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Chicago Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Vocational rehabilitation -- Don't let insurance company say no

Like most people, you probably take great pride in a job that you do well, and anything that affects your ability to do so can be devastating. A workplace injury can derail your professional trajectory on top of compromising your physical and mental health. For many in Illinois, vocational rehabilitation through workers' compensation is key to future success.

After an injury, it is not always clear whether you will be able to return to your previous job. You might hope that after successful medical treatment you will go back to your former position, but your injuries may be too extensive for that to be possible. In such situations, employers and workers' compensation insurance companies are supposed to provide vocational rehabilitation. This provides training, compensation and transitionary help as victims begin a career in a new field or position.

Driver hit construction worker on purpose, causing serious injury

Roadwork can be frustrating for drivers, and understandably so, as traffic is often reduced to fewer lanes and speed limits are lowered. However, these measures are put in place to protect not only drivers and their passengers, but the men and women tasked with carrying out the construction work. An Illinois construction worker recently suffered a serious injury when he was hit by an SUV while on the job.

The construction employee was part of a contractor crew working on a resurfacing project for the Illinois Department of Transportation. He was on-site when he was struck by a motor vehicle, suffering serious injuries that were not life-threatening but required treatment at an area hospital. While being hit by a car at one's workplace might be upsetting enough, police claim that there was something more disturbing about this accident -- the driver allegedly hit the worker on purpose.

Does workers' compensation cover injuries from poor air quality?

Most people picture construction workers laboring outside, enjoying the sunlight and fresh air. However, simply being outside does not protect individuals from dangerous particles in the air, and many workers in the construction industry must also work in small, enclosed places where there is inadequate ventilation. Workers' compensation can help Illinois workers who have been harmed by poor air quality at work get the care and compensation they need.

Construction sites are especially likely to have particulate material in the air, which workers might then breathe in. This is true whether the project is a new build, renovation or complete demolition. Nontoxic dusts -- such as wood, drywall, ductwork and more -- can be extremely irritating when inhaled, and might exacerbate or contribute to lung conditions, like chronic obstructive lung disease or asthma. Asbestos, lead and other toxic dusts can have even more profoundly negative long-term effects.

Work-related accident sends 2 to hospital

Many people envision the workplace as a building filled with desks and computers, but this is only one, narrow view of what some places of employment look like. Some are large factories while others might be the dining room of a restaurant. Some are at the bottom of a trench, like the site of a recent work\-related accident in Illinois.

Two men were part of a contracted crew working to dig trenches for a soon-to-be-laid natural gas pipeline. The trenches were apparently quite large in size, measuring at least 20 feet down in some places. Both of these men were injured while working on the pipeline trenches.

How do I file for workers' compensation benefits?

An on-the-job injury can be devastating, causing long-term physical, emotional and financial harm. Most people understand that workers' compensation exists for injuries, but not everyone in Illinois is familiar with the process to receive benefits. By better understanding workers' compensation and its purpose, victims of workplace injuries can achieve the best results possible.

The first step to obtaining workers' compensation benefits is to report the injury as soon as possible. This is true even if a supervisor might already be aware that you were hurt during an already documented accident. By reporting an injury immediately, workers can begin the process of seeking workers' compensation benefits before their injuries worsen or reach a point that becomes unbearable.

Does a mild brain injury justify workers’ compensation?

Any time that a person receives a blow to the head, there is a possibility that he or she may receive a brain injury. This can take many forms, and the symptoms may vary greatly from person to person. While mild traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) commonly occur in contact sports or car accidents, many types of workplace accidents can lead to a head injury.

Although a mild TBI may not cause notable difficulties for some victims, many injuries do not express the full scope of their harm until days or even weeks after the initial incident. Because brain injuries can lead to so many different symptoms, diagnosing and treating a mild TBI may take more time and effort than victims realize. Similarly, because these injuries rarely have any physical features, friends, family and colleagues of a TBI victim may doubt the seriousness of the matter.

Let us be your guide through the workers' compensation system

The manufacturing industry includes many different types of factories, mills and plants. Illinois manufacturers provide many necessary goods and products while also employing a great number of people, but they can also be dangerous. Workers need proper safety equipment to prevent the occurrence of serious work-related accidents, which often require workers' compensation benefits for recovery.

When adequate safety protocols are absent, workers are unnecessarily put in harm's way. Employer negligence can take many forms, including overlooking defective machinery, scrimping on safety gear or failing to properly train workers. The stakes are high in manufacturing, and there is no room for employer carelessness when work-related injuries are often severe. Some of the more serious injuries include:

  • Brain and head injuries
  • Back injuries
  • Loss of limb
  • Death

Illinois DCFS investigator suffers head injury protecting child

Each job has its own set of safety issues that can potentially harm employees. In some instances, potential hazards are obvious, such as in construction and manufacturing industries. In others, the danger is not always so clear. An Illinois investigator with the Department of Children and Family Services recently suffered a serious head injury after she was assaulted on the job.

The 59-year-old investigator was attempting to put a 2-year-old child into protective custody just prior to the assault. This was not the first visit with the involved family. In July 2017, a 29-year-old man was arrested on felony allegations for aggravated battery of a 6-year-old child, which apparently prompted the IDCFS's initial investigation. That same man is accused of committing the assault against the investigator.

OSHA is valuable partner after workplace accidents

Illinois workers have the right to reasonably safe working conditions. Even seemingly dangerous occupations can be made safer through the proper administration and maintenance of safety equipment and policies. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration -- OSHA -- plays an important role in preventing workplace accidents, and can be an invaluable resource when they occur.

OSHA is a nationwide agency that sets and enforces standards to protect workers. Work-related deaths have dropped by an astounding 62 percent since its 1971 creation. On-the-job injuries decreased by 42 percent thanks to safety standards. Illinois is one of 22 states that also has its own OSHA program, which implements safety standards for state workers.

Construction worker suffers back injury after fall

Construction workers face a potentially untold number of hazards when on the job, and yet Illinois employers continue to put these individuals in harm's way. While unsettling, it might come as no surprise that an area man was seriously injured after a fall at a construction site. He suffered multiple injuries -- including a back injury -- that required hospitalization.

The 49-year-old construction worker was on site at a historic aqueduct. The aqueduct -- which had sustained serious damage during 2013 flooding -- was under contract to be demolished and removed, although the project was still awaiting state approval. The worker and one other individual were on the work site cleaning and removing debris off the aqueduct when the accident happened.

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