When is An Employee Eligible for Workers’ Compensation?

Posted: December 10th, 2014

 eligible for workers' compensation, injured on the job, Lake County personal injury attorneys, Noonan Perillo Ltd., work-related accidents, workers' compensationOne of the benefits of employment is the reassurance that if you are injured on the job, you will be entitled to monetary benefits to help cover the costs of treatment. What is not always clear cut, however, is exactly under what circumstances you may be eligible.

The defining term in the state legislation covers injuries sustained in “the course of employment.” What does this mean in a practical sense? It is an issue toyed over in courts all over the country.

Each year in Illinois, approximately 200,000 work-related accidents occur. Having an experienced personal injury attorney representing you is your best opportunity to make a case for compensation for an on-the-job injury. The intricacies of establishing whether or not an employee is eligible for workers’ compensation can be daunting, but the attorneys at Noonan Perillo Ltd. have extensive experience litigating workers’ compensation claims in Lake County, and understand the potential complexities involved.

Work Related or Personal Errands?

An employee who operate heavy duty machinery and suffers injuries on the job has a fairly obvious workers’ compensation case. Additionally, when an employee carries out his or her sanctioned duties, and safety precautions are in place but he or she still experiences a finger, hand, or eye injury for example, the employee would likely qualify for benefits to aid in their recovery.

The ambit of benefits can cover short term or permanent disability, partial and total limb loss, vision impairment, rehabilitation costs and more.

But, what if an employee is injured indirectly through the course of his or her employment?

Consider the following examples, some of which are proffered by the International Risk Management Institute.

  • A teacher suffers a jaw injury playing basketball in a faculty evening social game on school premises;
  • A police officer is shot at home while cleaning his approved weapon;
  • An employee is injured on his or her day off when picking up their paycheck;
  • A financial analyst suffers a heart attack at home and claims a highly stressful job as the cause;
  • An employee slips and falls on the roadway after leaving work; or
  • An employee is killed in a car collision while servicing vending machines in the area.

Not only does the concept of “within the course of employment” come into play, but the notion of whether an employee was injured while furthering the business interests of the employer also comes into play.

In addition to this, courts have to consider if an activity was open to “voluntary” participation by employees or activities contrary to business duties, horseplay, or any other situation not within the scope of employment. These instances could negate any employer responsibility.

The distinctions between a work function and personal business is key. Obviously, the burden of proof to establish a causal connection is important. If a court does not find a reasonable, direct link by way of medical expert testimony—for example, an employee’s chronic ailment which is exacerbated by a work-related scenario—it may not be grounds for compensation.

Similarly, if a court deems that evidence does not support a claim, benefits will be denied. The same is for any case where an employee is injured but cannot prove it occurred while acting under the direction of his or her employer.

With this in mind, if you have been injured at work, please contact an attorney with the depth of knowledge to assess your specific situation to fully understand your rights. There is a very small window of time available for you to report your injury to authorities to initiate the claim process. Hence, it is crucial to have an attorney representing you who is honest and fair about the merits of your case. If it is deemed you have a viable case, the Lake County personal injury attorneys at Noonan Perillo Ltd. will show a professional commitment and dedication to your case to seek compensation. Call today to schedule a complimentary consultation in our Waukegan office.

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Workers’ Compensation: Third-Party Claims

Posted: November 18th, 2014

Lake County personal injury attorney, Noonan Perillo Ltd., personal injury claim, third-party claims, workers' compensationIn the State of Illinois, workers’ compensation allows employees to receive compensation and benefits if injured on the job. There are no requirement to prove fault. Additionally, an injury may have occurred simply as a result of an inherent risk of the job description. When digging deeper into the cause of an accident, what happens when an employee is seriously injured due to a defective piece of equipment, or because of another’s negligence associated with the employee’s daily duties?

A worker may be able to file a personal injury claim for damages against a third party. However, to ensure you have a valid case, retaining a knowledgeable attorney well versed in civil litigation, is advisable.

Reaching beyond An Immediate Employer

In the event of an injury or even death on the job, Illinois has comprehensive workers’ compensation legislation that provides for monetary benefits for workers. These benefits can cover the costs associated with permanent “partial” or “total“ disability and even death. These payments may be paid weekly, or paid as a lump sum depending on the disability. Death benefits are paid for 25 years or $500,000, whichever is greater.

If, however, a workplace injury was caused by a defective product or machine, or by someone who is not a co-worker, they are deemed to be a “third party” and can be asked to pay for the injured worker’s medical expenses. This is as long as an employee can prove that the negligence of the third party contributed to the injury.

Nearly three million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses were reported by private industry employers in 2012. In Illinois, there were 172 workplace fatalities in 2013 alone. The highest incidence occurring in the transportation sector.

Several common examples why an employee may be able to file a claim against someone other than his or her direct employer include the following:

  • Construction Sites: Construction workers face a number of risky situations in their daily tasks. But, compounding that, is the substandard implementation of safety standards which creates a dangerous situation for a workers. Typical injuries include electrocution and falls from scaffolding. In these cases, the employee could bring a personal injury claim against general contractors, site supervisors, project managers or property owners.
  • Delivery/Shipping/Transportation: Often, drivers are injured on the road by another vehicle. These victims can suffer head and neck injuries and even serious internal injuries. The offending driver of the car that hit the worker (if not an employee of the worker’s company) could be subject to a claim for his or her negligent driving.
  • Manufacturing: Many employees are injured while working on a production line while using a piece of machinery, such as a power press, band saw or milling device.The manufacturer of a defective product that injures a worker could be held liable for catastrophic injuries such as compressions and crushing that lead to limb loss and vision impairment.
  • Slips, Trips and Falls: According to the National Floor Safety Institute, 22 percent of slip and fall incidents resulted in more than 31 days away from work. A fall resulting in serious injuries, including broken bones and head and spinal injuries that was neither the employer, employee, or co-worker’s fault, can be a basis for a claim against a third party. For example, another contractor on the job site may be found to have contributed to the injuries sustained.
  • Work Related Site Visits: A property owner who fails to properly maintain a safe workplace environment or an owner of an animal that bites a worker may also find themselves on the opposing side of a personal injury claim.

Contact an Experienced Lake County Personal Injury Attorney

The potential for “shared responsibility” in a workplace injury is an essential part of an employee’s recovery. Hence, it takes the legal assistance of a Lake County personal injury attorney, with the depth of knowledge, to determine if you have a case in Illinois. The team at Noonan Perillo Ltd. has a large practice area focused on workers’ compensation. We have attorneys who each have nearly 30 years of trial law experience. We understand the anguish that is suffered by workers and their families when someone is seriously hurt on the job. We also understand the types of medical costs associated with care and recovery. Our attorneys can evaluate if you have a claim for workers’ compensation AND a strong personal injury claim against a third party. Often the latter can potentially be a source of a large monetary settlement. Call our Lake County office for a complimentary consultation today.

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Workplace Fatality is Still Commonplace

Posted: September 17th, 2014

Waukegan personal injury attorney, workplace fatality, worker fatalities, workplace injury, injury compensation, workers compensation, slip and fall, tragic accident, Illinois personal injury attorneyWorking hard to provide for a family or to have the ability to enjoy lifestyle choices is an advantage of employment. Certain benefits may come with a job, including health insurance, but in some instances there may also be risks. Although the incidence of death and injury occurs less often than in years past, on average, twelve workers are killed every day on the job. In fact, some of the injuries can be catastrophic and can impair workers for long periods of time. If you have lost a loved one or have been injured at work, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.

Location

The types of injuries workers can suffer depends on the nature of work. Different locales present different scenarios which can lead to death or serious harm to employees.

Industry sectors in which workers can be at risk include:

  • Factories and warehouses where there is heavy machinery and vehicles;
  • Construction sites;
  • Employees who drive for work;
  • Retail establishments; and
  • Offices.

According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics latest numbers, transportation/warehousing, and the forestry, fishing, and agricultural industries had the highest rate of fatal injuries in 2012. Illinois reported 146 fatalities in 2012 alone, and 19 percent occurred in the transportation sector.

Roadway accidents, falls, and impacts from an object or equipment were common reasons that led to fatal occupational injuries. Some of the most horrific injuries, such as the loss of limbs or death, are sustained from use of heavy machinery where workers are crushed or struck. Slips and falls also commonly result in death or can cause serious head, neck and spinal injuries. Disturbingly, electrocution, asphyxiation and severe burns have also been reported this year by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration as reasons for worker fatalities.

Workers Compensation

When a workplace fatality or serious injury occurs in Illinois, there are legal remedies available pending the circumstances. The Illinois Workers Compensation Act provides benefits to injured workers or to a spouse in the event of a workplace fatality. In Illinois, recipients of the death benefit receive payments for 25 years or $500,000.00, whichever is greater. Recipients are eligible for cost of living adjustments. However, the circumstances surrounding the accident must first be fully investigated to ensure there was no horseplay or illegal activity which played a role in the accident.

The loss of a loved one in an unnecessary and tragic manner is devastating. There are, however, procedural and documentation requirements for filing a claim. The compassionate team at Noonan Perillo Ltd. can help you seek the justice and compensation you deserve. Seek the expertise of a Waukegan personal injury attorney who can advise you on the precise details to begin a case. Call today.

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Construction Site Accidents: A Two-Pronged Approach to Seeking Catastrophic Injury Compensation

Posted: May 6th, 2014

Under ConstructionIn today’s world, many states are facing increased urbanization and ongoing infrastructure upgrades. This need continues to buoy the building industry and construction sites have become a part of everyday day life. These sites often have significant areas where excavation work is being carried out. Workers digging in trenches beneath ground level, face potential trenching hazards. These workers risk electrocution from underground power lines, toxic fumes from gas leaks, injury from machinery, and most significantly, a potentially fatal “cave-in,” from surrounding soil collapsing around them. Excavation fatalities occur at a far higher rate than those from general construction work.

In the event of catastrophic injuries suffered in an excavation, it is imperative that you immediately contact a personal injury attorney at Noonan Perillo Ltd. An experienced attorney will explore all avenues to establish what compensation may be due to you or your family.

Workers’ Compensation

The first area to consider is employee rights under workers’ compensation provisions. Employees injured while at work in the State of Illinois are covered by the Workers’ Compensation Act. The Act authorizes the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission (IWCC) to require employers to pay benefits to workers or their family.  Benefits are based on the severity of the injuries—no matter who is at fault. This financial aid can provide for:

  • Medical costs;
  • Disability allowances;
  • Rehabilitative assistance if the employee cannot return to the same job; or,
  • In the case of death, a survivors benefit.

Safety Violations

Sometimes companies run the risk of by-passing safety protocols for trench workers, in the interests of project deadlines or to avoid additional expense. A second area an attorney may be able to investigate reaches beyond the immediate employer to others involved in the project, such as project managers or engineers. They may also be liable for failing to provide information and tools that could have prevented a trenching injury.

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), in accordance with U.S. Labor Laws mandated in the State of Illinois, recently cited an excavation company for violating the necessary safeguards for their trench workers.  OSHA fined the company for:

  • Failing to provide cave-in protection for workers;
  • Failing to provide a ladder for quick escape in the event of a collapse;
  • Not providing the necessary support at the curb to prevent an inward collapse; and
  • Not providing workers with “high visibility” vests, so traffic nearby was aware of their presence.

OSHA quoted in that case, 30 deaths had occurred nationwide in 2013 as a result of trenching hazards.

If you have been a victim of an excavation accident and suffered serious injuries, or your family member died from catastrophic injuries from a trenching hazard in the State of Illinois, is it vital that you seek the advice of experienced Illinois personal injury attorneys, who can fight to ensure a fair future for you and your family.

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When Workers’ Compensation is Not Enough: Second Medical Opinions

Posted: February 28th, 2014

second medical opinionYou have spent several months recuperating from a work-related accident. It has been rough physically, mentally and financially. You are healing, but cannot imagine returning to work at this stage of your recovery. So what happens when your employer’s workers’ compensation physician disagrees and releases you back to work?

You exercise your right to seek a second medical opinion. Currently the way states dictate medical services for workers’ compensation is split right down the middle. Fifty percent of states allow the employer’s insurance carrier to determine which physician will conduct the evaluation while the other 50 percent of states allow the employee to seek an independent medical examination, treatment and documentation with regard to any work-related injury.

In most cases, the request for a second medical opinion simultaneously protects both the employee and the employer. You as the employee want nothing more than to return to your position and your employer would benefit from a second medical opinion to ensure no further damage is inflicted if you are being forced back to work too quickly.

 Discuss your options with your employer. If the physician of choice has expertise in your type of injury, your employer should accept the fair and unbiased report, but if the employer does not know the physician, they may seek approval via their insurance claims adjustor. This may be where your problems escalate. You need to remember that the company’s insurance provider is signing your temporary disability checks. If your employer and the insurance provider choose to dismiss the second opinion and have declined further issuance of your temporary disability payments, it would be in your best interest to contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney and move forward with filing a formal complaint.

For those residing in Illinois, the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission Handbook on Workers’ Compensation and Occupational Diseases cites that an attorney is not required to file a complaint but it is often the best line of defense so you can concentrate on what is most important, your recovery. Your injury and recovery are unique but your situation is common when it comes to employers and their insurance carriers either refusing to pay medical expenses or completely suspend temporary disability payments due to disagreements over your ability to return to work.

The experienced legal team of Noonan Perillo Ltd. will work vigorously to represent your interests. To discuss your circumstances, contact us to schedule your free consultation today.

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Second Death at 49ers Stadium Location Raises Concern over Construction Safety

Posted: October 29th, 2013

The $1.2 billion new San Francisco 49ers stadium has had two deaths on the construction site after a driver was killed on October 14th. The delivery driver was crushed by a rebar bundle as the bundle was being unloaded from his truck, and he passed away from his injuries at a local hospital. In June, 63 year old Donald White, an elevator mechanic, was killed when a counterweight struck him while working in an elevator shaft. These examples highlight the potential risk of dangerous construction site accidents.

 construction safetyFollowing the first death earlier this year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced the launch of an investigation into the death. OSHA announced that their investigation after the second incident would remain ongoing, although they deemed the worksite to be safe enough to open again the day after the delivery driver passed away. OSHA commented that their investigation could take several months.

OSHA estimates that more than 130 million U.S. employees fall under the construction category, completing projects on more than 8 million worksites across the country. The federal agency, responsible for promoting safety and inspecting worksites, employs about 2,200 inspectors, meaning that approximately one compliance officer is assigned to every 59,000 construction site employees. Agency statistics point out that there are nearly 13 deaths on construction sites around the nation on a daily basis. Fatal accidents with contracted employees make up around 12 percent of all fatal work injuries. The most common reasons for fatalities on construction sites were falls, being struck by an object, getting electrocuted, and getting caught in between something.

Workers’ compensation is not the only recourse you may have if you were injured on a construction site. You may be able to get compensation from all responsible parties at an unsafe work site. Contact an Illinois construction site accident attorney today for more information.

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Big Payout over Chicago Construction Accident

Posted: September 20th, 2013

CharlieSeptember 2, 2013 – A federal judge said the American Motorists Insurance Co. must pay $3.1 million to National Union Fire Insurance Co. of Pittsburgh, Pa., and the owner of Chicago’s John Hancock Center to help cover settlement costs from a deadly construction accident at the building. In a tragic 2002 accident at the landmark skyscraper in downtown Chicago, powerful winds sent a scaffold plunging from the building’s 42nd floor, killing three people in cars and seriously injuring others on the street below.

National Union covered an $8.7 million settlement of tort lawsuits against the Shorenstein companies — the John Hancock building’s owner and manager — but the insurer argued that AMICO should have stepped in and provided coverage instead. In an earlier ruling, the Seventh Circuit rejected AMICO’s claim that a professional services exclusion blocked coverage for the Shorenstein companies under a policy AMICO issued to an architect working on the John Hancock renovation project.

“The services that … the architect on the project rendered were professional services. But the Shorenstein defendants did not render professional services,” its decision said. “The policy states that the insurance it provides applies ‘separately to each insured against whose claim is made or “suit” is brought.’”

The federal appeals court also shot down AMICO’s claim that Shorenstein violated the targeted tender doctrine, which allows a policyholder to pick one insurer to seek indemnity from and leave the other insurers alone.

According to the ruling, it was reasonable for Shorenstein to turn to National Union after AMICO refused to cover the underlying suits. Shorenstein had not renounced its claim to AMICO, its preferred insurer, and only pursued a prudent backup measure, the Seventh Circuit said.

What This Means for You?

If you have been injured on the job, workers’ compensation may not be your only recourse. Contact a knowledgeable northern Illinois personal injury attorney who can help you wade through the technicalities and ensure you the best possible compensation to which you are entitled.

 

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Three Workers Injured on the Job in Cary

Posted: May 6th, 2013

NPPlaw personal injury LeeviThree people were injured in a fire on March 6 at a paint manufacturing warehouse in northwest suburban Cary, according to a recent story in the Chicago Tribune. Police and firefighters arrived to the scene after reports of explosions and a fire. The firefighters extinguished the fire promptly. However, three workers were injured and had to be taken to local hospitals to be treated. Their injuries were not life-threatening, according to police.

Part of the warehouse was destroyed in the two explosions. The front of the building blew off and a small opening was created in the back. A hazardous materials team and a foam-dispensing unit were dispatched to the warehouse. Jim Hursh, an owner of a crane rental business near the warehouse, said “there was … major smoke coming out of the building.” After the second explosion, he saw a man with burns on his face.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration will investigate the cause of the accident. Fire officials will also investigate what caused the explosions and the fire at the warehouse, police said.

If you or a family member has been injured at work, you are entitled to workers’ compensation. According to Illinois law, employers must compensate, for example, the payment of any medical expenses related to the injury, lost wages for the time the employee cannot work, and any long-term effects of an injury sustained at work.

It is in your best interests to contact a dedicated workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible after the injury. Don’t go through it alone. Contact a skilled workers’ comp attorney in Lake County, Illinois today.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Supreme Court Rules with Illinois Central in Asbestos Forum Case

Posted: January 9th, 2013

 The Illinois Supreme Court held Friday that a Mississippi man’s asbestos lawsuit should not be heard in St. Clair County.

The state high court said that, “factors strongly favor dismissal of a Mississippi forum,” in a 5-1 ruling with one justice not participating, reversed the lower courts’ decision that denied Illinois Central Railroad Co.’s forum non-convenience motion.

In 2009, Walter Fennell sued the railroad company, claiming that he developed respiratory problems after he was exposed to asbestos and other toxic substances throughout his career with Illinois Central. Fennell was one of 85 plaintiffs in a similar suit that was brought up and dismissed three years eaerelier in Mississippi.

By denying Illinois Central’s forum motion, St. Clair County Circuit Judge Lloyd Cueto notes that the location of certain evidence, the area’s interest in asbestos, and a relatively open trial docket, all made St. Clair County a convenient forum.

Justice Charles Freeman wrote for the court that, “Without belaboring the point, the circuit failed to recognize several private and public interest factors in analysis.”

The majority of the court was made up by Justices Lloyd Karmeier, Mary Jane Theis, Rita Garman, and Ann Burke. Justice Robert Thomas did not participate in the decision and Chief Justice Thomas Kilbride dissented.

Freeman also pointed to Gulf Oil Corp. v. Gilbert, writing that some of the private interest factors courts should consider in a forum analysis includes ease of access to evidence, convenience of the parties, the possibility of viewing the premises, and the availability to secure attendance of witnesses, along with others.

He also added that relevant public interest factors include “administrative difficulties caused when litigation is handles on congested venues instead of being handled in its origin; the unfairness of imposing jury duty of residents of a community with no connection to the litigation; and the interest in having local controversies decided locally.”

The Illinois Trial Lawyers Association encouraged against adopting a bright-line rule it its own brief to the court, adding that there is already a multi-factor test in place to analyze forum non-convenience.

If you find yourself injured at the fault of someone else, you will not want your case to turn into something as pain-stakingly drawn out as this case. Contact Noonan Perillo Ltd. attorneys for a quick result. These personal injury attorneys can help you get the result you want without all of the extra hassle.

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Chicago to Pay Over Six Million Dollars to Car Crash Victim

Posted: January 4th, 2013

 The city of Chicago has to pay $6.24 million to a victim of a car crash. Richard Chang suffered brain damage and permanent disability when a drunken city worker lost the control of his pickup truck and drove into a crowd on a Gold Coast sidewalk. Chang was pinned under the vehicle, and his wife was also injured in the crash. The driver of the truck, Dwight Washington, is serving a prison term after pleading guilty to four counts of aggravated DUI. The couple accused the city of Chicago of failing to supervise Washington well enough.

Chang, who is a computer scientist, can no longer return to work. It is likely that he will not achieve his previous level of independence because of the injuries to his brain. The treatment has cost Chang already almost $600,000.

Several other people were injured in the crash, and three more lawsuits are pending on behalf of four other victims. One of the victims was nanny Jennifer Anton. She was pushing a stroller with a baby girl when the drunken driver hit the crowd. She managed to get the baby out of harm’s way but was severely injured herself.

Washington’s blood-alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit, and an opened brandy bottle was found inside the vehicle.

Car accidents can result in devastating injuries and even fatalities. If you have been injured in a car accident that was caused by the negligence of the driver, you may be eligible for compensation. Contact a skilled car accident attorney in Lake County today.

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