Articles Tagged with Illinois

Safety remains an important issue for teachers, teacher’s assistants and school workers. Numerous injuries occur while teachers and school employees strive to instruct and provide for the safety and well-being of students. Although the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act is a law set up to benefit and provide relief for the injured worker, skilled workers’ compensation attorneys familiar and experienced with school related injuries are frequently needed to ensure the injureds’ rights are protected. Katz, Friedman, one of the few law firms, approved by the Illinois Education Association (IEA) to handle work injures on behalf of its members has successfully represented the injured throughout Illinois including employees of Elgin’s School District U-46, Rockford School District No. 205, St. Charles Community Unit School District No. 303, and many more. We are proud to report two recent trial victories on behalf of injured teaching professionals.

In the first case, the injured, a physical education teacher, suffered an injury while teaching her class. The teacher was demonstrating stretches and exercises to her students when she injured her back. The teacher sought medical treatment immediately and was given work restrictions by her doctor. The school district stated that they could not accommodate her restrictions and would not allow her to return to work. The school district also refused to pay her off work benefits, pay for her continued medical treatment and refused to allow her to come back to work in any capacity until all of her restrictions were removed. The school district based their denial of workers compensation benefits on the notion that “demonstrating exercises to students was not an essential function of a PE teacher’s job duties.” The school district’s refusal to allow the teacher to return to work lasted five months. During this time, the injured teacher did not receive any off work benefits as provided under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. Katz Friedman attorneys fought for the injured teacher at trial before the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. The Arbitrator ruled in favor of the teacher and agreed with all of Katz Friedman’s trial arguments. The injured teacher was awarded full off work benefits, payment of all medical bills including repayment of her out-of-pocket medical expenses of over $1,000.00 and a substantial award for the permanent partial disability caused by the back injury.

In the second case, Katz Friedman attorneys received a favorable trial decision where a special education teacher’s assistant sustained a concussion after a student punched her in the head. The trial award was five times greater than the amount offered for settlement by the school district. At trial, the school district attempted to minimize the injured teacher’s assistant’s symptoms claiming they were not related to the concussion injury. The school district’s argument was supported by a doctor they retained for the litigation. Katz Friedman attorneys were successful in convincing the Arbitrator that the medical evidence and treating doctor’s opinions were more credible than the doctor retained by the school district. Although there is still time for the school district to appeal this very recent decision, Katz Friedman attorneys remain confident that the results will be upheld.

WILL SELF-DRIVING TRUCKS BE SAFER, SOONER?

With all the talk about self-driving cars lately, it is surprising not to hear more about self-driving tractor-trailers. Given that trucking collisions cause massive harm across Illinois Expressways every day, most people would welcome self-driving trucks if we knew that they would make our highways safer or at least decrease the number of accidents. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, the number of traffic crash fatalities has surpassed each of the totals for the past 5 years. In fact, Illinois has eclipsed 1,000 traffic deaths even before the start of the final two weeks of the year. Of these fatalities, 247 have taken place in Cook County while each Winnebago, St. Clair, Will, Kane, DuPage, and Lake Counties suffered nearly 40 deaths in crashes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qb0Kzb3haK8

4263660_sIndividuals dealing with mental health issues in Illinois can apply for benefits from the Social Security Administration’s disability program. Benefits may help to alleviate the strain brought about by an inability to get or keep a job due to mental illness.

Recognized types of mental illnesses

The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that 26.2 percent of adults in the U.S. have a diagnosable mental disorder each year. The number of individuals with severe mental disorders is smaller, at just less than 6 percent.

14823916_sWhile workers’ compensation claims involving traumatic or repetitive injuries may be fairly straightforward, claims involving occupational diseases are often complicated. The Illinois Workers’ Occupational Diseases Act gives Illinois employees the right to seek workers’ compensation benefits for occupational diseases caused by their jobs. However, identifying these illnesses and proving they are work-related is not always easy. 

Occupational diseases may be caused by exposure to chemicals, heat, radiation, noise and other environmental conditions. When many people think of occupational diseases, they think of conditions such as lung cancer, but conditions that are not usually considered diseases, such as hearing loss, also qualify. Obtaining compensation for occupational diseases can be difficult because many of these conditions can arise from other causes, such as personal habits and environmental exposure.

Determining disease origins

15303861_sEvery year, many Illinois workers incur injuries that allow them to receive compensation under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. An employee is able to acquire benefits under this legislation regardless of whether the accident was the fault of the employee or the employer. However, in some cases, the fault lies not within either of these parties but with another entity or person. When this happens, the injured employee can file a third-party lawsuit against this person or entity.

Examples of third-party lawsuits

There are several different situations in which an employee could suffer injuries that would justify filing a third-party lawsuit.  Some of these include:

15815507_sA person does not have to have an accident or suffer some trauma in order to sustain an injury. There is a large group of medical conditions, known as repetitive injuries, which are the result of the wear and tear on the body caused by repetitive motion or activity. Common symptoms of these injuries include pain, weakness, stiffness and numbness.

Repetitive injuries, also referred to as musculoskeletal disorders, can be caused by any number of activities. While they are regularly seen in athletes and musicians, repetitive injuries are also common in the workplace. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that these disorders made up 34 percent of all work-related injury and illness cases in 2012.

Types of repetitive injuries

14119749_sA mental illness is a disease that causes mild to severe disturbances in a person’s thoughts and behaviors. There are over 200 types of classified mental illnesses. However, some of the most common include depression, bipolar disorder, dementia and anxiety.  Mental illness symptoms vary by person and may include changes in mood, personal habits and personality. 

Mental illness’ effect on workers 

Mental illnesses can interfere with an Illinois employee’s capacity to perform the daily requirements of their job. For example, a mental illness may affect an employee’s ability to concentrate, handle pressure, multi-task, remain energized throughout the day, interact with others, respond to changes and filter out distracting sights, sounds and stimuli.