airline pilotAn airline pilot who suffered a serious neck injury lost her workers’ compensation claim because, according to an Appellate Court ruling, her pursuit of her case did not comply with the time limitation rules imposed by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission’s regulations. This pilot’s loss should serve as a clear instruction to all workers injured on the job to take prompt action and retain experienced counsel to ensure that limitations periods and procedural rules do not defeat their cases.

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What to expect when talking to a Workers’ Compensation Attorney  

Hiring a dedicated and knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney will increase your chance of obtaining the benefits you deserve under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. An attorney will inform you of your rights under the law, will communicate with the insurance company on your behalf, will gather medical and vocational evidence, and will negotiate a settlement or represent you in a hearing at the conclusion of your claim.

During your initial consultation, an attorney will ask you a series of questions to determine whether or not he or she is able to represent you.  The following is a list of information the attorney may need to understand and assess your workers’ compensation claim.  Please be aware that because workers’ compensation claims are time sensitive, it is often beneficial to contact a workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible, even if you do not yet have all of the information listed.

basketballA recent case from Cook County shines a light on injuries that take place in schools but outside school hours. A middle school science teacher endured a bad fall and a significant injury during an afterschool student-teacher basketball game. The teacher sued for workers’ compensation benefits, arguing that his participation in the game was “in the course of his employment.” Ultimately, the First District Appellate Court agreed with the teacher and reinstated an arbitrator’s award of benefits to the teacher.

The teacher in this case was teaching under the terms of a one-year contract. In March, his principal approached him about participating in an afterschool student-teacher basketball game, which was intended as a reward for certain students and a way of building rapport between students and faculty. He evaded the first few invitations, but, since he had not yet received a contract for the following year, nor had he received his performance evaluation, the teacher eventually decided that he should take part in order to enhance his standing with the principal.

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Champaign-UrbanaA woman who was run over by a public bus in Champaign was able to receive a sizeable damages award that reflected the substantial injuries she suffered, which included the loss of both of her legs. According to news-gazette.com, a Champaign County jury assessed the woman’s damages at $9.4 million and her husband’s damages at an additional $450,000.

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Social Security claims require medical evidence to prove disability. When we go to a hearing we need to know that there is medical evidence to prove your case. We have searched Social Security’s record. If there are missing items we make sure to order those records and admit them to the record. We have also read the records to make sure they prove that you are disabled. If your doctor says that you are able to work you cannot win your case. Your doctor needs to give specific restrictions that are supported by the medical records. For example, if you have an injured back, how much can you lift? Can you lift 20 lbs? 10 lbs, 5 lbs? Will your doctor say that you are able to perform heavy medium, light or sedentary duty? Are there any other issues such as the need to take a break or restrictions on bending? More details help Social Security understand why you claim to be disabled.

Depending on your age, education and other skills we may know what level of disability will qualify you for benefits. For example if you are 51 years old, have limited education and do not have transferable skills you will be disabled if you can only perform at the sedentary level. We can then ask your doctor if you are at that level. When your doctor writes back that you are at the sedentary level or puts that information in your record he or she is helping us prove your claim. Thank you doctor!

Reductions in benefits provided to injured workers under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act have been proposed by Governor Rauner as part of his Turn Around Agenda. As lawmakers in Illinois continue to deal with approving a state budget, addressing underfunded pension obligations for State workers, and the potential likelihood of an increase in taxes to address these problems, Governor Rauner has insisted that no deal will be struck without benefit reductions in the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. Opponents to the Governor’s pursuit of reductions in benefits, counter that reforms passed in 2011 have resulted in a decrease in costs to employers which have the cost of work injuries in Illinois moving in the right direction. Some argue insurance companies kept $2 billion in savings that should have been passed on to Illinois businesses.

The following provides an update on proposed legislation. Workers’ compensation laws protect both the injured worker and the employer. The injured worker should receive prompt quality medical care and pay for time off of work because of an injury and compensation for permanent injuries. Illinois employers are shielded from far more costly personal injury litigation along with having a voice in the injured workers’ medical care and rehabilitation. As many Illinois businesses anticipate reduced federal regulation and enhanced spending on improving the infrastructure and expansion of the workforce, fair workers’ compensation benefits need to be in place to protect injured workers at a fair price to Illinois businesses. The most significant changes proposed by the Governor are as follows:

• Causation

Since the day he took office in January 2015, Governor Bruce Rauner has waged an all-out war against unions and working people in the State of Illinois. Since taking office, Governor Rauner has followed in the footsteps of others like Scott Walker from Wisconsin, by doing everything in his power to dismantle unions and their ability to represent employees in this State.

Over the last two years, the Governor’s anti-union agenda has seen many battles on various fronts. In 2015, Governor Rauner filed a lawsuit against 27 public sector unions representing State employees, seeking to prohibit the unions from receiving fair payments from individuals who benefit from the representational services that the unions provide. The Governor’s lawsuit was quickly dismissed.

However, a subsequent suit was filed by two individuals, with the backing of certain conservative, anti-labor political action committees, seeking the exact same prohibition against public sector unions. The unions successfully defeated that second suit as well, but the Governor and his cronies refuse to give up their fight. That case is now on appeal at the Chicago-based 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. The Governor and his anti-union political backers have made it clear that they intend to take that case all the way to the United States Supreme Court.

Scores of injury claims for flight attendants are not filed every year due to lack of information, lack of perseverance and mostly due to fear. Flight attendants get hurt on the job. Whether due to turbulence, lifting heavy bags, pushing carts, ground transportation and layover accidents or repetitive trauma, injuries for flight attendants are common. Whether you call it an “occupational,” “IOD” (injury on duty), job injury or workers’ compensation claim, your rights as an injured worker are established by law. The Illinois Workers Compensation Act provides benefits for the injured, including medical expenses, lost income protection through weekly payments known as Temporary Total Disability (TTD) and compensation for permanent partial and total disability known as a “settlement” or “award.” The Illinois Workers Compensation Act is a no-fault system, which means the flight attendant need not prove their employer did anything unsafe or wrong to be eligible for benefits. These benefits are in place for the injured to get the help they need to recover from the injury and minimize the hardships that may result from the injury. Illinois workers compensation is the best benefit available to UAL flight attendants injured on the job.

Many United Airline flight attendants based or domiciled outside of the United States in London, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Narita and Guam deprive themselves of these benefits by not filing a workers compensation claim in Illinois when injured.

There is nothing to fear. Some flight attendants tell us they will not pursue a claim when injured because they are afraid they will be fired from their job. It is illegal to fire, harass or retaliate against an employee for filing an occupational claim or hiring an attorney to pursue it. Additionally, the union contract between the AFA and United Airlines protects against United Airlines terminating the flight attendant’s employment. Our firm has successfully helped United Airline flight attendants injured on the job for over 50 years. We have represented many internationally domiciled flight attendants including United-AFA union, MEC and LEC officers.

Snow in ChicagoIn some cases, a subcontractor’s employee who is hurt at work due to inadequate job site safety measures may have limited avenues of recovery. That is not always the case, however. Sometimes, the specific factual details of a case may dictate that the site’s owner or the general contractor may be liable for the worker’s injuries. In one recent case from the First District Appellate Court, that’s what happened. The general contractor had retained control over safety measures at the work site, so, when a subcontractor’s employee slipped and fell on a snow-and-ice-covered roof, the appeals court concluded that the worker should be allowed to pursue his claim against that general contractor.

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The ridesharing services Lyft and Uber have become extremely popular in recent years. Users may find these services to be more convenient and more economical than using traditional taxi services. But Lyft and Uber drivers are still drivers and still have the possibility of causing an accident due to their own negligence. Thus, with that in mind, what happens if you’re injured in an accident, and the person who hit you is a Lyft or Uber driver? Depending on the specifics of your situation, you may have a legal claim against Uber or Lyft for your injuries.car crash

Several people have launched lawsuits against the ridesharing entities for personal injury damages or sometimes wrongful death. One of the first occurred in the wake of a fatal New Year’s Eve 2013 crash. Six-year-old Sophia Liu, her brother, and her mother were walking in a crosswalk (and with a green light) in San Francisco when they were struck by an Uber driver who was attempting to make a right-hand turn, according to sfgate.com. The crash killed the girl.

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