COVID-19 Update: How We Are Serving and Protecting Our Clients

Articles Posted in Construction Accidents

When Governor Pritzker ordered the public to shelter at home to “flatten the curve” of rising infections from the Covid 19 virus, he also exempted a number of workers from this order, deeming these workers essential to the machinery of fighting the disease and required to keep others fed, clothed, protected and safe. These essential workers are out in the work place every day. Each and every one of us have seen these workers in action, whether witnessing the heroism of our nurses, physicians and medical personnel or the bravery of delivery workers, food and grocery store workers as well as trade workers. There has been a great deal of concern for the health and well being of each and every one of these brave souls. Clearly, these are the very workers at greatest risk of contracting the Covid 19 virus. Governor J.B. Pritzker has called upon the Workers’ Compensation Commission to address the concerns of the union officials who represent these workers that the Rules for receiving workers’ compensation benefits be relaxed to enable these front line workers to recover workers’ compensation temporary total disability, medical benefits and benefits for permanent partial disability or death. On April 13, 2020, the Workers’ Compensation Commission filed an Emergency Rule to deal with these concerns. See: https://wcla.info/resources/Documents/COVID-19%20Page/Notice_of_Emergency_Amendments–2020-04-13.pdf.

What this rule means is that first responders and essential workers will have a somewhat easier time of proving that they contracted the coronavirus as a consequence of an exposure to the virus in the work place. This is a rebuttable presumption, but this presumption goes a long way to helping us prove your claim for benefits under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act was the result of the workplace exposure to the virus and not simply a disease which is common to the general public. A rebuttable presumption is not a guarantee your case is a winner, the burden of proof can easily be defeated and force the worker bringing the claim to undertake litigation to prove all the elements of any claim under the Workers’ Compensation Act. Rest assured Illinois employers will likely contest and fight vigorously to defeat any claim that a case of Covid 19 is the result of a work exposure. We still expect substantial litigation and fighting by the attorneys who represent the insurance companies to attempt to avoid responsibility for the employer’s obligations under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act.

If you have any questions or concerns over COVID-19 exposure or any other issue concerning the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Laws or benefits, please do not hesitate to call us anytime at 1-800-444-1525 or 1-312-263-6330.

The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission announced a suspension of business to limit the effect of the COVID-19 virus. This suspension of operations is in effect until 3/31/2020 when the situation will be re-evaluated. Here is the link to the Commission’s announcement:  ⁣

http://www.iwcc.il.gov/ ⁣

Unfortunately, no hearings nor docket calls will take place during this period.  In order to comply with the order of Governor Pritzker, the law firm will not be traveling to the union halls for interviewing at least through the end of March.  However, your Katz Friedman lawyers are working hard for you and remain available to take telephone calls.  Our office is open with a reduced non-lawyer staff to insure we make progress on each and every case.⁣

Construction accidents can be the result of a variety of causes. They might be caused by defective or improperly maintained tools or equipment. Alternately, they may be the result of human error or a failure to provide proper safety protections. It is important to retain experienced Chicago injury counsel and get started right away in order to get your investigation started. The sooner you begin, the more causes of action you may unearth. And, the more causes of action you bring, the better your chances may be of getting the full compensation you deserve. Depending on the facts of your case, the law may permit you to bring both a claim for workers’ compensation benefits and a civil lawsuit for money damages.

The case of the family of J.O. was an example of a tragic accident and also an example of how the subsequent legal process worked. CBS 2 recently reported about it. J.O. was a northwest Indiana man who worked construction in Chicago. In January 2015, J.O. was working at a project on the Gold Coast which involved the construction of a high-rise residential tower near Elm and State streets when he was killed. J.O.’s job at the time of his fatal injury involved working inside a crane some six floors off the ground. J.O. was pinned by a cage that descended on top of him as he was leaning into the shaft through which the cage passed.

After the accident occurred, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration opened an investigation into the accident to determine if any violations of laws or safety regulations occurred on the site and contributed to the man’s death. In any case where you are suing for your construction injuries, the results of an OSHA investigation that show that violations took place can be very helpful and go a long way in aiding you to obtain a successful outcome.

When you are injured on the job and seek workers’ compensation benefits, there are many things that will go into your case. At some point, a doctor may examine you and give you an AMA impairment rating. In a recent First District Appellate Court decision, the court upheld an Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission determination finding a welder 25% impaired despite an AMA impairment rating below 10%. While the AMA impairment rating was an important part of the impairment determination process, the statutes list five factors, which go beyond simply what a doctor’s opinion says.

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In 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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If you are injured while working at a construction site, the harm you incur may be very serious. In addition to concerning yourself with getting back to full health, you also likely have a need to seek compensation for your injuries. When you do that, you’ll need experienced injury counsel, who will not only have a keen familiarity with the facts of your case but who also have an in-depth knowledge of the law and procedural rules, in order to make sure that the other side is “playing fair” in accordance with the law. In one recent case that went before the First District Appellate Court, a defense team’s failure to make an appropriate disclosure and an injured worker’s ability to hold it legally accountable for that failure enabled the worker to have access to a potentially greater recovery.

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A catastrophic accident at a Chicago convention center left a carpenter with permanent brain injuries after a fall off the back of a motorized cart. Those injuries led a Cook County jury to award the man an injury verdict in excess of $22 million. The contractor that the jury held liable launched an appeal, but the First District Appellate Court concluded that the defendant had a duty to all of the contractors’ employees, and it failed to meet this duty when it allowed the workers to use defective carts.

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When you are injured in a workplace accident, there are potentially multiple ways to obtain compensation for the damages you suffered. You may be able to win a judgment, or you may choose to settle your case. In cases in which you are suing multiple defendants, you may settle with some defendants and take others to trial. In a recent case decided by the Second District Appellate Court, an injured worker was able to recover compensation from both a settlement and a judgment, but the insurance company obligated to pay the judgment was entitled to a reduction in the amount it owed that was equal to the amount of the settlement the victim struck with the other defendants.

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Wrongful death occurs when the intentional or unintentional acts or negligence of one party results in the death of another. Wrongful death can occur in a variety of circumstances including motor vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, unsafe premises accidents, workplace accidents, and more. In the United States, medical malpractice is one of the leading causes of wrongful death- second only to motor vehicle accidents. According to a study that was published in the Journal of Patient Safety in September 2013, medical malpractice results in more than 210,000 deaths in the United States Each year.

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The Financial Impact of Medical Malpractice Resulting in Death in Illinois

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