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January 2012 Archives

The Steep Struggle For An Injured Workers Rights

For the injured worker, achieving workers’ compensation benefits should be simple. Many, at first, assume it will require just a few phone calls and some paperwork. And yet, seldom is it as easy as it should be. The required red-tape can seem designed to discourage rather than help an injured worker. And this becomes even more complicated when your employer or workers’ compensation insurance provider opposes your claim. Each claim costs them money, and regardless of how justified your claim, their policy is often to automatically block or limit it. In fact, a recent case in Illinois highlighted too well the type of tangled ploys an injured worker can face when fighting for their benefits.

Costa Concordia Reminds of Recreational Boating Dangers

The recent crash of the Costa Concordia cruise ship stunned even veteran cruise travelers and boating enthusiasts. Disturbing pictures of the listing ship are often accompanied by the rhetorical tagline: “Too big to sink?” In fact, the ship’s mammoth size and relative newness made the crash all the more shocking. Launched in 2006, the Costa Concordia was able to comfortably carry over 4,000 passengers and crew, was in excellent shape, and outfitted with modern sailing and safety technology. Despite having, in theory, everything needed to keep her passengers safe, this mammoth ship was undone by the same flaw that often causes such accidents: human error.

Bankruptcy and the Injured Illinois Worker

As the economy continues a frustratingly slow recovery from the “Great Recession,” many businesses and individuals alike still struggle to keep themselves financially afloat. Its toll is reflected in the continued high-rate of unemployment and ongoing layoffs. A significant effect of this downturn has been a rise in bankruptcy filings. With debt outpacing income, individuals and businesses have increasingly turned to filing for bankruptcy to relieve the financial pressure. For instance, in Illinois approximately 41,000 bankruptcy filings were made in 2007. By 2010, that number had doubled to 82,000. With this upsurge comes a growing concern for the many Illinois workers who are receiving or are in the process of filing for workers’ compensation benefits. Whether they personally or their employer is declaring bankruptcy, the question is the same: “How will bankruptcy affect my workers’ compensation benefits?”

Understanding Workers Compensation Death Benefits

Many of us are aware of the hazards in our workplace. Even for those who work in relatively low-risk environments, we all know injuries can and do happen. This is why workers’ compensation exists, to help workers who are injured while on the job. While most of us aren’t aware of the finer procedures and regulations surrounding the benefit, we are at least generally aware of its availability. What you may not know, however, is that workers’ compensation is not solely for helping injured workers. It may also provide benefits for survivors when a worker is killed on the job.

Winter Weather Brings Risks for Workers

After 2011’s record-breaking number of extreme weather events, many are hoping for the best but preparing for the worst this winter. However, many areas are just entering the hardest part of winter. For instance, Illinois state climatologists estimate that the area experiences an average of five major winter storms between November and April, with January the worst month. While many of us can take steps to avoid being exposed to potentially deadly weather, for others, it’s a part of their job. Utility and sanitation workers, fire and police, even agriculture, transportation and warehouse workers are constantly exposed to cold temperatures. As a result, many of these workers may develop a variety of injuries caused by cold stress.

Holidays Bring Deadly Increase in Drunk Driving

More than any other time of year, the holiday season brings with it a host of parties and gatherings. From small family get-togethers to mandatory work functions, from glitzy New Year’s galas to neighborhood cookie exchanges, most of us will be socializing a lot more. With these parties often comes not just a banquet of rich foods, but a bevy of drinks -- wine with dinner, a champagne toast, and that seemingly innocuous punch or eggnog that actually packs a wallop. But an unfortunate side effect of all this holiday cheer is that more people are driving under the influence. It is helpful, therefore, to be aware of some facts that may help you and your loved ones avoid a tragedy this holiday season.

Courts Reinforce Strength of Injured Workers Testimonies

Injured workers are often concerned how they will have to prove their injuries are work-related. And the truth is, often employers will attempt to fight workers’ compensation claims by asserting that the injury did not occur in the workplace. A worker who was injured without witnesses present could find their version of the event questioned or doubted. The stress of heavy scrutiny and pressure, combined with the pain and limitations of their injury, can be overwhelming. And as a result, too often a worker will give up on his or her workers’ compensation claim. For such workers, the good news is that a recent court win has shown how effective it can be to fight for your rights.

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