That is probably the most frequently asked question we hear from new Workers' Compensation clients when we first meet with them in our office. It is a fair and reasonable inquiry. Probably, 95 times out of 100, the most honest and intelligent answer we can give at that time is, "I don't know, yet."
Most people might not realize it, but today is actually the 7th annual Construction Safety Day, an initiative sponsored by the Governor's Industrial Safety and Health Advisory Board in Washington state.
There are perhaps no more dangerous occupations within the construction industry than those associated with road construction. On a daily basis, these men and women have to not only worry about traditional worksite hazards (falling objects, dangerous machinery, deep trenches, etc.), but also the traffic zooming by them.
Even though the temperature is still unseasonably cold and snow is still piled high throughout the streets of Chicago, it's important to remember that spring is right around the corner. While this may seem hard to believe given our bitterly cold winter, consider that we are actually in the midst of National Severe Weather Preparedness Week.
Over the next few months, the legislative agenda here in the state of Illinois will slowly begin to take shape and lawmakers will once gear again up for multiple rounds of spirited debate. In fact, one of the issues that lawmakers might end up debating is the possibility of a new limit on workers' compensation.
Is an employee injured in an accident caused by a sudden syncopal episode -- i.e., a loss of consciousness caused by insufficient blood flow to the brain -- entitled to workers' compensation benefits?
It is important to understand that those workers who are unfortunate enough to be involved in industrial accidents often suffer more than just back sprains, muscle pulls or neck strains. This is not to say that these types of work injuries aren't incredibly debilitating or capable of causing an injured worker considerable problems, rather it's simply a recognition of just how truly horrific and life-altering industrial accidents can be.
The unfortunate reality is that the number of fatal workplace injuries here in the U.S. remains unacceptably high despite advancements in work safety technology, greater enforcement efforts by state and federal agencies, and a greater awareness on the part of employers and employees.
Right now, college students throughout Illinois are busy preparing for the start of the fall semester. However, these college students aren't the only busy ones, as staff at these colleges and universities are busy preparing their campuses for the sudden influx of students and taking steps to ensure that the academic year proceeds as smoothly -- and injury free -- as possible.
The unfortunate reality is that most people think that work injuries simply couldn't happen to them. They think that they are reserved solely for those men and women who make their living in inherently dangerous occupations, perhaps using heavy machinery or being exposed to hazardous materials.