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Chicago Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Mechanic claims medical expenses and more for exposure to benzene

Benzene is a flammable, sweet-smelling chemical that is present in gasoline, parts washers, solvents such as cleaning agents and degreasers, and automotive paints. These are all products to which auto mechanics in Illinois and elsewhere are exposed every day. Furthermore, benzene is a known carcinogen and the cause of excessive medical expenses for many workers who are suffering the consequences of exposure to this dangerous chemical.

An auto mechanic who has been exposed to benzene since 1982 and developed cancer as a result recently filed a lawsuit. He named ExxonMobil, Rust-Oleum, BP, Shell and 10 other companies as defendants. The plaintiff claims he now suffers from multiple myeloma -- a cancer of the blood that originates in bone marrow. Cancerous white blood cells form in the bones after the accumulation of benzene that is absorbed by inhalation or through skin absorption.

Fatal construction worker injury kills Lake in the Hills man

Construction workers in Illinois often face life-threatening hazards on the job. It is the responsibility of all business owners to comply with federal safety regulations designed to prevent workplace injuries. It is also the employers' responsibility to monitor employee compliance with prescribed safety precautions. A recent fatal construction worker injury is currently under investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to determine the cause of an employee's death.

Reportedly, an incident that caused a fatal injury to a construction worker occurred on a recent Friday in Joliet. Authorities say the victim was a 33-year-old man. They pronounced his death shortly after 9 a.m. at the emergency room of a local medical center.

Fatal workplace injury kills employee of metal manufacturer

Employees in manufacturing facilities in Illinois are typically exposed to many life-threatening hazards whenever they are on duty. Industrial facilities have scores of dangerous machinery and equipment, each posing unique dangers. Furthermore, in factories, there are always risks of workers falling from platforms, being struck by heavy objects and more. A fatal workplace injury at a metal manufacturer's plant recently claimed the life of an employee.

Reportedly, a 57-year-old employee died while working in an industrial facility in Clinton. According to a preliminary report, a call about the incident was made shortly before 10 a.m. Emergency workers responded to the scene but found the employee already deceased. The county coroner pronounced him dead within 30 minutes after the emergency call was received.

Work accident kills worker who was also part-time performer

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration launched an investigation into the death of a paving company worker in Illinois. This fatal work accident touched the whole community because the deceased man, particularly due to the man's side gig moonlighting as a singer of old-time favorites in local venues. An official coroner's report is pending.

Reportedly, the local police received a report about the 58-year-old worker's death shortly before 2 p.m. on a recent Wednesday. The part-time performer also had a full-time job as a mechanic. It is unclear whether he was working on maintenance or repair of the asphalt paver at the time of the incident, or whether he fell from it. According to the coroner, the man had multiple traumatic injuries.

Falls: Safety harness saves worker in scaffold collapse

While safety harnesses could be life-saving devices, they could be dangerous under certain circumstances. Falls from heights are high on the list of frequently reported workplace accidents in Illinois and other states. When a safety harness arrests a fall, leaving the victim suspended for too long can have devastating consequences.

A worker in another state was lucky to be rescued by firefighters when he recently fell a distance of about three stories before the safety lanyard arrested the fall. This was one of those accidents that could have ended a whole lot worse. Reportedly, the man was on a scaffold on the ninth floor level when the one side of the platform collapsed. Fortunately, he was strapped into a safety harness and securely attached to an anchor point by the lanyard.

Injured Illinois workers have a right to choice of doctor

If you are an employee in Illinois, you may feel comfortable knowing that workers' compensation insurance will provide benefits in the event of you suffer injuries in a workplace accident. However, when you file a workers' compensation claim, you might not have a say in the choice of doctor. Your employer may send you to a company-appointed doctor that might look after the interests of the business and not yours. In some cases, the doctor declares the injured employee fit for work long before recovery is complete.

You may not realize that you may be entitled to go to your own doctor for treatment. However, to arrange this, you might need the help of the attorneys at the Law Offices of Millon & Peskin who serve workers in the Chicago metro area. One of our attorneys can explain how the 2011 changes to the law affect the rights of every employee to go to a doctor of his or her choice.

Fatal work injury leads to claim filed in federal court

In Illinois, workers are typically prohibited from filing lawsuits against their employers after they suffer injuries in job-related accidents. However, workers' compensation benefits are usually available. In circumstances where an employer's gross negligence caused or materially contributed to a work injury, or the injury resulted from the negligence of a third party, grounds may exist for a separate civil claim. After losing her husband to a fatal work injury, a woman in another state filed a claim for damages in federal court. She named as many as nine defendants, including the employer and two Illinois companies -- a crane manufacturer and a lift truck supplier.

In August last year, a 51-year-old employee of a logistics company operated a lifting machine to load and unload train cargo. A shipping container fell from the lift after a cable securing it broke. The container fell on the cab of the lift vehicle, crushing the operator to death. Initial reports indicated that the cable snapped.

Benefit claim after workplace injury subject to time limit

Illinois workers are entitled to workers' compensation insurance benefits if they are injured in workplace accidents. However, there are specific timelines by which certain steps must be taken to ensure eligibility for benefits after a workplace injury. The first and obvious step is to seek medical attention. Then, keeping in mind that the medical bills and lost wages will soon cause financial difficulties, the following steps must follow as soon as possible.

File a written report must be submitted to the employer -- keeping a copy for one's own records -- within days as there is a time limit for this to be done. The employer must then provide the worker with a claim form to fill out with all the details of the workplace injury. The completed form -- along with any medical reports -- is returned to the employer who must file it with the workers' compensation insurance provider immediately.

When are disability benefits available through workers' compensation?

Workers' compensation is a critical resource for workers who are injured on the job. Workers' compensation benefits include not only medical benefits, but also vocational rehabilitation and maintenance benefits, death/survivors' benefits, and disability benefits.

Disability benefits can be broken down into two general categories, temporary and permanent, and each of these can be further broken down into total and partial. A worker is entitled to temporary total disability benefits when he or she is temporarily unable to return to work or is approved for light-duty work but such work cannot be accommodated. Temporary total payments are two-thirds of an injured worker's average weekly wage-with minimum and maximum limits-and are paid until the injured worker reaches maximum medical improvement

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