Articles Posted in Workplace Injury

Sleep Tips for Commercial Drivers

If you are a commercial driver or you know one, it’s important to educate yourself about drowsy driving, what helps mitigate it, and what makes it worse.

1. Get Enough Sleep Before You Drive

Your workplace injury legal action (or actions) may be very straightforward or may be highly complex. What might start out as a seemingly simple request for additional benefits based on an unanticipated need for a secondary medical procedure may possibly set off many wide-ranging legal consequences. The key is to have the skilled Illinois workplace injury counsel you need to be ready for whatever comes next.

G.B. was a worker whose injury action proved to fall into the “complex” column. In the spring of 2017, G.B. was injured while working as a forklift driver in McHenry County. The damage to the driver’s shoulder was bad enough that he required rotator cuff surgery. Later on, doctors determined that the worker needed a follow-up surgery. That led G.B. to request an adjustment of the workers’ compensation claim for benefits that he’d filed earlier.

What ensued was a web of allegations and litigation over G.B.’s claim, all triggered through no fault of the worker. As many employers, especially larger employers, do, G.B.’s employer had workers’ compensation insurance. However, G.B.’s employer allegedly covered the forklift driver’s lost wages and medical expenses after the first surgery without notifying the insurance company. According to the insurer, it only found out after G.B. sought the adjustment to his claim based on the need for a second surgery.

Working in industrial jobs carries many risks. One of those is the risk of certain severe injuries that one might reasonably expect not to encounter while working in an office job. For example, there is a type of injury called “degloving.” According to the website, a degloving is also called an avulsion and is “a type of severe injury that happens when the top layers of your skin and tissue are ripped from the underlying muscle, connective tissue, or bone.” This type of injury may sound grotesque and painful, but it is actually worse than that.

Many degloving injuries are life-threatening events as a result of the extensive amount of blood loss and tissue death that occurs. Even if you survive, you may have a lifetime of terrible pain. You may never be able to do the same jobs or enjoy the same hobbies as before. Your life is changed forever, so when it comes to getting the full compensation you need for the horrible harm you endured, be sure to call upon experienced Chicago injury counsel.

T.N. was a Wisconsin man who suffered this kind of horrible injury while working in Chicago. According to an NBC-2 report, T.N. was a spare parts manager for a machine company that was participating in a trade show taking place at McCormick Place in the near north side when he was hurt. At the end of the show, the manager was working to tear down the employer’s booth when a 29-ton forklift ran over his foot. In the accident, T.N. suffered a degloving injury to his left foot. The injury forced the manager to undergo multiple surgeries as medical teams worked to save the man’s foot.

As a construction worker in Illinois, workplace injuries are an unfortunate (and all too common) fact of life. When you’ve suffered an injury while working at your construction job, it can be an extraordinarily scary time. You’re hurt and may be looking at an extended absence from work. You have medical bills. You have many concerns, especially if you are a primary or sole income earner for your family. There may be much uncertainty, and one area of uncertainty may relate to insurance companies who are working to deny you compensation. Many workers find themselves facing that struggle. To make sure you are getting the compensation you deserve as a result of your construction job injury, it pays to be sure you have an aggressive and knowledgeable Chicago injury attorney on your side.

As pointed out in the paragraph above, insurers will often go to great lengths to try to escape paying claims or providing defenses in cases advanced by injured workers. Look at one recent case from Central Illinois. The injured man, M.D., was an employee of the elevator/escalator subcontractor working on a construction job at the Bloomington headquarters of a major insurance conglomerate.

According to the injured worker, he was performing tasks on an escalator when he came “into contact with 1,700 pounds of equipment … resulting in serious injury.” He claimed the reason that happened was because “unskilled workers” were allowed “to suddenly approach and engage heavy equipment, unannounced and without any training.” As a result of the substantial harm he suffered in this accident, M.D. sued. In that case, he named both the owner of the property (the insurance conglomerate) and the general contractor on the project.

A recent ruling by the Illinois Appellate Court was an important win for injured workers. The court’s opinion stated that a railroad worker’s award of lost wages could not be a sum from which the worker was required to pay taxes because the relevant tax law only required withholding on “services rendered,” and an award of lost wages, by definition, could not be money paid for the actual performance of services. Whether it is fighting against a reduction in your damages award or battling some other aspect of your injury case, make sure you have skilled Illinois injury counsel advising you and representing your interests.

The railroad worker, Rafael, was a freight conductor for a major railroad. While the conductor was working one day, Rafael’s train stopped short, and the stop threw him from his feet. The conductor suffered serious injuries to his neck and shoulder. Rafael sued under the Federal Employers Liability Act to recover compensation for the harm he had suffered in the accident. FELA is the statute that injured railroad workers must use to obtain compensation for their injuries.

The conductor sought damages for “lost wages, medical bills, loss of future earning capacity, and pain and suffering.” A jury heard Rafael’s case and concluded that he was entitled to a judgment totaling $821,000. $310,000 of that was past and future lost earnings. The damages awarded included a sum for lost wages. After the jury reached its verdict, the railroad asked the court to order a setoff, which is a type of reduction in the damages award. The employer’s argument was that the conductor owed taxes on his lost wages award under the Railroad Retirement Tax Act. The trial court refused, concluding that the law does not authorize the withholding of taxes from personal injury awards, including those awarded under FELA.

When you’re injured at work, the facts potentially can point toward lots of possibilities for defendants you can name in your workplace injury lawsuit. One possibility is the owner, operator or possessor of the job site where you were working. Another possibility, in some situations, could be your employer. In still others, you might be able to sue a contractor or a manufacturer, as well, if their acts of negligence reasonably led to your injuries. The key question that you will have to consider and answer is, “Did this person or entity have a duty of reasonable care to me?” When it comes to answering these and other essential questions as part of your case, don’t go it alone. Be sure you’re getting the answers you need by obtaining representation from a skilled Chicago injury attorney.

T.Z.’s case was an example of a circumstance where multiple entities were potentially liable. T.Z. worked for a sign company as an electrician in Chicago. His job required him to check and repair the scoreboard lights for one of Chicago’s Major League Baseball stadiums. The job meant walking along the roof of the stadium above the outfield. One day, the electrician encountered a wet area, slipped and fell. The fall caused the electrician to suffer a “career-ending” injury. Specifically, the man suffered a severe avulsion injury to his hamstring, which meant that the muscle was completely torn away from the bone. T.Z. underwent several surgeries but the nerve damage that went with the injury prevented him from returning to his electrician work, which was a profession in which he’d worked for more than three decades.

T.Z. had to consider lots of entities in his case. Getting the defendants right in your lawsuit can be essential to getting the full and fair recovery you deserve. In T.Z.’s case, the Illinois Appellate Court concluded that the electrician had viable claims against the baseball team and the team’s contractor that had installed the stadium’s roof. The court concluded that the evidence clearly pointed to the contractor having a duty of reasonable care to the baseball team in regard to its installation of the stadium roof and the baseball team clearly had a similar duty to the electrician.

When it comes to seeking, and obtaining, a substantial jury verdict in an injury case, there are often numerous components to a successful outcome. Even if you have not suffered a catastrophic injury (such as permanent paralysis), the injury you suffered may nevertheless have long-lasting or permanent negative impacts on your life. It is very important to have compiled (and presented) all the evidence you need to paint a truly clear picture of just how badly this injury has harmed you. To make sure you have the proof you need to get the compensation you deserve, be sure you have a skilled Chicago injury attorney on your side.

A case that demonstrated how the right kind of evidence can persuade a jury was the lawsuit filed by F.R. F.R. was an electrician who worked at a steel manufacturing plant in suburban Chicago. One day, while F.R. was in a lift to work on overhead light fixtures, a crane slammed into the lift, which caused F.R. to suffer major injuries to his finger, elbow, lower back, hip and shoulder.

The injured worker sued the steel company. In the trial, the steel company admitted liability and the court solely tried the issue of damages. F.R. presented considerable evidence to show how badly he was hurt, including providing multiple expert witnesses.

In a workplace injury circumstance, as with any kind of personal injury situation, cases can vary widely. Sometimes, all of the causes and relevant facts surrounding a workplace accident may be completely apparent or, at least, readily obtainable. Other times, though, there may be very important questions whose answers are difficult, or even impossible, to discover. When that happens, one thing you definitely should not do is simply give up on the possibility of obtaining compensation for the harm you suffered. One thing you definitely should do is arm yourself with complete information by consulting with a knowledgeable Chicago injury attorney. Even with some missing details, your experienced workplace injury attorney may very possibly be able to stitch together a sufficient narrative of the case that meets all of the law’s requirements for potentially obtaining an award of damages, thereby allowing you to pursue compensation either via settlement or judgment.

For one central Illinois man, the circumstances of his workplace injury were tragic. As reported by The Pantagraph, J.H. was a maintenance mechanic for a county government. J.H.’s duties included working at the county’s Law and Justice Center. One day in May 2015, co-workers found the mechanic at the bottom of an elevator shaft in the Law and Justice Center. He was dead, having perished from blunt force trauma and compressional asphyxia, which essential means being crushed to death. Investigators later discovered that the mechanic had entered the shaft in order to obtain an item that a visitor to the center had lost down the shaft, the report indicated.

Workplace accidents involving elevators, like J.H.’s fatal incident, may allow the deceased worker’s family to sue and to recover against multiple parties. In Illinois, the owner of the property where the elevator accident occurred is one person or entity that may owe compensation to the injured worker. They are required to engage in the highest degree of care to make certain that the elevators within their properties are sufficiently inspected and maintained to ensure safety.

The amount of recovery an injured plaintiff may be entitled to receive will vary significantly depending on the facts and the circumstances that surround the case. Just because your injury did not cause death or catastrophic injury (such as permanent paralysis), or did not prevent the injured person from living without the aid of a caregiver or ever working again, does not necessarily mean that your case is automatically entitled to a smaller damages award. Your Illinois injury attorney can help you make knowledgeable determinations about how much your case is worth. In one recent matter affirmed by the Illinois Appellate Court, a railway worker received more than $20,000,000 after he suffered a serious foot injury at work.

The injured worker in this case was a conductor at a railway, working in Chicago. One day in September 2011, the conductor and an engineer were trying to separate a car from a chain of cars to facilitate a repair. In the process, the conductor’s foot became caught between the car on which he was riding and a car situated on an adjacent track.

A main reason that the accident occurred, according to the conductor, was improper work done on the tracks in 2010. After the completion of that work, the part of the tracks where the conductor was injured had a distance of only 10.5 feet between the two tracks, even though the Illinois Commerce Commission regulations require a minimum distance of 13.5 feet.

For any worker seeking to recover workers’ compensation benefits, one might hope for a clear-cut case in which the workplace injury unmistakably caused harm to the worker. Real life is rarely clear-cut, however, which is one reason why it pays to have experienced Illinois workers’ compensation attorneys on your side. An example of succeeding even without a clear-cut case was a truck driver who had pre-existing conditions but whose evidence persuaded the Illinois Appellate Court that the driver’s post-accident state of ill-being was causally related to her workplace accident.

The worker was a woman who worked as a truck driver for several months in 2005. She eventually returned to truck driving, working for the same employer, in 2013. In the interim, she had undergone two back surgeries, one in 2009 and one in 2011. Despite the back problems and fibromyalgia, she passed both the employer’s physical exam and a state-mandated physical exam for truck drivers.

Six months back on the job, the driver slipped and fell on ice while making a delivery to a distribution center in northwest Illinois. The driver’s doctor restricted her from working. In the following April, she underwent spinal fusion surgery. Even after the surgery, the worker experienced pain and numbness, walked with a limp, and was unsteady on her feet. Her doctor did not clear her to return to truck driving and also imposed lifting restrictions. By September 2014, the employer terminated the driver.