OSHA violations that were issued against the company a few months ago. The All-Feed Processing and Packaging plant was cited for 28 OSHA health and safety violations and fined tens of thousands of dollars.

Violations were issued for electrical issues, fire hazards, and other serious safety issues. Some of the violations were accompanied by the term “willfull,” which means that company knew that they were occurring. The OSHA’s probe could take up to six months. The plant owner says the explosions are not connected to the previous OSHA violations.

ACH employee dies in accident at plant in Champaign, News-Gazette.com, April 22, 2009

Owner says Galva explosion isn't linked to OSHA violations, WQAD, April 14, 2009

Owner says Galva explosion isn't linked to OSHA violations, WQAD, April 14, 2009


Related Web Resource:
Occupational Safety and Health Administration

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April 18, 2009

Chicago Construction Accident Law Firm: Worker Dies After Saw Kicks Back, Cutting His Throat

A construction work experienced in working with a pipe cutter is dead after the saw that he was operating kicked back, hitting him on the throat on Tuesday morning. Eugene Hakes Jr., employed by A-1 Excavating, was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

Hakes was engaged in open excavation and using a hand-held gas-powered cutoff saw to cut a water main when the catastrophic construction accident happened. None of the other workers nearby reportedly saw the deadly incident.

A-1 President Terry Pecha said the experienced laborer had worked with a saw hundreds of times. Meantime, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and police are investigating the work site so they can figure out how the work accident happened and whether any safety violations occurred.

In February, OSHA announced that A-1 was being fined almost $700,000 for 11 workplace violations, many of them life-threatening, at a trenching operation. A-1 disagrees with the violations and has challenged them. According to an OSHA inspector, workers were exposed to cave-in hazards in a trench that was not properly protected. In addition to the six OSHA citations that the company received for failing to protect workers from such hazards, A-1 also received 5 citations for failing to place the spoil pile material that was excavated from the trench at least two feet from the excavation edge.

Excavation Site Accidents
Regardless of how much experience you have, working at an excavation site can lead to serious work injuries if an accident occurs. Examples of excavation accidents that can cause serious work injuries:

• Cave-ins
• Insufficient oxygen, which can cause asphyxication
• Drowning
• Inhaling toxic fumes
• Explosions
• Electrocution accidents

You should file an Illinois workers’ compensation claim any time you are injured on the job.

Man Killed On the Job After Power Saw Kicks Back and Cuts His Throat, WEAU, April 15, 2009

Cadott man dies in work accident, Leader-Telegram, April 15, 2009

Related Web Resource:
OSHA

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April 16, 2009

Worker Who Filed for Illinois Workers’ Compensation Says He Was Wrongfully Terminated

A man who used to work for Morgan’s Food is suing the company. Tommy A. Loftis says he was wrongfully terminated as retaliation because he had filed an Illinois workers’ compensation claim.

Loftis says he got hurt during a work accident on June 20, 2008. As a result, he claims he could not perform his job and became temporarily disabled. He then filed for workers’ compensation benefits.

In his Illinois lawsuit, Loftis contends that his former employer disregarded his rights and punished him because he pursued his rights under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. Loftis says that because he was fired, he experienced loss of benefits, loss of income, emotional trauma, pain, and suffering. He is seeking a judgment of over $100,000 plus costs.

Under federal and Illinois laws, it is illegal for companies to take retaliatory action against a worker because he or she filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. Unfortunately, such incidents of retaliation do happen.

Examples of ways in which an employer might try to get back at a worker for seeking to obtain workers’ compensation benefits:

• Firing the worker
• Giving him or her a poor job performance review
• Purposely not promoting the worker
• Making threats
• Isolating the worker
• Giving the worker less desirable work or reassigning/transferring the employee
• Giving the worker more or less work
• Disciplining the worker for no justifiable reason
• Getting back at other coworkers who are cooperating with an investigation into the injured worker's case
• Providing the worker with negative employment references

Illinois workers’ compensation law is there to ensure that workers get compensated for their injuries that they sustain on the job—regardless of who is at fault—and also lets employers rest easy without the fear that a worker will sue them for personal injury or wrongful death. Employers are not allowed to deny employees their workers’ compensation benefits.

Food worker claims retaliatory discharge, The Record, April 15, 2009

Related Web Resource:

Illinois Workers' Compensation Act

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April 14, 2009

From Illinois Workers' Compensation Law Firm: Kitchen Workers at Risk of Sustaining Hand Injuries

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the food industry spends approximately $300 million in medical expenses, workers’ compensation payments, and time employees must take off from work to recover, for hand injuries. While to many professional chefs, cuts, burns, bruises, welts, and lacerations may be signs of the dues paid and the years of experience accumulated by kitchen workers and chefs, the injuries do exact a toll on both the bodies of the injured workers and the wallets of their employers.

In 2003, According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

• Almost 24,000 restaurant workers had to take at least one day off from work because of a cut injury, a scald injury, or a burn injury.

• While some of these workers sustained injuries to the face and other extremities, hand injuries seemed to occur most often.

• 62,000 restaurant workers were injured badly enough that they had to take time off from work.

• Between 1999 and 2003, 6,700 bar workers and restaurant employees had a digit or a fingertip amputated while at work.

• Common causes of these amputation injuries included misuse of band saws, choppers, slicers, and other cutting tools.

• While slip and fall injuries are a leading cause of injury to restaurant workers, hand injuries fall right behind at number two.

• Cooking, slicing, and cutting appear to be the activities that workers who were injured were most often engaged in when they got hurt.

• Poor training, restaurant worker error, coworker carelessness, and defective equipment are some reasons why hand injuries and burn injuries happen.

Regardless of who is at fault in causing your work injury accident, you are likely entitled to Illinois workers’ compensation benefits so that you can recover. Hand injuries while working as a chef, sous chef, cook, or another type of kitchen worker can be tough, because you need your hands to do your job (whether you are chopping up vegetables, preparing the ingredients for a soufflé, or frying up hamburgers over a hot grill).

Hand injuries on the rise among kitchen workers: on-the-job cuts and burns cost industry an estimated $300m each year in medical fees, lost labor, Bnet, November 21, 2005

Related Web Resources:
Food Services of America

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

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April 9, 2009

Construction Accidents Injure More Workers

The injury count involving construction workers continues to grow this year. In Florida, two construction workers sustained injuries yesterday when a large metal sheet fell on them. They were trying to guide the sheet through the construction site when it struck them. One worker’s leg injuries were reportedly severe.

In Kansas, a worker was killed on Tuesday during a construction accident at a power plant. The employee, Vatthana Vongtheva, suffered fatal injuries when he got pinned against a boiler wall. The 28-year-old was on a scaffold inspecting equipment when the deadly work incident occurred.

This is the second construction worker death at this plant in less than a year. In May, another construction worker died during a massive crane collapse.

Today, a civil jury awarded $7 million to one construction worker who sustained permanent injuries in an 2005 Iowa construction accident. Sub-contractor Allen Frohn got hurt when a lift tipped over and he fell three stories. He had been hired to do gutter work at the hotel. An expert who testified at the personal injury trial reported that the construction site where Frohn was hurt had been cited for about 8 OSHA violations.

Federal and state laws mandate that construction site owners and contractors provide workers with a safe environment. While most construction workers are guaranteed workers’ compensation benefits, there also may be third parties that are not the injured worker’s direct employer that can be ordered to pay personal injury compensation.

Laborers, ironworkers, masons, carpenters, sheet metal workers, electricians, plumbers, welders, and crane operators are just some of the many construction workers our Illinois construction accident law firm has represented in workers’ compensation cases and personal injury lawsuits.

Two workers injured in construction accident at Fort Lauderdale private school, Sun-Sentinel, April 9, 2009

Scott County jury awards 7 million in construction accident, WQAD, April 9, 2009

Iatan construction accident kills worker, KansasCity.com, March 31, 2009


Related Web Resources:
Occupational Safety and Health Administration

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April 7, 2009

Illinois Appellate Court Upholds Electrician’s Repetitive Trauma Claim Even Though He Had Varied Work Responsibilities

An Illinois worker is allowed to make a workers' compensation claim for repetitive trauma even if he had varied work duties. The Illinois Appellate Court made the decision to uphold the award for the claimant, an electrician who injured his upper extremities while on the job.

Because of the worker's hand intensive, repetitive work, the claimant sustained cubital tunnel, bilateral carpal tunnel, and pronator syndrome. He sought to receive past and future medical benefits by filing an adjustment to his claim.

During testimony, he explained how he had to work with a number of tools and that he used vibratory tools for at least five hours of his work day. His doctors said he sustained his injuries because of engaging in this repetitive work. Meantime, the claimant’s employer had argued that since the electrician performed so many tasks and not just one task, repetitive trauma was not warranted.

The Illinois Appellate Court, however, determined that there was enough evidence to support the electrician’s claim that he got hurt from doing his job. The court refused to reverse an award for proposed medical treatment that his doctor said was needed to help alleviate the repetitive trauma symptoms.

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome: Can be caused by frequently bending the elbow to lift, reach, or pull. Regular, direct pressure on the elbow can also lead to this condition. Irritation can occur while operating machinery or leaning on the elbow.

Pronator Syndrome: Can easily be mistaken for carpal tunnel syndrome. Can occur when the median nerve next to the forearm muscles get compressed. Can cause tingling and numbness. Condition may grow worse due to forceful twisting and gripping.

Bilateral Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Involves carpal tunnel syndrome in both wrists.


Varied work duties fail to short circuit electrician's repetitive trauma claim, Risk & Insurance, February 11, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, AFSCME

Pronator Syndrome, Chiroweb.com

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April 1, 2009

Orland Hills Refinery Worker’s Family to Receive $6 Million Wrongful Death Settlement in Addition to Illinois Workers’ Compensation Death Benefits

An Illinois wrongful death settlement has been reached between the family of an Orland Hills refinery worker and Clark USA Inc, now named Premcor. The then-37-year-old worker, Gary Szabla, died on March 13, 1995 during an explosion at the Clark Oil refinery in Blue Island. The wrongful death case has been making its way through the courts for over a decade.

At first, a Cook County judge agreed with Clark USA and its claim that it could not be sued because it was protected under Illinois’s workers’ compensation law and that it was not directly in charge of daily operations at the refinery where the blast occurred. The wrongful death attorney representing Szabla’s family, however, argued that Clark USA was in charge of the refinery's decreased budget, which was forcing refinery workers to take on maintenance jobs that they were not trained to perform.

The Illinois Appellate Court would go on to overturn the Cook County judge’s ruling. Clark USA then took the case to the Illinois Supreme Court, which upheld the appellate court’s ruling that because the company was in charged of the refinery’s operating budget, it could be held liable. The Illinois Supreme Court also found that because Clark USA was not Szabla’s direct employer, it could not avail of protections offered under workers’ compensation law.

The $6 million wrongful death settlement will go to Szabla’s widow, Elizabeth, who has also received workers’ compensation death benefits.

Also killed in the 1995 blast was 50-year-old refinery worker Michael Forsythe. His family filed their civil lawsuit for his wrongful death. Three other people were injured in the explosion.

Refinery Worker Injuries
Sandblasters, painters, refinery maintenance operators, pipe fitters, welders, and corrosion removal workers are just some of the many refinery workers who are prone to serious injuries and exposure to toxic substances while on the job. Refinery worker injuries can occur during fires or due to chemical burns, explosions, electrocution accidents, improper scaffolding, lead poisoning, exposure to heat, exposure to asbestos, and slip and fall accidents. Refinery workers also risk contracting occupational diseases, such as lung disease, silicosis, and multiple myeloma.

If someone in your family died in a refinery work accident, you may be entitled to receive Illinois workers’ compensation death benefits. You also may be able to file wrongful lawsuits against other negligent parties.

Refinery worker's family to get $6M, Southtownstar.com, April 1, 2009


Related Web Resources:
OSHA

Industrial Accidents, Chicago Tribune

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March 31, 2009

Health Care Worker Injuries Can Be Grounds for Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Although caring for a sick person at a hospital, a nursing home, a retirement residence, or a mental health care facility may not seem like a dangerous occupation, the nature of the health care worker’s job can lead to certain work injuries. In these instances, the nurse, nursing assistant, laboratory aid, orderly, or other type of health care worker is likely entitled to Illinois workers’ compensation benefits.

Common kinds of health care worker injuries:
• Musculoskeletal disorders
• Neck Injuries
• Back Injuries
• Arm injuries
• Carpal tunnel syndrome
• Assault injuries by mentally ill or emotionally volatile patients
• Sharp injuries (from needles, surgical tools, lancets, and other sharp instruments) that can lead to exposure to blood borne pathogens that may result in HIV, Hepatitis C, Hepatitis B, and other illnesses.

From 1995 to 2004, orderlies, attendants, and nursing home assistants belonged in the group (second only to truck drivers) with the most number of reported work injuries and illnesses. Almost 800,000 of these workers got sick or were injured on the job during this time period. 154 workers died from their work injuries.

54% of the workplace injuries affecting home health assistants, nursing assistants, and psychiatric aides appeared to involve musculoskeletal disorders, often caused by fall accidents, slip accidents, trip accidents, and auto accidents. Overexertion, which can occur when lifting heavy patients or equipment, appeared to be another common causes of injuries.

Workers' Compensation
Regardless of who was at fault in causing your health care worker injury, it is important that you receive the workers’ compensation that you are owed as soon as possible. The best way to ensure this in Illinois is to talk to an experienced Chicago workers’ compensation attorney about your work injury claim.

UCSF Study Looks at Injured Hospital Workers, UCSF, February 8, 2005

Occupational Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities among Nursing, Psychiatric, and Home Health Aides, 1995-2004, Bureau of Labor Statistics

Related Web Resources:
Researchers link nursing injuries to staffing levels, Medical News Today, June 5, 2009

Needlestick/Sharps Injuries, OSHA.gov


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March 30, 2009

Illinois Appellate Court Says Workers’ Compensation Case of Employee that Died During the Claims Process Can Proceed

An Illinois Appellate Court ruling has affirmed that the workers’ compensation claims of claimants that die during the claims process shall proceed as if their deaths never happened. The case, Freeman United Coal Mining Co. V. Van Houten, Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, involved a coal miner that died after filing for an adjustment to his claim, per the Workers’ Occupational Diseases Act.

The worker wanted to obtain Illinois workers’ compensation benefits for a disability he said he sustained because of exposure to coal dust. He died from a heart attack two months after filing the application.

His wife sought to obtain death benefits from his employer. She claimed that her husband’s work-related lung disease aggravated his heart attack.

An arbitrator determined that conditions from coal mining did in fact contribute to the miner’s occupational disease, which was a factor in his death. The miner’s widow was awarded spousal benefits and funeral costs. The arbitrator, however, denied the miner’s benefits claim.

The Illinois Appellate Court affirmed that the miner was suffering from an occupational disease, including chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and coal workers’ pneumoconiosis and its related effects, and held that his workers’ compensation claim should still continue unaffected despite his death.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Although Illinois workers’ compensation law mandates that employers provide employees with injuries and death benefits, it can be a very good idea to retain the services of an experienced Chicago workers’ compensation law firm to make sure that your claim goes through without a hitch and that your request for benefits is not unfairly denied or delayed.

Getting hurt because of your job or losing someone you love in a work accident or because of an occupational disease can be upsetting enough without having to deal with the employer's insurer and any hassles that could lead to financial worries.

Coal miner's claim doesn't abate at his death, Risk & Insurance, March 19, 2009


Related Web Resources:
Workers’ Occupational Diseases Act

Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

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March 27, 2009

Injured Worker To Receive Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Patella Fracture Even with Preexisting Arthritis

A state workers’ compensation commission has upheld that an injured worker should receive benefits for a fractured patella even though the plaintiff had preexisting arthritis in the knee area prior to sustaining the work injury. The employer, Adecco Inc., had sought to overturn a magistrate’s decision to grant workers’ compensation benefits after determining that events at work is what caused the plaintiff’s inability to work when she fell, hurt her knee, and broke her patella.

During testimony, the surgeon for the plaintiff explained how the broken patella is the reason the plaintiff has a work disability and that the work injury has even caused the overall condition of her knee to deteriorate. The commission found that there was enough evidence to agree with the magistrate’s findings.

Preexisting Conditions that Can Lead to Workers’ Compensation Disputes
If you or someone you love was injured in an Illinois work accident, you are very likely entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. In certain cases, however, a dispute may arise between you and your employer or his or her insurer that could cause the delay or denial of your work injury benefits.

For example, you may have a preexisting condition that the insurance company may suggest was the actual cause of your work injuries, giving that as a reason for why you shouldn’t receive benefits. However, if your previous injury or work condition was aggravated by your work accident, your employer is legally obligated to compensate you as if you were injured on the job.

In Illinois, the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission is the agency responsible for presiding over workers’ compensation disputes between employers and employees. If the commission issues a ruling on your behalf and your employer’s insurer refuses to comply, you should talk to the Division of Insurance.

The best way to make sure that your rights are upheld and that your workers’ compensation case is properly argued is to speak with an experienced Chicago workers’ compensation attorney.

Benefits awarded for patella fracture despite preexisting arthritis, Risk & Insurance, January 22, 2209


Related Web Resource:
Illinois Workers" Compensation Act

Workers' Compensation Overview, Justia

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March 24, 2009

Four Police Officers Die from Fatal Work Injuries Caused by Weekend Gunbattle

Police are mourning the loss of their own, as the officer death toll from a Saturday gunbattle claimed a fourth life. Officer John Hege was pronounced brain dead on Sunday.

Hege, 41, was among the cops that were critically injured during a shootout with a suspect. The men were wounded on Saturday afternoon when they tried to apprehend a car during a routine traffic stop.

Soon after, 911 dispatchers were told that two cops—Hege and Dunakin—had had been shot. Police began a manhunt to look for the shooter and an anonymous tipster directed them to a nearby building.

Other officers killed in Saturday’s incident were 40-year-old Sgt. Mark Dunakin, 43-year-old Sgt. Ervin Romans, and 35-year-old Sgt. Daniel Sakai. A fifth officer was grazed by a bullet and was released from the hospital.

The gunman shot at police and that is when Sakai and Romans were killed. The suspect, 26-year-old Lovelle Mixon, was also shot to death. On Monday, police said that Mixon was a primary suspect in a sexual assault case.

Law enforcement injuries can be serious injuries. Police officers are supposed to deal with dangerous situations and armed suspects, which can place their lives at risk. Sometimes, a police officer may also sustain a work injury in more "normal" incidents, such as slip and fall accidents. A police officer also might sustain a dog bite when going to a residence to respond to a call.

Regardless of the cause of the work injury, police officers and their families are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.

Injured California officer is declared brain dead, Boston.com/AP, March 23, 2009

Fourth Oakland police officer dies after weekend shooting, CNN.com, March 24, 2009


Related Web Resources:
Oakland Police

Chicago Police

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March 14, 2009

Worker Dies After Being Crushed by Freight Elevator

A worker at a produce processing plant died on Friday afternoon when the freight elevator he was working on fell on top of him. The employee was under the machine when its rigging gave way. He was crushed by the elevator.

Investigators are trying to determine why the employee, who was not certified or trained in fixing elevators, was working on one. Police, prosecutors, detectives, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are looking into the elevator work accident. A spokesperson for State Garden Inc, the produce-processing company that employed the worker, says that the freight elevator was actually more a pallet lift and one that did not require a worker who had certification.

Some 300 worker are employed at the company.

Elevator Worker Injuries
It is the job of elevator workers, also known as elevator mechanics, elevator constructors, elevator repairers, and elevator installers, to install, replace, maintain, assemble, and repair elevators, moving walkways, dumbwaiters, and similar kinds of equipment.

Unfortunately, as with all professions (especially those requiring manual labor), work accidents resulting in injuries can happen. An elevator worker can get hurt while lifting or moving heavy tools, parts, or equipment. He or she can also get injured during a fall accident, experience electrical shock, or get crushed by a falling elevator.

It is the responsibility of employers to make sure that workers are properly trained, have all of the safety equipment that they need, and there are no unnecessary hazards that could cause injury or death.

As an injured worker or the family member of an employee that was killed during a work accident, there are ways to make sure you receive the workers' compensation benefits you are owed.

Worker at Chelsea plant crushed by elevator, Boston.com, March 14, 2009

One dead in Chelsea elevator accident, MSNBC.com


Related Web Resources

Illinois Workers' Compensation

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March 12, 2009

Noisy Chicago Work Environments Can Cause Hearing Problems for Employees and May Increase Number of Illinois Motor Vehicle Accidents

According to a new study to be published in the journals Occupation Environmental Medicine, Accident Analysis and Prevention, and Traffic Injury Prevention, excessive noise at work increases the chances of both work accidents and motor vehicle crashes.

Researches reached their findings after examining a sample of 53,000 workers:

• Over 60% of the employees were exposed at work to noises equivalent in decibels to the degree of the sound a subway makes when it pulls up at a station—that’s 90 decibels daily.
• Exposure to this much noise on a daily basis can increase the chances that he or she might become involved in a work accidents.
• If hearing loss occurred, researchers found that workers had a 7% greater chance of getting hurt in an accident.
• The study suggests that excessive noise in the workplace is a problem that is often ignored.

According to Acoustics.com:
About 30 million people are exposed to dangerous levels of noise at work. Employees that work in environments where they are exposed to vibration, lead, carbon monoxide, solvents, and chemicals also appear to experience a greater likelihood of developing hearing loss.

Occupational hearing loss is one of the most common work-related injuries and one that could be easily avoided. It is also a hazard that is often ignored by safety officials and employers.

Hearing loss often develops gradually, which may be one reason it is easy to ignore. Yet the damage is often irreversible and may affect not just the worker’s ability to do his or her job but it can severely compromise one’s quality of life and ability to do normal tasks. Other consequences may include:

• Social isolation
• Impaired driving ability
• Impaired ability to communicate
• Greater risk of work accidents, motor vehicle accidents, and other kinds of accidents
• Tinnitus (constant hissing or ringing in the ears)
• Loss of income
• Medical and rehabilitation expenses


Noisy Workplaces Make Employees Deaf and Raise Risk of Accidents, MedIndia.com, March 13, 2009

Your Job or Your Hearing? Hearing Loss in the Workplace, Acoustics.com


Related Web Resources:
Hearing Loss, MayoClinic.com

Occupational Hearing Loss, CDC

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March 5, 2009

Illinois Highway Construction Worker Injured on the Job Files Third Party Lawsuit Against Motorist

A couple is suing a driver for injuries the man sustained while working on the job as a highway construction worker. Craig and Collette Poettker filed their Illinois personal injury lawsuit in St. Clair County Circuit Court last week against motorist Joseph Courtney. The Poettkers are seeking over $700,000 in damages.

The Illinois work accident reportedly took place in a construction zone on Highway 161 on March 2, 2007 when Courtney, who was driving on the road, rammed through a barricade while trying to change lanes in the construction area. Craig claims that as a result of Courtney’s driving, flying debris struck him and caused serious, permanent leg and head injuries. He says that he experienced extreme mental and physical pain, lost wages from taking time off work, has incurred multiple medical expenses, and is unable to deal with ordinary life matters. Collette is claiming loss of her husband’s consortium and society.

Their Illinois civil complaint accuses Courtney of negligence when he drove through the construction zone at over 35 mph and did not slow down even though a speed limit was posted for when workers were in the area. The couple is also accusing him of failing to properly control his vehicle and not keeping a proper lookout for hazards on the road.

Also named in the Illinois car accident lawsuit is Helitech, the company that Courtney was working for at the time of the catastrophic work accident. Craig claims that Helitech should have known better than to allow Courtney to drive for work when he had a history of speeding violations.

Highway Construction Accidents
Ideally, a highway construction site will be properly set up to minimize injuries to workers. However, merely placing this type of work area on a road can create a hazardous situation for both highway construction workers and motorists.

Common causes of highway construction accidents include:
• Road debris
• Inadequate warning signs
• Cones that are placed in the wrong spots
• Crane accidents

In Illinois, injured highway construction workers are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if they sustained their injuries while on the job. They also may be entitled to third party compensation for personal injury.

Flying debris on highway caused construction worker's injuries, suit claims, The Madison/St Clair Record, March 5, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Construction Laborers, Bureau of Labor Statistics

Construction, US Department of Labor

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March 4, 2009

Chicago Police Officers and Illinois State Police are Entitled to Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Chicago police officers, Illinois state police, and other law enforcement officers can be prone to serious injuries while doing their line of work. When this happens, an injured public safety official is entitled to Illinois workers’ compensation benefits.

Examples of injuries that can occur to police officers:

Motor vehicle accidents: Many police officers are required to roam the through the city in a police cruiser or on a motorcycle or in another type of vehicle. Like all other motorists, however, law enforcement officers risk getting involved in a motor vehicle accident—whether they are going about their daily routine or engaged in a high-speed police pursuit. While an injured police officer may be able to sue a negligent motorist or suspect for personal injury, availing of one’s workers’ compensation benefits can also be a financial help.

When Directing Traffic: A police officer directing traffic in the middle of a busy intersection or around a construction zone may be prone to pedestrian-liike injuries if he or she is accidentally struck by a car, a truck, a bus, or a motorcycle.

Slip and Fall Accidents: Especially during the winter months, a police officer who is going up the stairs or an icy driveway may accidentally slip and fall, possibly sustaining a head injury, a back injury, or a neck injury.

• Gunshot or knife wounds while apprehending suspects and criminals

• Dog bite injuries when responding to a police call at a residence

• Bruises and beatings during on foot pursuits and chases

• Injuries sustained during a police rescue

• Exposure to hazardous substances and disease at a home, business, or facility


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February 28, 2009

Chicago Truck Driver Injuries on the Job

Often, when the media reports about injuries sustained by people in a US truck accident, the victims that become the focus tend to be the people who were injured that were not in the truck at the time of the motor vehicle crash. While it’s true that car occupants, pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcycle riders are at a disadvantage when it comes to traffic accidents involving a semi-truck, a tractor-trailer, an 18-wheeler truck, and other large trucks, truck drivers do get hurt and can be prone to serious injuries on the job, including burn injuries, internal injuries, head injuries, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and death.

Even during single-traffic crashes involving just a large truck, such as when the truck malfunctions or the truck driver makes a deadly mistake that causes his vehicle to fall off a bridge or drive off the road, the trucker can get hurt. Fortunately, most truckers have workers’ compensation benefits that provide compensation in the event of a work accident—regardless of who is at fault in causing the truck accident. The trucker may also be entitled to third party compensation if another party, such as a truck manufacturer or another driver, was responsible for causing the motor vehicle crash.

Non-Accident Related Truck Driver Injuries
Truckers are also prone to work-related injuries that don’t necessarily involve traffic accidents. Upper extremity injuries is one common problem among truckers who must operate a large truck for hours at a time. It doesn’t help that the work schedules of long-haul truckers can make it hard for them to find time to visit to a doctor or a chiropractor.

Examples of upper extremity injuries include low back pain, shoulder pain, arm tingling, hand tingling, and scapula pain. These common injuries can occur when a trucker pulls the fifth wheel pin, lifts and lowers a truck hood, falls or slips while getting out of the truck, unloads the truck, or, out of habit, rests a hand on a gearshift lever while it vibrates. There is also the stress that comes with spending so many hours and days on the road in the urgency to meet delivery deadlines.

Upper Extremity Injuries in the Trucking Industry, Chiroweb.com

Commercial Truck Driver Health and Safety- Preventing Injury and Illness, NIH.gov

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

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