Articles Posted in Worker Compensation

AMAZON-300x197Jeff Bezos can probably take credit for changing the way people shop online more than any single person. While the road to Amazon’s dominance as a retailer certainly has been fueled by a spark of ingenuity, that same road has also been filled with many strategies designed to protect the company to the detriment of its work force. While news stories have focused on Amazon fulfillment worker injuries at its numerous warehouses across the country, many Chicago area Amazon workers face other challenges. This is especially true as Amazon uses a strategy that involves treating its Flex drivers as 1099’s or independent contractors even though they are under the direction and control by Amazon.com, Inc. as to how they are required to do their jobs. For instance, Amazon uses GPS to tell the drivers where to go after the packages are picked up. Amazon has the right to control how many blocks a driver gets, which means that sometimes a driver will not get consistent work.

Many Amazon delivery drivers may be surprised to learn that Amazon.com, Inc. does not consider them to be employees. That means that Amazon Flex drivers will be told by Amazon’s lawyers that they do not have workers’ compensation benefits when they sustain a work injury. Amazon operates very much like Uber and Lyft as part of the gig economy that uses a strategy of evading the existing laws that are designed to protect workers when they are hurt on the job. This probably is not a surprise because it is a way of saving money and passing the buck to society both by not paying for work comp insurance and by pushing the costs onto local, state, and federal governments. They also operate like many delivery companies in that they tell their drivers that they are their own boss yet control they way they do their jobs from start to finish by using an app. For example, Amazon drivers must operate under a “Block.” This means that a driver must deliver a certain amount of packages in a set time based on what the company thinks that a driver should be able to accomplish. A driver is paid the same whether they complete this block in the allotted time or not.

Certainly, Amazon Flex drivers are at a higher risk of harm than most people because they are driving through many urban and suburban areas, parking, walking to doorsteps, and doing all of this through ice, snow, sleet, and rain, especially in Illinois. It comes as no surprise that Amazon delivery drivers sustain work injuries not only in major vehicle accidents, but also in slip and fall and trip and fall accidents. In the recent weeks, there have been many concerns voiced about Amazon drivers becoming infected with the Coronavirus and developing Covid-19 illness. According a a recent Seattle Times article, Amazon is telling drivers to knock with their phones, don’t sneeze on packages, and to have customers step away from their ID’s left on the ground to avoid spreading the virus. https://www.seattletimes.com/business/amazon/amazon-gives-delivery-drivers-detailed-guidance-for-working-amid-coronavirus/ Considering the recent surge in orders and Amazon increasing the hourly rate for Flex drivers, not only will there be an increase in the number of Amazon workers hurt at work and left in the cold from car crashes, but there will probably be a surge in the number of workers who fall ill with Covid-19 who are easily and rapidly replaced by Amazon. In fact, the way that Amzaon treats its workers is very close to treating them like robots. It is expected that Amazon will proceed this way until they can replace their drivers with automated vehicles and drones. Despite what Amazon’s lawyers say, Flex drivers are covered under Illinois Workers’ Compensation law.

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.

Sometimes, the development of futuristic technology may be the source of social media humor, with “meme” pictures joking that the new technology has set us on the path to dangerous machines like those seen in the Terminator movies. In the real world and in all seriousness, these new technologies often have very positive real-world applications for many people doing their daily work. For example, a new “exoskeleton” product may be a huge boost for safety and well-being among airport baggage handlers. These exoskeletons are still in the experimental phase, though. For now, baggage handlers have to rely solely on their own strength and, as a result, are very often at risk for musculoskeletal injuries. If that happens to you, you need to take action promptly and seek out a knowledgeable Chicago airline workers’ compensation attorney, who can help you with the workers compensation claim process and all other legal processes you need to complete.

In early January in Las Vegas, a Utah company named Sarcos unveiled something it called Guardian XO, according to FOX 13 in Salt Lake City. Guardian XO is a full-body exoskeleton that, according to the manufacturer, “lets a human lift up to 200 pounds repeatedly, for up to 8 hours at a time, without straining or getting tired.” The manufacturer also claims that “the user bears none of the weight of the exoskeleton or what it’s carrying.”

At least one major airline has expressed interest in the Utah company’s product. Delta Airlines has indicated that it plans to test the exoskeletons at a “pilot location” sometime in the first quarter of this year. Some Delta workers at the Salt Lake City airport have already tested the exoskeleton, with one expressing hope that “with this new exosuit it will help prevent a lot of injuries that may happen.”

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istockphoto-683815596-612x612-1-300x200While air travel in the United States, generally speaking, is getting progressively safer, flight attendants’ jobs are still dangerous ones. Flight attendants’ exposure to injury-causing risk is inherently tied to the nature of their work; even as passengers have long been safely secured in their seats with the “Fasten Seat belts” sign on, flight attendants may still be moving about the cabin to provide service to those passengers. This places them at serious risk in the event of sudden turbulence. When you, as a flight attendant, suffer an injury due to turbulence, you have options to get the financial compensation you need. Start by reaching out to an experienced Chicago aviation accident attorney without delay.

An American Airlines flight recently served as a reminder of these sorts of potential dangers. According to a WBIR report, the flight, which was roughly 15 minutes away from landing, experienced sudden turbulence as it descended from 19,000 feet to 16,000 feet. As one passenger told WBIR, the turbulence’s severity, on a scale of 1 to 10, was a “15.”

Fortunately for the passengers, the flight crew had long since turned on the “Fasten Seat belts” sign, so the passengers were buckled in. Two flight attendants, still working on performing their duties, were not. One hit the roof of the cabin so hard that she was knocked unconscious. The other broke both her ankles, according to the report.

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American Airlines has finally debuted its new lineup of employee uniforms following allegations that a previous batch — which debuted over three years ago — were causing rashes, headaches and hives.

“When we set out to create our new uniform collection, the clear goal was to deliver …. (click here) to read the full article via Fox NewsAANewUniforms-300x169

In Illinois, if you suffer a work-related injury, then you generally are entitled to receive payment of workers’ compensation benefits. That’s true whether your job caused your injury or even if your job simply made a pre-existing condition worse. Of course, to get those workers’ compensation benefit payments, you have to go through the right steps. You have to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits properly, including doing so before the deadline mandated by the law. You also have to provide the right proof that shows that you suffered a compensable injury (or aggravation of a pre-existing injury,) and that your job caused that injury or aggravation. Doing this can be very complicated and challenging. With something as important as your much-needed benefit payments on the line, don’t leave your claim to chance. Protect yourself by retaining the services of a skilled Chicago workers’ compensation attorney.

N.H. was a Chicago-area worker facing that kind of need. She was a police officer for a Chicago suburb when she got hurt. For many people, training means sitting in a conference room or large ballroom and listening to a speaker give a lecture. For police officers like N.H., training meant something much more physical. During a December 2014 training session on “defensive tactics,” N.H. allegedly sustained an injury to her shoulder, according to a Chicago Tribune report.

Your injury doesn’t have to be at work to be ‘work-related’

N.H.’s case is very instructive for lots of Illinois workers. Most people probably know that a worker can potentially recover workers’ compensation benefits if she is injured while she is actually “on the clock.” However, what happens if I’m off-duty, you may wonder? The law says that there are a significant number of scenarios where you may have been off-duty but still have been engaged in an activity that was “work-related” – which means that an injury suffered during that activity could still possibly entitle you to receive benefits.

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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.

Whether you’re in Chicago, New York or any other major city, construction work is one of the most dangerous jobs out there. Too many times, the damaging or even fatal accidents that happen to construction workers are the result of inadequate safety protections and protocols at the job site. Some accident types occur over and over, leading OSHA to declare them to be the “Fatal Four.” These four accident types – falls, being struck by objects, electrocutions and being caught in/caught between – accounted for roughly 60% of fatal construction accidents in 2017.

When that happens, you, as the loved one of a deceased worker, may be entitled to recover death benefits under the workers’ compensation system. Meeting all the requirements of the workers’ compensation process isn’t easy, so be sure to retain an experienced Chicago workers’ compensation attorney without delay.

R.L.’s case was a tragic Chicago-area example of the “Fatal Four.” R.L. died after a driver of a front loader backed up his vehicle into R.L. and pinned the worker between the front loader and a dump truck.

Workers in many industries face a variety of risks when it comes to workplace accidents and injuries. Airport workers are no exception. Sometimes, those risks of injury are inevitable but, as a recent Baltimore Sun report reminds everyone, some regrettably are not. Too many times, the risks airport workers face are the result of inadequate safety protections provided to them. That’s true whether you’re at BWI Airport in Maryland or O’Hare Airport here in Chicago. If you are hurt while on the job at an airport, you should seek skilled Chicago workers’ compensation legal counsel about your possible options in civil court or workers’ compensation.

According to the Sun report, the Maryland Occupational Safety and Health agency recommended that a logistics entity receive citations and several thousand dollars in fines as a result of several workplace safety issues at the BWI Marshall Airport. One of the most serious violations involved work that was being done at the top of jet bridges. The investigation found that the jet bridge work was as high as 25 feet off the ground, but was done by workers who lacked proper fall protection or adequate training, the Sun reported.

That violation was considered the most serious because of its likelihood to lead to serious injury or death. Injuries from falls are among the top causes, or the #1 top cause, of worker fatalities in many areas of work.