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The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission has announced that pursuant to the order of Governor J.B. Pritzker and the national pandemic of COVID-19 the Commission will be closed through the end of April.

For more information and the full press release click here.

Your Katz Friedman attorneys and staff, remain available to help you. We are still able to negotiate settlements, get medical bills paid and get your weekly compensation benefits.

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Looking down and over racks of products stored in boxes in a distribution warehouse.

Meanwhile, Amazon is looking to hire some 350,000 new workers to deal with the backlog of orders and has slowed down delivery in the COVID-19 era.

Click here to read the full article from USA TODAY.

Stop-Payment-Check-300x131We represent flight attendants who are injured on the job. We are familiar with the adjusting companies for United Continental Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Airlines, Southwest Airlines and Jet Blue.

If are you are forced to miss therapy or doctor visits for your work injury due to a self-quarantine for the Corona virus, your Workers’ Compensation benefits should not be stopped or interrupted. If your weekly temporary total disability payments are suspended to due the quarantine, THIS IS WRONG!

Flight attendants who have questions about Illinois Workers’ Compensations benefits and the COVID-19 virus should call us toll free at 800-444-1525. There is no charge for speaking with our attorneys as all initial consultations are free.

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.⁣

ridesharellc-300x201According to Uber’s website, “Uber is a technology company that has developed an app that connects users (riders) with third party transportation providers.” Consistent with that statement, Uber does legally operate in the United States as Uber Technologies, Inc. Like most things in life, there is much more than meets the eye. When we look below the surface, it is apparent that Uber is not necessarily the entity most people think it is. Before reading the statement above from Uber’s website, an average person would have equated Uber with an everyday taxi company or even a chauffeur/livery service. Whereas riders might be a bit confused about who Uber is, the people that drive for Uber are probably even more confused because Uber is not the entity paying them.

As it turns out, Uber drivers are paid by and given IRS 1099 forms from Raiser LLC or Raiser–CA LLC, which are just subsidiaries of Uber Technologies, Inc. Although Uber’s corporate structure is somewhat complicated, the goal in creating entities that only encourage legal battles is nothing new for Uber. In fact, despite California recently passing legislation to protect drivers who are injured on the job, Uber will not treat their drivers as employees there or anywhere, including all of their drivers in places like Chicago, Illinois. Presumably, Lyft will follow suit even though Lyft, Inc. does not have a subsidiary quite like Uber’s use of Raiser. Lyft just provides its drives with an IRS 1099 form. Uber continues to claim that they are merely a technology platform. While drivers and riders alike would find Uber’s position curious at best, lawmakers are trying to stop Uber from gaming the system and passing the costs of work injuries to others including state governments. Unfortunately in Illinois, there is no legislation categorizing Uber, Lyft, or any ridesharing company as an employer when it comes to their drivers. That would mean that rideshare companies must provider workers compensation coverage for the drivers. This varies drastically from a taxi driver’s situation when he or she is hurt on the job. However, since Lyft and Uber claim that they have no employment relationship with their drivers, an injured rideshare driver should expect no assistance from these companies to cover skyrocketing medical and disability costs. For the most part, when a rideshare driver is hurt in a car accident, that driver needs to obtain their own attorney to fight these companies to get workers’ compensation benefits. On top of this, injured drivers may need an attorney to help them obtain compensation when an at fault driver causes them injuries in a crash.

Unlike the situations that rideshare drivers find themselves when they are hurt driving for Lyft or Uber, when a person is injured in a crash as an Uber or Lyft passenger or when a person is injured by an Uber or Lyft driver, the ridesharing companies carry liability insurance. Not only do these companies carry insurance for when they are at fault, these companies carry insurance for when another at fault vehicle does not have enough coverage. In fact, Lyft used to use to York Risk Services, Inc. to insure their drivers for the harms and losses they cause and to provide underinsured and uninsured coverage. But now Lyft has The Travelers Companies covering their negligence and the negligence of their drivers. Lyft’s coverage with The Travelers Companies also includes underinsured and uninsured coverage for drivers and passengers. Uber used to use James River Group Holdings to insure their drivers for the harms and losses they cause and to provider underinsured and uninsured coverage. But now Uber has Allstate covering their negligence and the negligence of their drivers. Allstate also covers their drivers and passengers for underinsured and uninsured situations.

animated-balance-weigh-scales-2The State-Wide minimum wage becomes $9.25 per hour beginning January 1, 2020. The minimum wage in Cook County will become $12.00 per hour and increase to $13.00 per hour in the City of Chicago. The change to the State-Wide minimum hourly wage will result in an increase of Workers’ Compensation Weekly Temporary Total disability benefits. Under Illinois law, this benefit will become $246.67 per week for a single person and will be raised by 10% for each dependent, not to exceed $370.00 per week or the employee’s average weekly wage, whichever is less.

Please note this State-Wide minimum wage is scheduled to increase again on July 1, 2020 to $10.00 per hour. The Workers’ Compensation temporary total disability minimum rate will increase to $266.67 per week for a single person and will be raised by 10% for each dependent, not to exceed $400.00 per week or the employee’s average weekly wage, whichever is less. The minimum permanent partial disability rate will similarly increase for low wage workers.

Effective January 1, 2020, it becomes lawful for persons 21 years of age or older to possess, use and purchase limited amounts of cannabis for personal use. For those injured on the job, this means that if a post-accident drug test is positive for cannabis consumption, the work injury is no longer automatically denied as a result of that test, provided your consumption was from a legal purchase.

For every 100 workers at Amazon facilities, nearly 11 were injured on the job in 2018, making it three times as dangerous as employment across the private sector, and twice as dangerous as warehouse work in general, according to the study from a coalition of more than 40 groups, including the National Employment Law Center and United for Respect.

Based on logs from 28 Amazon facilities in 16 states, the study found….click here to read the full article via CBS News

tumblr_oywrc8mAF01qfr6udo1_500The holiday-shopping season, and the extended hours that come with it, are taking a toll on America’s retail workers.

Employees at shopping malls and other outlets in 2018 were more likely to get sick or injured than the prior year, making it the only U.S. industry with a meaningful uptick. The increase means retail-store workers are now worse off than those working in the manufacturing sector. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 3.5 of every 100 retail workers suffered from illness or injury last year, up from 3.3 in 2017 and compared with 3.4 in manufacturing.

The uptick in non-fatal injuries, from sprains and tears to…

Senator and presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren is drafting a bill that would ban “mega mergers” between the nation’s largest companies as well as try to improve the bargaining power of short-term and temporary workers.

The forthcoming legislation, a collaborative effort with Rep. David Cicilline of the House antitrust subcommittee, would bar tie-ups including a company with over $40 billion in annual revenue or two companies each with at least $15 billion in annual revenue, according to a person familiar with the matter.

It would also grant gig workers the power to unionize, a potential landmark change for rail-hailing companies like Uber Technologies and (click here) to read the full article via CNBC.

Editor’s note: The original article appeared in the Atlantic technology section on June 25, 2018.

I’m sure I looked comical as I staggered down a downtown San Francisco street on a recent weekday, arms full of packages—as I dropped one and bent down to pick it up, another fell, and as I tried to rein that one in, another toppled.

Yet it wasn’t funny, not really. There I was, wearing a bright-yellow safety vest and working for Amazon Flex, a program in which the e-commerce giant pays regular people to deliver packages from their own vehicles for $18 to $25 an hour, before expenses. I was racing to make the deliveries before I got a ticket—there are few places for drivers without commercial vehicles to park in downtown San Francisco during the day—and also battling a growing rage as I lugged parcels to offices of tech companies that offered free food and impressive salaries to their employees, who seemed to spend their days ordering stuff online. Technology was allowing these people a good life, but it was just making me stressed and cranky.