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.

Author: | Filed under: Lake County personal injury attorney, Lake County personal injury lawyer, Medical Care, Personal Injury, Workers Compensation | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

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.

Author: | Filed under: Construction Safety, Lake County personal injury attorney, Lake County personal injury lawyer, Personal Injury, Uncategorized, Workers Compensation | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

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.

 

Author: | Filed under: Lake County personal injury attorney, Lake County personal injury lawyer, Workers Compensation | Tags: , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

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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Garage Door Tech Receives Settlement after Almost Three Years

Posted: October 28th, 2012

The Professional Door Dealer reports that an Elmhurst worker was finally able to settle his lawsuit against the city after almost three years. Joshua Jaeger, age 26 at the time, was providing a service estimate for Elmhurst Public Works. It was reported that an employee used a forklift to position Jaeger to see the broken spring that needed to be fixed. When Jaeger stepped over to measure the spring, the platform broke, and he plummeted 16 feet down onto the concrete floor. From this fall, he sustained a fractured femur as well as an injury to his back. Jaeger was employed by his family’s company.

Jaeger received a record settlement for his injuries. The Jury Verdict Reporter reported that this award is a record high in DuPage County for a personal injury lawsuit involving an individual that was not medical in nature. He was awarded $1.86 million for losing the ability to earn as much money as he had been making, $1.3 million for the pain and suffering that the injury caused and $1 million was awarded for the fact that he will be in chronic pain for the rest of his life. The total award was just over $4 million. Jaeger is still able to work with his family business, but only in a sedentary position. He cannot climb ladders nor can he lift anything over 70 pounds.

Sustaining any type of injury because of an accident on the job can be stressful. The physical pain, the surmounting medical bills and the inability to earn an income makes it even harder. If you have been injured on the job, it is your right to have a solid, experienced and aggressive Illinois personal injury lawyer there on the job to represent your interests and make sure that you get the settlement that you deserve.

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Work Injuries Caused by Third Party Negligence

Posted: July 11th, 2012

An employee injured at work in Illinois is not required to prove negligence on the part of his/her employer,or other party,to be entitled to receive benefits under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. However, it is quite common for an individual to sustain an injury on the job due to the negligence of a third party. In such cases, an employee can pursue both a claim for benefits under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act as well as a negligence (or common law) claim against the at-fault third party.

Common examples of work injuries resulting from third-party negligence include construction workers who sustain an injury on a job site where other contractors/subcontractors are working as well as those individuals involved in motor vehicle collisions while working. In these situations, the injured employee is entitled to pursue a workers’ compensation claim (against the employer/workers’ compensation insurance carrier) as well as a claim for negligence (against the at-fault third party).

The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act provides the employer and/or it’s insurance carrier with a lien against any recovery made by the injured employee against the at-fault third party. The lien allows the workers’ compensation insurance carrier to be reimbursed 75% of all benefits that were paid as part of the workers’ compensation claim. Often times, the employees’ permanency claim is left open pending resolution of the third-party claim. When the third-party claim is resolved, a negotiation with the workers’ compensation insurance carrier can result in a total or partial waiver of the lien and, therefore, a greater benefit for the injured worker.

If you have been injured at work as a result of the negligence of a third party, or have questions regarding what benefits you may be entitled to, please contact Noonan Perillo  Ltd. at (847) 244-0111 to discuss your claim.

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Recent Changes To The Illinois Workers Compensation Act

Posted: April 24th, 2012

The Illinois Legislature recently amended the Illinois Workers Compensation Act. The majority of the changes to the Act became effective as of September 1, 2011, and apply to any work accidents that occur after that date. Three specific changes to the Act will directly affect an injured workers’ permanency benefit.

First, Illinois will now utilize AMA guidelines as one of several factors used to determine the value of permanent partial disability. The guidelines will define, among other things, loss of range of motion, loss of strength and any other measurable information that may assist in determination of the nature and extent of the disability. In addition to the AMA guidelines, the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission will consider the injured employees’ occupation, age at the time of injury and future earning capacity in determining permanency.

The second change affecting permanency applies to all individuals with hand injuries and, in particular, those claiming carpel tunnel syndrome. Section 8(e)(9) of the Act has been amended to reduce the maximum number of weeks for a hand injury to 190 (from 205). Additionally, a permanency claim based on carpal tunnel syndrome will be capped at 15% loss of use of the hand (28.5 weeks). If the employee can show additional disability by “clear and convincing evidence” the employee can receive up to 30% loss of use of the hand (57 weeks).

Finally, an employee who has permanent restrictions as a result of the work injury and is unable to return to their prior employment will only be entitled to wage differential benefits until age 67, or five years from the date of the award, whichever is longer. This represents a significant change in the Act as the law previously allowed the injured employee to collect wage differential benefits for life.

If you have questions regarding the recent changes to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act or any aspect of your workers’ compensation claim please feel free to contact the attorneys at Noonan Perillo Ltd., at (847) 244-0111.

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