Articles Tagged with Workers Compensation

What do I do when I am injured at work?

You know your job and you know what to do when things are running smoothly and when things go wrong. However, when you get injured you may be unsure about what to do and what to say. Here are some helpful hints for figuring out what to do when you get injured at work.

1. Report everything. If you get hurt at work you should report the accident to your superiors as soon as possible. Let them know exactly what happened and when it happened. It is easy when you have a specific injury, “I picked up a box and felt a sharp pain in my low back.” It is harder when the injury is due to the repetitive and forceful activities that you do at work. If you have pain and think it is work related let somebody know about it and see a doctor. You will need to report the claim to your employer as soon as a doctor tells you that your pain may be work related. Reporting every injury does not mean you are going to a doctor or hiring a lawyer every time. You are documenting that something happened. If you get hurt on Thursday but do not report it until the following Monday your employer may question your claim. Report the accident as soon as possible.

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.

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.

justiceInjured workers often have a number of questions and concerns following a workplace accident or on-the-job injury. An injured worker might be confused about whether they are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits even if they were partly or entirely responsible for the accident. A union member may wonder whether how his or her benefits are affected by the collective bargaining agreement. And a travelling employee may not think that his or her out-of-state injury is covered by workers’ compensation.

At Katz, Friedman, Eagle, Eisenstein, Johnson & Bareck, our dedicated Chicago workers’ compensation lawyers focus on helping injured workers get the benefits and compensation that they deserve. We have extensive experience working with clients throughout the state, across the country, and around the world. We are dedicated to delivering superior client service and maximizing our client’s recovery in the following ways:

  • Explaining your legal rights. Injured workers are often hesitant to file a workers’ compensation claim for a number of reasons, but there is no reason to not file a workers’ compensation claim. Workers’ compensation laws can be confusing and the procedures for filing a workers’ compensation claim may seem intimidating, but we will explain your legal rights to you so that you can make an informed decision.

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Attorney Frank J. Bertuca (left) recently won a landmark case in front of the IL Appellate Court for our union baggage handler who was employed at United Airlines. The Illinois Appellate Court unanimously reversed the circuit court and ruled that our client was entitled to a weekly differential check as a result of his work accident.  The case summary was published in the July 17, 2013 edition of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Law Bulletin.  United Airlines Inc. v. (Young), Ill. App. Ct., 1st  2013.”

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Illinois Workers’ Compensation Lawyers

dangerous workAlthough it’s a great place to live, Illinois can sometimes be a seriously dangerous place to work, and no one knows this better that our Illinois workers compensation lawyers. They fight every day to find justice for accident victims, because every Chicago work injury lawyer at Katz, Friedman, Eagle, Eisenstein, Johnson & Bareck has seen first-hand the dangers that workers face every day when they’re on the clock. Of course, while no job is completely safe from the threat of injury, some occupations are statistically more hazardous than others. If you work in one of the following fields, your job is one of the most dangerous in Illinois.

Most Dangerous Jobs Known to Illinois Workers Compensation Lawyers

Injuries are a fairly common occurrence among airline ground workers. According to the Flight Safety Foundation, approximately 27,000 accidents and incidents – one per 1,000 departures – occur every year worldwide, and about 243,000 people are injured in these accidents and incidents annually. Human error is the primary cause of these incidents, with approximately 92 percent of accidents traced to failure to follow procedures, inadequate training and airfield congestion. These numbers will come as no surprise to United Airlines ground workers, such as baggage handlers, mechanics and ground crew employees, who work in the intense atmosphere of busy Washington D.C., New York, Denver or Los Angeles airports.

March 2-Kfeej-Airline Ground Workers Perform Dangerous Duties

 

Every time an aircraft lands, airport ground workers are under pressure to get that plane turned around and back in service as quickly as possible. Ground workers, equipment and vehicles are in constant motion around the aircraft, working to manage cargo and baggage, perform aircraft inspections and maintenance, and get the plane refueled, cleaned and restocked for its next flight. Adding to that pressure is the fact that, over the past decade, ground workers have had to adjust to completing these tasks with fewer workers, as cash-strapped airlines have reduced staffing levels. Additionally, in many cases, experienced workers have been replaced by less experienced and lower paid employees. At the same time, regulations passed in 2010 impose fines on airlines when passengers are kept waiting on the tarmac for more than three hours, increasing pressure on ground workers for fast aircraft turnarounds.

 

These factors create an atmosphere in which employees serving in support positions, like mechanics, baggage handlers, and ground crew team members, may feel pressured by supervisors to let safety procedures slip a little in the interest of speed. A hard-pressed baggage handler may not wait for a spotter or a mechanic may take a short cut, worried not just about the airline schedule, but also about satisfying demanding supervisors and keeping their jobs. Of course, these decisions, made under pressure in a split second, are ones that can lead to those human error accidents.