Articles Tagged with Injury Claims

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.

Construction_WorkersMany injured workers wonder if they need to file a workers’ compensation claim. Injured workers are often hesitant to file a workers’ compensation claim for a number of reasons. For instance, the injured worker may fear employer retaliation for filing a claim or the injured worker may think that the workers’ compensation claim process will be a long, time-consuming, and painful process with several doctor visits.

While there is no requirement that injured workers file a workers’ compensation claim, quite frankly, there is no reason not to file a workers’ compensation claim. The following lists several reasons why employees shouldn’t be fearful of filing a workers’ compensation claim:

  • Employers are prohibited from retaliating against you if you file a claim. State and federal law prohibits employers from retaliating against employees for reporting injuries. Moreover, employers are prohibited from offering bonuses or prizes for meeting safety goals if those incentives deter employees from reporting workplace injuries. Prohibited retaliation includes: demotions, disciplinary actions, dismissals, salary reductions, hour reductions, shift reassignments, and changes in job responsibilities. 

350px-A_slate_saw_-_geograph.org_.uk_-_286201Illinois employers – even those who employ as few as one employee – are subject to certain requirements with respect to workers’ compensation. The employer’s primary obligation under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act is to obtain workers’ compensation on behalf of all employees. Workers’ compensation insurance must be obtained at the sole expense of the employer, and no portion of the premiums or benefits can be charged back to the employee. Illinois employers are allowed to self-insure, but they must obtain state approval to do so.

In addition to the obligation to obtain workers’ compensation insurance or obtain state approval to self-insure, Illinois employers are required to:

flight attendantIt can be important for an United Airlines employee to discuss an injury during a layover with an attorney. As demonstrated by numerous cases, including that of a flight attendant bitten by a spider while sleeping in a hotel during a layover, a Los Angeles flight attendant may be eligible for workers’ compensation. Understanding how the concept of “course and scope of employment” applies to layover injuries is essential to taking the best course of action in this type of situation.

 

Workers’ compensation benefits are provided to employees who are injured in the course and scope of employment. There are some key differences in the way that concept is applied to the circumstances of traveling workers, such as United Airlines flight attendants, and typical, fixed place employees. The range of circumstances that can be considered as within the course and scope of employment is much broader for traveling employees, allowing them to be compensated for injuries that would typically be denied had they occurred in a worker with a fixed place of employment.

 

After-hours injuries or accidents that occur during travel to and from the job are not covered in fixed place employees. However, if a Los Angeles flight attendant is injured in a hotel or restaurant during a layover in Chicago or while in route to one, those injuries may well be compensable. Generally, workers who are traveling on behalf of their employers are regarded as acting within the course of employment throughout the entire period of travel. Procuring food and shelter are considered incidents of employment in the case of traveling employees, and injuries sustained during the course of these activities are typically covered by workers’ compensation.

airplane-cockpitOn occasion, as with any large industry, an United Airlines employee is injured by a co-worker during work. One incident, reported by New Jersey’s Star-Ledger on January 20, 2013, resulted in serious injury to an airline worker, who was pinned by a baggage cart after the cart was struck by a food service supply vehicle driven by another worker. This is the type of workplace injury situation that a New York United Airlines employee is best served by speaking with a lawyer as soon as possible, as liability and compensation in these sorts of cases can be complex. Initial statements regarding the circumstances of the injury can matter a great deal.

 

Circumstances Can Affect Liability

 

Sometimes, an accident is just that – an accident – and the standard procedures for dealing with compensation for an on the job injury are sufficient. However, that is not always the case and liability can expand beyond the usual workers’ compensation available for people hurt at work. Sometimes, an airline employee can be injured by a co-worker through the negligence of that co-worker. If the co-worker was impaired by drugs or alcohol, or was behaving in a reckless manner, for example, that could constitute negligence under the law and could affect liability.