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Archive for the category: Workers compensation
  • Coping With Work-Related Head Injuries

    Work-related head injuries can lead to physical, mental, and financial hardships for an employee. A work injury attorney can file a workers compensation claim and ensure that fair benefits are received. Common Workplace Head Injuries According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, over three million workers suffered non-fatal head injuries while on the job in 2014. Work-related head injuries are among the most serious type of non-fatal injury that a person can sustain, because they often have the potential to lead to long-term physical, mental, and financial problems.  A variety of accidents can cause work-related head injuries: Slip and Fall Accidents – Slip and fall accidents are consistently among the most common causes of serious work-related head injuries. There are often caused by liquid spills, cracked pavement, torn carpet, inadequate lighting, and snow and ice. Motor Vehicle Accidents – Many employment positions require employees to drive motor vehicles as part of their daily duties. Truckers, delivery drivers and construction workers are especially vulnerable to accidents that can result in serious head injuries. Defective Work Equipment – In many cases, work-related head injuries are caused by defective work tools and equipment used in the workplace. When such injuries occur, a work injury attorney can file a lawsuit against the equipment manufacturer, as well as the employer. Explosions – Certain industries such as industrial manufacturing and construction often use materials that have the potential to explode under certain conditions. Flying debris and falls due to the impact of the blast often cause head injuries. Complications From Head Injuries Work-related head injuries can result in a variety of complications, their severity is proportionate to the severity of the accident. Some of the more common complications associated with severe head injuries include: headaches and dizziness; difficulty concentrating; sensitivity to light and sound; speech and vision impairments; balance problems; sleep disturbances; changes in behavior; depression; and seizures. Subdural hematomas, common in serious head injuries, result in bleeding between the brain and the inside of the skull. The increased accumulation of blood increases pressure on the brain and puts the injury victim at a higher risk of losing consciousness or death. Work-related head injuries are often serious or fatal. Many injured employees require physical or mental rehabilitation before returning to work. With severe injuries, months or years may pass before the injured employee is able to fully recover from his/her injuries, and some injuries result in[READ MORE…]

  • When Pro-Athletes Become Injured

    Today’s professional athletes often spend their time performing extensive, physically demanding and dangerous activities anytime they train, practice or compete. Although their bodies are typically conditioned to withstand the demands of their sport, these athletes are not invincible. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that sports competitors and professional athletes suffer over 2,000 serious injuries per 10,000 workers each year. This places sports in the top five when it comes to occupations with the most injuries. Football: Injuries on the Field Football has long been recognized as a dangerous sport for amateurs and professional athletes alike, and despite numerous efforts to increase safety on the field, players continue to suffer catastrophic injuries every year. Official reports from the National Football League (NFL) state that within the first two weeks of the season, approximately 15 percent of professional football players have already suffered an injury. While some injuries are fairly minor and recovery is quick, others result in severe impairments, long term disabilities, and sometimes even death. Head, neck, and knee injuries are some of the most common serious injuries sustained by players, and these injuries can sometimes take victims out of the game for good. For a few, repetitive injuries sustained during years of participating in the sport can cost them their lives. A study released in 2015 revealed that out of 91 NLF players who were deceased, a disturbing 87 tested positive for a brain disease that has been linked to repetitive head trauma (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy). Baseball: Diamonds in the Dust Professional baseball players often suffer severe injuries that sideline them, and sometimes their careers, as well. According to studies published by the American Journal of Sports Medicine, about 51.4 percent of Major League Baseball injuries were to the upper extremities, while 30.6 percent were to the lower extremities. Pitchers were at the highest risk of injury, accounting for about 34 percent more injuries than fielders, and they suffered a significantly higher number of injuries to the upper extremity (67 percent). Fielders, however, were more likely to suffer injuries to the lower extremity, accounting for about 47.5 percent. While professional baseball players are much less likely than football players to lose their lives while participating in practice or a game, many times their injuries are so severe that they become unable to continue their careers. Basketball: Catastrophe on the Court With teams playing demanding, 82-game[READ MORE…]

  • Faster emergency response and medical care just a few benefits of Chicago’s first vertiport

    Victims of car accidents and other emergency events will now be able to receive medical aid faster than before with the opening of Chicago’s first vertiport. Vertiports offer an efficient new alternative to emergency ground transportation by providing a space for aircraft to vertically take off and land. Vertiport flights can streamline travel from crowded downtown areas to nearby airports or medical centers. This means first responders can access injured victims much more quickly, improving survival rates and potentially lowering the risk of medical complications. Vertiport Chicago, which is currently the largest vertiport in the U.S., is situated 3.5 miles from downtown Chicago. The 10-acre facility includes a terminal, a hangar, space for eight parked helicopters and one spot for takeoff and landing. The vertiport officially opened in late April, making the new takeoff and landing zone available to paying clients and local emergency responders, including paramedics, police and firefighters. Since Vertiport Chicago is built on land that belongs to the Illinois Medical District, the facility will give medical helicopters top priority. These helicopters will be able to take off or land before all other air traffic without paying any landing fees. This arrangement should enable local medical professionals to more efficiently deliver organs and move trauma patients to medical centers where they can receive needed care. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2012 found that trauma patients experienced markedly better outcomes when they were transported to the hospital via helicopter. These patients were 16 percent more likely to survive than patients transported by ambulance. The patients who were moved by helicopter also had a higher chance of progressing to rehabilitative treatment, rather than requiring ongoing assisted care. This study did not determine why air transportation might offer such distinct benefits for trauma patients. However, people who are taken to the hospital via ambulance may be at risk for delays and additional injuries. Eliminating these issues may make a critical difference for people who have been seriously injured in car crashes, workplace accidents and other traumatic incidents. The new vertiport will also serve the community by creating jobs, attracting businesses and drawing in tourists. Already, the vertiport is allowing logistics company DHL to expedite daily deliveries to clients in downtown Chicago. The availability of chartered vertiport flights, which will allow executives to travel to O’Hare International Airport in 10 minutes, may give more businesses[READ MORE…]

  • Tips if You Are Injured on the Job

    If you are physically hurt at work, if you should fall and hurt yourself or have a piece of equipment malfunction and are you injured here are some tips for you. These are important guidelines to follow if you are injured on the job and wish to have your employer compensate you for your injuries. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system of benefits paid by employers to workers who experience job-related injuries. The Illinois Workers Compensation Commission operates the state system for scheduling workers’ compensation cases. An arbitrator first tries a case, and then a panel of three commissioners may review that decision.   Make sure to notify your employer as soon as possible after your accident – Although the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act allows you forty-five days to notify your employer of your accident, the sooner the better. Keep a copy of the accident report form – If your employer requires you to complete an accident report form, keep a copy for your records. NEVER sign a blank accident report form. Obtain the name and contact information of the workers’ compensation insurance carrier from your employer – Your employer is required by law to post the contact information in a prominent area at your place of employment. Seek medical treatment from your own doctor; if necessary seek medical treatment as soon as possible after the accident – Although your employer may direct you to a company clinic or doctor, you DO NOT have to be treated by the company doctor. Give a complete and accurate history of your accident to all of your treating doctors – It is very important to give complete, accurate and consistent histories to all your treating physicians. Any inconsistencies in your histories could raise a red flag and may result in your claim being denied by the insurance company. Make sure to get an “off work” note from your doctor if your doctor feels that you are unable to work because of your injuries – You must be off work pursuant to your doctor’s orders in ordered to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Make sure to give your employer and the insurance company a copy of the off work note – You should keep your employer and the insurance updated on your medical status. Failure to notify the insurance company of your medical status could result in having your benefits interrupted. Make sure to keep all[READ MORE…]

  • Don’t Talk, Don’t Tell

    Have you ever been told you are not allowed to discuss your salary with co-workers? Many companies have polices that strictly prohibit it. Often a statement such as this appears in the employee handbook “Confidentiality of Salary and Benefit Information: Employees are prohibited from discussing their salary or wage levels and company benefits with other employees. Such information is confidential and may not be discussed in the workplace. Any employee violating this policy will be considered to have committed a breach of confidentiality and will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and possibly including termination of employment.” Colorado just became the fourth state to forbid employers to require that employees refrain from discussions about wages, and does not allow employers to require an employee to sign a waiver of their right to have such discussions. Illinois is among the three other states that have laws in place that protect a worker’s right to discuss their wages, along with California and Michigan. The Illinois Equal Pay Act states that it is unlawful for any employer to discharge or discriminate against any employee for talking about, comparing, or discussing their wages or the wages of any other employee (820 ILCS 112/10(b). Illinois also has a web page titled The Illinois Transparency & Accountability Portal  which allows anyone to view state employees’ and individual consultants’ gross pay. The National Labor Relations Act Section 7 (29 U.S.C. § 157), also states that all employees have the right to “engage in concerted activities”, including the right to discuss their terms and conditions of employment with one another other. Employers do have the right to disallow employees from having those discussions during the times they are supposed to be working but an employer cannot prohibit pay discussions, while allowing other types of conversations unrelated to work. Rather than being concerned that employees will uncover unfair or uneven salaries, it is far better that employers actively promote their practice’s regarding promotion, pay increases, and benefits.

  • Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation Round Up

    Here’s what other personal injury and workers’ compensation lawyers have been talking about over the past few weeks: Jury Instruction Social Networking (Day on Torts) North Carolina: Jail Time for Uninsured Employers (Workers’ Compensation Blog) Cell Phone Use Cited in 24% of Motor Vehicle Crashes (Personal Injury and Social Security Disability blog) NFL Concussion Website (Torts Prof Blog) Members of UNC Create App to Aid in the Diagnosis of Concussions (Brain Injury Lawyer blog) The Ankin Law Office LLC (www.ankinlaw.com) handles workers’ compensation and personal injury cases. You can reach the firm by calling (312) 346-8780.

  • Tips For If You Are Injured on the Job

    Make sure to notify your employer as soon as possible after your accident– Although the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act allows you forty-five days to notify your employer of your accident, the sooner the better. Keep a copy of the accident report form– If your employer requires you to complete an accident report form, keep a copy for your records. NEVER sign a blank accident report form. Obtain the name and contact information of the workers’ compensation insurance carrier from your employer– Your employer is required by law to post the contact information in a prominent area at your place of employment. Seek medical treatment from your own doctor- If necessary seek medical treatment as soon as possible after the accident.  Although your employer may direct you to a company clinic or doctor, you DO NOT have to be treated by the company doctor Give a complete and accurate history of your accident to all your treating doctors– It is very important to give complete, accurate and consistent histories to all your treating physicians.  Any inconsistencies in your histories could raise a red flag and result in your claim being denied by the insurance company. Make sure to get an “off work” note from your doctor if your doctor feels that you are unable to work because of your injuries– You must be off work pursuant to your doctor’s orders in ordered to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Make sure to give your employer and the insurance company a copy of the off work note– You should keep your employer and the insurance updated on your medical status.  Failure to notify the insurance company of your medical status could result in having your benefits interrupted. Make sure to keep all scheduled medical appointments, i.e. follow-up visits, physical therapy– It is important to keep all your scheduled medical appointments.  Regularly failing to keep these appointments will result in your benefits being stopped by the insurance company. Keep a copy of all correspondence, check stubs and any other documentation pertaining to your workers’ compensation claim– It is important to keep complete and accurate records of your claim in the event of a dispute or denial from the insurance company.

  • Occupational Safety and Health

    Congress created the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 to prevent workers from being killed or seriously harmed at work by requiring employers to sustain proper and safe workplaces free of danger for their employees. The Act created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (known as OSHA) to set and enforce protective workplace safety and health standards. While it is easy to imagine that companies manufacturing hazardous chemicals might be randomly inspected for worker safety, employees have the right to a safe workplace no matter what industry they work in. In 2011, OSHA found violations in Illinois businesses ranging from grain elevators to pet food manufacturers. If you think your employer has violated to the law and created an unsafe workplace environment, what can you do? You can file a complaint to have OSHA inspect your workplace if you believe your employer is not following OSHA standards. OSHA provides most workers with the rights to: Ask OSHA to inspect your workplace. An employee initiated inspection at an Illinois trucking company resulted in violations for workers operating unsafe forklifts and failing to provide proper eyewash facilities for workers who had been exposed to corrosive chemicals. Exercise their rights under the law without fearing retaliation and discrimination by their employer. OSHA protects workers from retaliation such as being transferred, denial of a raise, having hours reduced, being fired, or punished in any other way. If your employer does one of these things to you, file a complaint at http://www.osha.gov/as/opa/worker/complain.html within 30 days of the alleged discrimination. Receive information and training about hazards. An Illinois grocery store was cited for not establishing and implementing written procedures to maintain the integrity of the refrigeration equipment. Get copies of test results done to find hazards in the workplace. Review records of work-related injuries and illnesses. The only workers not covered by the OSHA Federal Act or an OSHA- approved state program are people who are: Self- employed Immediate family members of farm employers who do not employ non-family members Employed in an industry where the workplace hazards are regulated by another Federal agency (for example the Federal Aviation Administration or the Coast Guard). After the investigation/compliant is complete, if the inspector finds violations of OSHA standards, OSHA may issue citations and fines. The citation may outline how to fix a particular issue as well as give a timetable for when the issue will be[READ MORE…]

  • Illinois Court Holds Shoulder Injury Does Not Constitute Scheduled Loss to Injured Arm

    An important Illinois workers’ compensation decision was handed down by the Appellate Court of Illinois, Third District, at the end of 2011. At issue in Will County Forest Preserve District v. Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission,  No. 3–11–0077WC, was whether a claimant’s shoulder injury qualified as a scheduled loss to the arm or a person-as-a-whole award. In this case, the claimant was injured at work as he was trying to lift the tailgate of a trailer and as he did so, he felt a strong, burning  pain in his right shoulder. Following an MRI he was diagnosed with a a partial thickness rotator cuff tear of the right shoulder with a possible posterior inferior labral tear. He underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair the injury. Following a hearing, the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission concluded that the claimant was entitled to benefits under section 8(d)2 on the grounds that his injury rendered him partially incapacitated. He disagreed with this decision, alleging that should have been awarded claimant benefits for a scheduled loss to the right arm pursuant to section 8(e)(10) of the Act. In reaching its decision, the Court first examined his injury to determine if he had sustained an injury to his arm or to his shoulder: The word “arm” is defined as “the segment of the upper limb between the shoulder and the elbow; commonly used to mean the whole superior limb.” (Emphasis added.) Stedman’s Medical Dictionary 127 (27th ed.2000); see also Webster’s Third New International Dictionary 118 (2002) (defining “arm” as “a human upper limb * * * the part of an arm between the shoulder and the wrist”). This definition clearly indicates that the shoulder is not part of the arm…Here, the evidence clearly establishes an injury to the shoulder, not to the arm. After deciding that injury was to his shoulder, the Court then concluded that the Commission correctly determined that because his injury did not qualify as a disfigurement under the Act, the “person-as-a-whole” reward applied to his situation: Since claimant’s shoulder injury does not qualify as a scheduled loss to the arm, we turn to other provisions of the Act for guidance. We find applicable the first subpart of section 8(d)2. That provision provides for a person-as-a-whole award where the claimant sustains serious and permanent injuries not covered by section 8(c) or 8(e) of the Act. In this case, there is no evidence that claimant suffered disfigurement as required for an award under[READ MORE…]

  • NFL Claims Workers’ Compensation Should Cover Players’ Head Injuries

    Last August we discussed lawsuits brought by over 75 ex-football players against the National Football League. The players sought unspecified amounts of damages for head injuries sustained over the course of their careers. The players alleged that the NFL knew of the harmful effects of multiple concussions as early as the 1920s, but kept that information from players until 2010. Riddell, the helmet maker, was also named in the lawsuit as a defendant. These lawsuits are still pending and a hearing was recently held in Miami to determine whether the cases, which were filed in various federal courts, including Atlanta, Miami, New York and Philadelphia, should be consolidated into a multidistrict region. One interesting issue in this case is the possibility that the NFL will claim that the terms of the collective bargaining agreement between the league and the players should apply to the players’ head injuries, thus requiring the players to seek compensation via more traditional outlets such as workers’ compensation and disability benefits and the NFL’s medical and long term care plans. As explained in a Workforce.com article about this lawsuit, according to an attorney representing many of the players,  the concussions and other head injuries suffered by the players were sustained in ways unrelated to typical workforce dangers: While some players have been able to receive benefits for concussion-related injuries, McGlamry said player attorneys are seeking to prove, in part, that their clients face health problems due to negligence that extended beyond typical workplace hazards. So, while the NFL would prefer to limit recovery by the injured players to more traditional venues, the players claim that the league negligently misled them by downplaying the risks of head injuries and minimizing the long term effects of concussion-related injuries and cognitive disorders. The outcome of this case remains to be seen and it will likely be quite some time until this brain injury lawsuit winds its way through the court system and a resolution is reached. But, nevertheless, it is an important case and emphasizes the dangers of traumatic brain injuries and the risks associated with engaging in activities that tend to result in head injuries. The Ankin Law Office LLC (www.ankinlaw.com) handles workers’ compensation and personal injury cases. You can reach the firm by calling (312) 346-8780. Related articles Hall of Famer suing NFL over health problems (foxnews.com) NFL back Jones-Drew disparages head-injury reforms (sfgate.com) NFL questions validity of concussion[READ MORE…]

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    Our firm handles workers' compensation and personal injury claims in Chicago, Berwyn, Joliet, Cicero, Waukegan, Chicago Heights, Elgin, Aurora, Oak Park, Oak Lawn, Schaumburg, Bolingbrook, Glendale Heights, Aurora, Niles, Schaumburg, Arlington Heights, Naperville, Plainfield and all of Cook, DuPage, Lake, Will, McHenry, LaSalle, Kankakee, McLean and Peoria Counties.