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Aurora work injury attorneysIf you work in the labor or trucking industries, you may be well aware of workers’ compensation. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, truck drivers and tractor trailer operators made up 5.4% of all private industry reports of injuries. Non-construction laborers make up the highest percentage of 7.3%. Other notable industries are janitorial, nursing assistants, and retail workers.

Every employer is required to have workers’ compensation insurance in the event that someone gets hurt at work or sustains an injury related to working conditions. Workers’ compensation can assist people after an injury by providing:

  • Medical treatment,
  • Leave with pay,
  • Job security, and
  • Additional benefits.

A family member or friend in your industry may have even needed workers’ compensation benefits, but when it happens to you, an important question to ask is: do you hire a workers’ compensation attorney?

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Aurora work injury lawyersRunning a business without workers' compensation insurance is considered a felony. Under Illinois Workers’ Compensation Laws, almost all workers are eligible for workers compensation. A couple of exceptions are farm workers and Federal employees.

What Is Workers’ Compensation?

Employers are required to have workers’ compensation insurance, which provides financial stability and medical care for employees who are facing injuries that were caused by an accident in the workplace or their working conditions. It is there to help employees heal from their ordeal, physically and emotionally. 

If you are unsure about whether your work-related injuries are eligible for workers' compensation, here are some of the most common workers' compensation claims:

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Aurora workers compensation attorneysFor the average adult, one-third of your life is spent at work. Your workplace is a familiar space and, especially for traditionally non-hazardous spaces like an office, it may be hard to believe when a serious accident occurs. No matter who is at fault for the accident, you have rights as an employee to submit a claim for any pain and suffering sustained while at work. Suffering an injury at work is a scary and unsure time. Here are a collection of frequently asked questions in regards to workers compensation in Illinois.

What Is Workers Compensation?

According to the Illinois Handbook On Workers Compensation And Occupational Diseases, workers compensation is defined as a system, for most employees, to receive benefits by law after a workplace injury or disease developed from an occupational hazard.

What Should I Do After An Accident?

Ideally, you should tell your employer right away after an injury at work, but you can wait up to 45 days to report the incident without a delay of benefits. In the notice to your employer about your accident, you should include the day and place of the incident. If you are unable to work three days after the accident, your employer should begin paying Temporary Total Disability within 14 days or have a written explanation of why benefits are being withheld.

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Illinois workers compensation lawyersWorking in the construction industry is nothing like a 9:00 am to 5:00 pm office job. It is one of the most dangerous industries to work in. According to the United States Department of Labor, for every five workplace deaths, one is a construction worker. Aside from working at potentially dangerous heights, construction workers also deal with harsh chemicals and powerful equipment that can be deadly when used improperly.

Workers Compensation in Illinois

When an accident happens on a construction site in Illinois, the law says the victim can only file a workers compensation claim, but not a personal injury claim, against the employer. Third parties, however, can be held accountable for a personal injury claim.

Despite the dangerous conditions of construction work, accidents can be prevented. It is the responsibility of a construction company to keep employees safe to the best of their ability. Here are some ways to build safety in the construction community:

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Aurora workers compensation benefit lawyersGetting injured at work can be a scary experience. Not only are you suffering a physical injury, but you are also probably worried about how you will pay your bills if you cannot work. Thankfully, all employers are required to have what is called workers’ compensation insurance, which is insurance designed to help workers who are injured on the job. In Illinois, workers’ compensation is required to provide three types of benefits to injured workers: medical benefits, disability benefits, and death benefits. These different types of benefits can greatly help employees and their families if an accident does happen. 

Medical Benefits

The first and most basic benefit that is provided by workers’ compensation is medical benefits. If you are injured while you are at work, your employer is required to pay for all of the medical expenses relating to your injury. Expenses that are covered can include:

  • First aid;
  • Emergency care, such as ER costs and ambulance rides;
  • Doctor visits;
  • Hospital care;
  • Surgery;
  • Physical therapy;
  • Chiropractic treatment;
  • Prosthetics;
  • Prescription medications; and
  • Medical appliances.

If your injury results in a permanent disability, the cost of devices, such as a wheelchair or wheelchair ramp, may be covered as well.

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Kane County work injury attorneyYou go to work every day having some degree of expectation for what your day will be like. But nobody knows when an accident will happen--that is why they are called accidents. Thankfully, the United States has a system in place to help those who have been injured on the job. The workers' compensation program allows injured workers to receive compensation for lost wages, have their medical bills relating to the accident paid, and receive disability pay if the accident results in temporary or permanent loss of earning capacity. In order to receive these benefits, you must follow guidelines to have your case submitted and approved. Knowing what steps to take after a workplace accident is crucial to getting benefits that are owed to you.

1. Get Medical Attention

This may seem obvious, but the way you go about getting treated for your workplace injuries can impact how your case is handled. Often, employers will have what is called a Preferred Provider Program (PPP) in which there is a network of approved medical providers that you can see. Within your employer’s PPP, you have the choice of two physicians. If your employer does not have a PPP, you have the choice of any two providers. If you decline to use providers in the employer’s PPP, you use one of your choices, and you can choose to go to any doctor or hospital, but any further change of providers must be approved by your employer.

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Aurora, IL work injury lawyer hazardous industriesWork-related injuries can be preventable with proper precautions and safety measures, but unfortunately, they are not uncommon--accidents do happen. In the state of Illinois, an estimated 137,500 non-fatal workplace injuries were recorded in 2016 for all industries. Certain industries tend to be more dangerous than others, but understanding which industries carry the most dangers can help you take precautions.

1. Educational and Health Services

Though it may surprise some people, the educational and health services industry has the largest number of workplace injuries in Illinois. An estimated 24,300 injuries were reported in the industry in 2016. This industry includes educational institutions like schools, universities, educational support services, hospitals, and nursing facilities. Most of the injuries reported in this industry were falls, trips, and overexertion.

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Kane County construction accident attorney workers' compensation wrongful deathConstruction workers often face dangers as part of their everyday jobs, due to the heavy materials and complex machinery they use. However, while injuries at a construction site can come from a variety of sources, the most common types of construction accidents involve a fall on a worker’s same level or to a lower level. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 991 fatalities from construction accidents in 2016, and 370 of these deaths were from falls. Fatal falls occur in a wide variety of situations, including from ladders, roofs, scaffolding, and stationary vehicles or equipment. These falls can happen for a variety of reasons, including faulty equipment, failure to follow safety procedures or use proper safety equipment, inadequate training, slippery or unstable surfaces, or unprotected holes or edges.

Workers’ Compensation for Construction Accidents

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Aurora workers' compensation partial disability benefits attorneyWork is an essential part of a person’s life, allowing them to earn an income and provide for their family. When someone is injured at work, they have the right to receive workers’ compensation to pay for their medical bills and provide for their needs when they are unable to earn an income during their recovery. If an employee’s inability to work is expected to only last for a short time, they may be eligible for either temporary partial disability (TPD) or temporary total disability (TTD), and it is important to understand what is provided in these forms of compensation.

What is Temporary Partial Disability?

If an employee’s injury has resulted in an inability to fully perform their duties, they may only be able to work on a part-time basis or perform lighter duties while they are recovering, and this may result in a reduction in their pay. During this time, the employee can receive temporary partial disability benefits of two-thirds (66 2/3%) of the difference between their normal pay and the reduced pay.

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Naperville workers' compensation benefits attorneyWorkplace injuries can be devastating to your life and your finances, impacting not only your health and well-being, but your ability to earn an income and provide for your family. For employees who are injured while on the job, workers’ compensation benefits allow them to obtain financial relief due to the situation and/or injury. There are three types of workers’ comp benefits: 

  1. Disability benefits: These benefits replace the wages an injured employee loses due to their inability to work. The injury the employee has must be work-related. Disabilities fall into four groups: 
    • Permanent Total Disability (PTD): If an employee has this type of disability, that means they are unable to earn income in the future from the type of job he or she held when they received the injury. Employees with a permanent disability are eligible to receive lifetime disability payments.
    • Permanent Partial Disability (PPD): This type of disability partly hinders the employee’s ability to earn income. Examples include the loss of a finger or hearing loss. In these cases, an employee will typically receive an award based on the body part that was injured and the percentage of impairment.
    • Temporary Partial Disability (TPD): Also referred to as short-term disability, this type of disability benefit is for employees who are partially and temporarily disabled by the work-related injury. Benefits in these cases are typically available while the employee is recovering from their injury.
    • Temporary Total Disability (TTD): The employee cannot work at all for a short amount of time due to his or her work-related injury. In these cases, an Illinois employee will receive two-thirds of their average weekly wage until they are able to return to work.
  2. Medical benefits: Medical benefits often have no deductible and are unlimited. Payments are made until the injured individual is provided with the maximum amount of relief or is cured completely. The medical bills are sent to the workers’ compensation carrier. In Illinois, employees can use a doctor from their employer’s Preferred Provider Program (PPP), or they may choose one other doctor. If their employer does not have a PPP, they may choose up to two doctors.
  3. Death benefits: If an employee passes away because of a work-related injury, death benefits are paid to the employee’s dependents. In Illinois, these benefits are two-thirds of the employee’s average weekly wage, paid until the death of a surviving spouse or until dependent children reach the age of 18, whichever comes later. Funeral and burial costs up to $8,000 are also covered by death benefits in Illinois. 

Contact a Kane County Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

If you were injured while on the job, or if you are unable to work due to a work-related illness but your employer is withholding benefits or wages from you, contact our firm today. Our attorneys will assess your situation and help obtain the best resolution for you and your family. We understand what workers and their families go through when they are unable to work due to an injury or illness, and we will aggressively fight for you to receive the benefits you deserve. Contact an Aurora workers’ comp attorney at 630-907-0909 to schedule a free consultation.

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Aurora workers compensation lawyersWhen you suffer an injury in the course of performing your job, you are usually eligible to collect benefits under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation System. Workers’ comp benefits typically cover medical costs, lost wages, and other expenses that you may have incurred as the result of your injury. But, getting hurt at work is not necessarily the same as getting hurt in course of performing your job, as an Illinois appeals court recently determined.

Injured During Lunch

The case arose out of a 2012 injury sustained by a woman who worked at a DuPage County high school. The woman fell as she was leaving the building to go home for lunch, slipping on wet pavement on a handicap ramp. According to court documents, the woman stumbled, struggled to regain her balance, then fell forward “face first onto the pavement.” She was subsequently diagnosed with a broken nose, post-concussive syndrome, and injuries to her shoulder and hip.

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Aurora workers' compensation lawyersIn workplaces across the country, employees utilize a wide variety of chemicals and other substances in the course of doing their jobs. While some chemicals are relatively safe, others present serious dangers, including the possibility of chemical burns. If you have suffered a chemical burn on the job, it is important to seek treatment right away and to know your rights regarding workers’ compensation.

Hazardous Chemicals

A chemical that can cause serious burns is typically a strong acid or base. Some of these substances can be found in the average home, such as drain cleaners, chlorine bleach, and ammonia. In an industrial setting, however, there are countless types of chemicals that may be used for a wide variety of applications, including many highly concentrated acids and alkaline solutions.

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Aurora workers compensation lawyersIn 2016, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed a lawsuit against an Arizona pharmaceutical company for deceptive marketing of a particular opioid drug. The suit alleged that the company intentionally sold the fentanyl-based drug to doctors emphasizing off-label uses.

Opioid prescriptions are believed by many to be driving the nation’s opioid abuse epidemic. In Illinois, specifically, there is also concern about doctors repackaging and selling opioid medications to patients with workers’ compensation claims.

A Settlement Could Be Forthcoming

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Kane County workers compensation lawyers Workers’ compensation reform has been a hot topic over the past few decades, with many states deciding that lowering employer costs for insurance coverage will help encourage new job growth within state lines. The logic of many policymakers maintains that by cutting costs for employers and increasing their margins, the profits will trickle down to the employees in terms of job creation and higher wages.

However, the truth of the matter is that workers’ compensation reform only hurts employees and the local economy. It makes it more difficult for injured employees to receive the benefits they need and reduces the benefits available to each worker. Injured employees may be in danger of being evicted from their homes and being denied the medical coverage they deserve because of some these reforms, which are currently being pushed by Illinois lawmakers. If you have been denied workers’ compensation benefits, contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney at once for professional assistance with your case.

Lobby Groups Intent on Cutting Workers’ Compensation Benefits

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Kane County workers compensation attorneysCoal mining is an inherently dangerous job. However, recent safety measures of the last few decades have made the occupation leaps and bounds more safe and sustainable for Illinois coal miners. In 1972, for example, 114 miners died in a single disaster in Saunders, West Virginia, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). On a longer-term scale, the Mines Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) began tracking mining fatalities in 1978. The peak year for fatalities was 1979, a tragic year with well over 250 deaths.

Fatalities declined during the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s, with just 45 fatalities in 2014. The improvements have come from strong enforcement of safety rules and regulations, better equipment and increased training, education, and technical support. However, there is still a long way to go before coal mining is considered safe and the number of fatal injuries reaches zero. If you have been injured working in the coal industry, contact an attorney for assistance in recovering workers’ compensation benefits

Fatal Coal Dust Levels Fall in Line with New Standards Set by the MSHA

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Aurora workers compensation attorneysEach year, approximately three million workers in the United States suffer from a work injury or illness. Some suffer only minor injuries and are eventually able to return to work. Others experience more severe injuries, such as head injuries or spinal injuries, which may leave them unable to work for an extended amount of time. The most serious may experience catastrophic injuries, permanent disability, and even death. Yet all have one thing in common: it is critical that each one knows how to effectively protect their rights.

The Importance of Timely Reporting

Work injuries should always be reported to your employer immediately after the injury occurs or as soon as is practical. At maximum, the injury should be reported within 45 days. If the possible injury involves exposure to radiation, the maximum time of reporting is 90 days after exposure. Any delays that extend beyond these constraints can become highly problematic and could potentially result in a denial of your claim or delay of benefits. Do not take any chances; report your injury immediately.

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Kane County workers compensation lawyerOver the years, many states have become safer for workers. Safety standards have increased, exposure to toxic and cancer-causing materials has decreased, and better worker education have resulted in fewer severe injuries and fatalities. In fact, the country as a whole, including Illinois, has come a long way from past decades. However, Illinois has been slipping as of late. According to the Insurance Journal, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has reported a 28 percent increase in worker fatalities since 2013. In 2016, alone, at least 36 Illinois workers were killed on the job. If you were injured while working or a family member lost their life in a work-related accident or resulting illness, contact a skilled attorney today for immediate assistance.

Struck-by Hazards and Falls

Those at considerable risk of fatal injury are construction workers. Being struck by an object or falling are the two largest hazards for construction workers. According to the Center for Construction Research and Training, falls accounted for 33.3 percent of construction worker fatalities and being hit by an object accounted for 17.6 percent of fatalities. Transportation accounted for 26 percent, while “exposure” accounted for 15.7 percent. Exposure fatalities include death by electrocution, air pressure changes, caustic and noxious substances, and temperature extremes.

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Kane County workers' compensation lawyerWhen you have been hurt on the job, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance coverage should be available to offer you the benefits you need to recover quickly and get back to work. A work-related injury can be painful, of course, but it should not leave you struggling financially. It should be relatively easy to obtain coverage for medical treatment, rehabilitation, and even lost wages while you heal. According to Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, however, it may be too easy to get workers’ compensation benefits, and he wants something done to fix the problem.

Coverage for a Workplace Injury

The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act provides that any injury that arises out of and in the course of the injured party’s employment is intended to be compensable under the law. It is up to the injured employee to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that his or her injuries were related to employment. As far back as 2012—before Governor Rauner was even elected—state officials observed that courts in Illinois, as well as the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission (IWCC), have traditionally used very broad interpretations of the law to allow injured parties to collect benefits.

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Kane County workers' compensation lawyerWhen a person is injured on the job, he or she should not return to work until he or she has recovered enough to do so. In some cases, such healing may only take a few days, while, in others, physical recovery may require weeks, months, or even years. According to Illinois law, injured employees who miss time at work are eligible to collect temporary disability as part of a workers’ compensation benefits package. Recent studies suggest, however, that injured workers in Illinois miss about 50 percent more work, on average, than injured workers in Indiana, Iowa, and Wisconsin.

Wide Disparity

The average length of a temporary disability claim in Illinois is 18.4 weeks, according to the 2015 annual report issued by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. By comparison, injured workers in Indiana missed an average of 10.5 weeks, 10.9 weeks in Wisconsin, and 11.6 weeks in Iowa. In Michigan, an average claim for temporary disability lasted approximately 15.7 weeks, the second-highest in the region. Some of the disparity in the amount time missed can be attributed to types of work found in each state. The balance of manufacturing, office, farming, service industry, and public sector jobs can all have an impact on the types and severity of sustained injuries.

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Aurora workers compensation attorneysWhen you have been injured on the job, your first source of relief—after addressing your physical injuries—is usually provided by benefits offered through workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation benefits typically offer coverage for medical expenses, temporary or permanent disability, and some recompense for lost wages. Because the law in Illinois requires employers to provide workers’ compensation for their employees, many workers simply take the system for granted. They give little thought to the reality that workers’ compensation is a type of insurance policy that the employer must purchase at the expense of the company.

High Expenses, Even for Safe Workers

In recent years, the growing costs of purchasing workers’ compensation in Illinois has led many business owners to question the sustainability of the current system. The neighboring states of Missouri and Indiana manage to offer comprehensive workers’ compensation benefits with a significantly lower price tag. One business leader, whose company offers trucking services, said that if he moved his 17 trucking jobs to Missouri, his company could save more than $25,000 annually, just on workers’ compensation costs. He could reportedly save $66,000 on the insurance by moving to Indiana. “We’re just a victim of a high-priced system,” the company president said.

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