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Chicago Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Explosion from work-related accident kills 2, injures 2 others

Tragedy recently struck Illinois when a natural gas pipeline exploded at a farm. Two workers were tragically killed in the work\-related accident, and two others suffered serious injuries. The explosion also caused a serious fire that took several hours to get under control.

At approximately 9 a.m. on Dec. 5, 2017, the farm workers were apparently attempting to move a tractor that had become stuck while laying down field tile. During their attempts to free the vehicle, they accidentally hit a buried pipeline used to transport natural gas, which caused the explosion. The two workers who suffered fatal injuries appeared to have died while still at the scene. The other two workers were initially taken to an area hospital, but their injuries were so severe that they had to be transported to a trauma center for treatment.

What rights protect me from a work-related accident?

A safe workplace is more than just a good perk for employees in Illinois -- it's their right. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires employers to comply with OSHA standards that, when implemented correctly, should protect workers. In many cases, proper safety precautions and open communication can help prevent a work-related accident from ever occurring.

Proper training is a must for workplace safety. Employees should be made aware of any possible chemicals they will be exposed to, given information regarding the possible health hazards and then trained on related safety precautions. Employees must also receive a copy of the safety and health standards that the employer follows so that they more clearly understand how they will be made aware of unexpected hazards, such as chemical spills or bloodborne pathogens.

Suffered a neck injury at work? You're not alone

Though necessary, manufacturing facilities in Illinois are notoriously dangerous. Workers must handle lots of physical labor in a variety of dangerous environments, each of which pose serious threats to their safety. Whether an employer dropped the ball on safety standards or an accident led to injury, suffering a back or neck injury might not be that uncommon.

Some manufacturing workers engage in daily physical labor. For many, their backs take the heaviest toll of all. Whether they must lift and move heavy objects, engage in twisting and bending motions or use their back for any other serious labor, backs tend to take the brunt of much of the physical work. This can lead to serious injury from either repeated use or a one-time incident. Slipped or herniated discs and lower back injuries are especially common for workers.

What are my rights to rehabilitation after a workplace injury?

When a worker suffers an injury on the job, he or she usually files a workers' compensation claim. This allows the employee to receive appropriate medical care and possibly some other compensation for lost income or permanent injury. After treatment is completed, the employee can return to work.

However, many injuries require a longer amount of recovery time on the part of the worker. This is the point where things often turn contentious with the employer or insurance provider. In some cases, the employer may balk at providing ongoing rehabilitation or allowing an injured worker the time off from work that they need to fully recover.

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.

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