Articles Posted in Worker Compensation

hospital staffThe aftermath of a workplace injury can be a stressful time. In many cases, your injury may leave you so limited that you cannot work. When that happens, it is important to make sure that you get all of the benefits you deserve, such as workers’ compensation, to provide for yourself and your family. For one hospital worker, that involved taking her case to the Illinois Appellate Court and winning a reinstatement of her full temporary total disability award because not only was she not working but also she proved that she wasn’t able to work.

The employee in this case was a surgical technician at a small-town hospital. Her job tasks consisted of setting up and cleaning up surgical rooms before and after procedures, in addition to moving patients to recovery beds. Two months into her job, the technician felt “something pull and shoot down [her] low back, into [her] legs” while moving a surgical bed into a hallway. A few weeks after the incident, the technician’s doctor diagnosed her with a disc herniation in her back. Eventually, the woman’s doctor concluded that she was unable to work and needed back surgery to address the disc problem.

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auto workersAn Illinois auto worker recently succeeded in his effort to get his award of workers’ compensation benefits reinstated. Even though the Ford Motor Company worker injured himself while bending over, which can often be considered by the law a “neutral risk” that does not allow for an award of benefits, he was successful because his evidence was able to persuade the Illinois Appellate Court that his injury actually qualified as “a risk distinctly associated with” his employment, which the law recognizes as compensable.

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WeldingWhen 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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rooferWhen you’ve been injured on the job, there are several hurdles involved in reaching your proper outcome. Even after you’ve persuaded a workers’ compensation arbitrator that you deserve an award, you have still not cleared all the hurdles. The statutes allow for multiple different types of awards and the difference between them can be substantial. In the case of one roofer injured at work, he successfully appealed a decision that awarded him benefits but denied him the more beneficial “wage differential” award.

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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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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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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.

meniscus tearA recent case from the First District Appellate Court provides some useful information for anyone injured at work who is seeking to obtain a “wage differential” award as part of a workers’ compensation claim. The appeals court’s ruling made it clear that the proper way to determine a worker’s wage differential goes far beyond merely looking at the worker’s pre-injury wages and comparing them to the worker’s post-injury wages.

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airline workers compensation attorneyFlight attendants face an ever growing risk of serious back injuries, because of the improper handling of heavy bags. As the employees continue to preform heavy lifting, their injuries only become more pronounced.

The Problem

Working conditions for flight attendants contribute to the high incidence of back injuries and the need for an airline workers compensation attorney. Flight attendants work in very confined spaces, without the room to maneuver properly, and they compensate for the lack of room by using incorrect lifting techniques. The dangers of bad techniques are amplified when flight attendants rush to place bags in bins. In addition, airlines rarely, if ever, provide flight attendants with the necessary safety equipment to lift and position the bags in overhead compartments.

WaiterThe paid sick leave ordinance approved by the Chicago City Council on June 22, 2016 applies to practically all employers and full-time employees in the city. The ordinance becomes effective on July 1, 2017 and covers employees based in and/or working inside the Chicago city limits. To qualify, employees must work 80 or more hours within a 120-day period. That is practically any person working full-time in the city. The ordinance mandates employers allow employees to accumulate and use up to five paid sick days (or 40 hours) each year. The paid sick time is to be earned at a minimum rate of one hour for every 40 hours the employee works during the year.

Additionally, employees will be able to roll over as many as 20 hours of unused sick leave time from one year to the next. The new ordinance does allow employers to cap the total amount of sick leave time employees can accumulate at 40 hours. Employees begin accumulating the sick leave time on July 1, 2017 or their first day of work with the company if they are hired after July 1. The ordinance allows employers to restrict the use of sick days by new employees until after they have completed six months of continuous employment with the company.

Not everyone is happy about the new ordinance