The Chicago Tribune reports that three workers who were severely injured in a southern Illinois workplace accident have been awarded a $180 million settlement. The workers were badly burned in an April 2010 grain elevator explosion, and the federal jury in the Southern District of Illinois found that ConAgra Foods, the grain elevator owner, and a subcontractor were negligent. The three men arrived to clean out a grain bin that they were unaware was smoldering for days and exploded while they were removing their tools.
According to the Tribune, a chemical reaction ignited the grain pellets inside the silo, which sent a strange smell and smoke through the grain elevator complex for six weeks before the men arrived. Despite these warning signs and complaints from employees, managers never called the fire department to investigate and did not warn the three contractors before sending them into the silo to work. A plant supervisor was on the phone with the fire department just as the silo exploded on April 27.
The trial lasted for a month and the jury deliberated for 10 hours before reaching their decision. The three each received millions in compensatory damages, and $100 million in punitive damages will be split amongst the men. Officials with ConAgra said in a statement they plan on appealing the decision, noting that the accident was tragic, but that they do not believe their actions caused the injuries.
The workers’ compensation attorneys in Chicago with the Bradley Law Firm recognize how devastating a workplace accident can be and the importance of receiving financial assistance to help a worker recover from his or her injuries. If you have been injured in an IL on-the-job accident and need assistance with your workers’ compensation claim, call us at (312) 252-1488 to discuss your case.
Ryan Bradley, an Illinois personal injury lawyer, recognizes how serious a workplace injury can be and the detrimental impact it can have on an employee’s life. Annually, an estimated 4.1 million people in the U.S. suffer from an occupation-related illness or injury, and more than two million are injured severely enough that they must miss work and need ongoing medical care. In addition, there are approximately 1,000 deaths per year caused by either a work-related injury or occupational disease.
These alarming statistics show the need for all Illinois workers, whether behind a desk or at a construction site, to understand the common causes of workplace injuries in order to try and prevent them. Workers-comp-news.com offers the following information:
- Automobile accidents: On-the-job auto accidents are astonishingly the leading cause of workplace fatalities in the U.S. Anyone who uses a vehicle for work is at risk for this type of accident, such as a pizza delivery person involved in a crash while working or a delivery truck driver.
- Lifting injuries: Any worker is at risk for this injury, but those in nursing, manufacturing, and transportation are at a much higher risk. Almost a third of workplace injuries result in musculoskeletal disorders, which are frequently caused by lifting, and any person who suffers from this type of injury may experience severe back or muscle pain.
- Falls from heights: Falls are a very common workplace injury and also a leading cause of work-related deaths, particularly among individuals who work in construction, agricultural, or mining industries. Falls can result in painful, long lasting injuries, and can be caused by hazards such as greasy floors or unstable equipment.
- Heavy equipment: A number of jobs, such as manufacturing or construction, require a worker to use heavy equipment that can make a job very dangerous. Equipment should be well-maintained and in good condition, and workers should be properly trained to use it.
The unfortunate possibility of being injured at work is something all employees should be aware of, and prevention and safety can help one avoid an accident. However, if you are injured or develop an occupational illness, workers’ compensation is a system established to aid in recovery. If you need assistance with an IL workers’ compensation claim, Ryan Bradley of the Bradley Law Firm is an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer in Chicago who can help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Call (312) 252-1488 to schedule a free consultation.
For any worker in Illinois, whether you are behind a desk or work at a construction site, there is always the unfortunate possibility of being injured on the job. The excellent news is workers’ compensation (or workers’ comp) is a system of benefits to help an employee who has suffered an occupation-related injury or illness pay for medical bills and replace lost wages while they are not at work.
Workers’ compensation laws and benefits, however, vary from state to state. Under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, an employee is entitled to three types of benefits, which are payments related to medical treatment expenses, missed time from work, and permanency. Though this sounds simple, calculating specific numbers can be slightly more complex.
An Illinois worker’s AWW, or Average Weekly Wage, is the most significant number which can help in determining what benefits one can receive under the Workers’ Compensation Act. The AWW is what a worker earns per week and is based on the 52 weeks prior to the work-related injury or illness. Essentially, the basic formula for calculating the AWW is adding up everything that was paid to you in the 52 weeks prior to the date of injury, and then dividing that number by 52. Keep in mind that certain factors may make calculating an AWW a bit tricky, such as the fact that overtime and bonuses are not considered part of the AWW. However, once the AWW is calculated, figuring out what benefits you should receive is fairly simple.
An Illinois worker may think that recovery will be the most difficult part of suffering from an on-the-job injury or illness, but receiving the workers’ comp he or she is entitled to may be a very challenging part of the ordeal as well. A knowledgeable Illinois workers’ compensation lawyer can help you with every step of the workers’ comp process, from filing to filling out paperwork and even an appeal, if necessary. At the Bradley Law Firm, we are committed to helping IL workers get the benefits they deserve. For a no-cost consultation on your claim, please call (312) 252-1488.
Recently, a Mokena-based Illinois company was fined for exposing workers to a number of hazards, including respiratory problems, by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). According to Environmentalexpert.com, one willful health and nine serious safety violations were reported by OSHA. This prompted OSHA’s Calumet City area director, Gary Anderson, to state, “Failing to identify hazards, provide appropriate personal protective equipment, and monitor workers puts them at an unacceptable risk for injury or illness.” The company faces fines up to $122,000.
The employees of this Mokena company could be eligible for Illinois workers’ compensation if any of them became ill or injured while working and being exposed to workplace dangers. Workers’ compensation insurance (or workers’ comp) is a system of benefits paid by employers to workers who experience job-related injuries or diseases. This type of insurance provides wage replacement and medical benefits for injured or sick workers who are unable to attend work for a period of time, as well as vocational rehabilitation and other benefits if the company’s insurance allows.
It is the responsibility of any company to provide a safe and secure workplace for its employees, and failing to do so puts workers in harm’s way and can lead to dangerous situations and costly fines. Workers are entitled to certain legal rights and benefits if injured on the job; however, compensation is not guaranteed as a company may deny a claim if they see fit.
In the event your workers’ compensation claim is denied, the experienced Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys of the Bradley Law Firm can help you get the money you are rightfully owed. Call (312) 252-1488 for a free comprehensive consultation on your case.
Chicago officials, including Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Alderman Edward M. Burke, have begun looking into the workers’ compensation claims received by the city in an attempt to put a dent in the $100 million bill Chicago currently pays annually for workers compensation.
The city’s plans include conducting a “safety analysis” in every city department to determine where major workplace injuries occur and to find ways to protect city workers from injuries. According to The Chicago Sun-Times, several Chicago city departments frequently see as many as one-third of their employees not working as they recover from injuries suffered on the job.
The city government also plans to develop programs to move injured city workers to jobs they can do despite their injuries or disabilities. For workers who cannot be rehired into any city job, officials plan to offer vocational rehabilitation to help injured and disabled workers develop new skills.
Not all the changes are designed to make moving forward easier for workers injured on the job, however. Earlier this year, the General Assembly passed a bill requiring disabled employees to prove that they suffered their injuries while working and that they were not intoxicated by alcohol or drugs when the accident occurred. The city government also plans to closely monitor workers who must take time off work to heal from an on-the-job injury.
If you’ve suffered a workplace injury in Chicago, the experienced Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys at The Bradley Law Firm, P.C. can help you make sense of your workers compensation requirements and seek compensation from third parties who may be responsible for your injury. For more information, call us today at 800-360-5072 for a free and confidential consultation.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) tracks serious workplace injuries and deaths that occur in the United States each year. In 2011, the BLS released a study analyzing recent workplace injury data which concluded that fatal workplace accidents are decreasing across the United States. While this sounds like good news for workers, the BLS indicates that the decrease may have more to do with the lack of jobs than with actual improvements made in overall safety.
According to the BLS, the number of fatal workplace accidents decreased in 2008 and 2009, but job growth in the industries most likely to suffer fatal accidents either stood still or decreased slightly in this time. These industries added some jobs in 2010, but the fatal accident rate in 2010 also went up by 2 percent. The correlation between job growth – or lack thereof – and fatal accident rates is often the result of adding or subtracting more jobs, rather than improvements in safety, the BLS report concludes. More jobs mean more workers exposed to dangerous situations, which increases the chances that any one of those workers will suffer a fatal injury.
Among self-employed workers, however, the overall workplace death rate has gone down even as self-employment has gone up. Between 2009 and 2010, the on-the-job fatal accident rate for self-employed workers decreased 6 percent, even though self-employment has been rising for several years.
On-the-job injuries or deaths can have serious consequences for workers and their families. If you or someone you love has been injured on the job, call the experienced Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys at The Bradley Law Firm today. Our number is (312) 252-1488, and the consultation is free and confidential.
In their efforts to encourage workplace safety and educate employees and employers about the hazards of being exposed to extreme heat, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have released a free mobile application that allows workers, supervisors, and employers to keep track of their worksite’s heat index, thus enabling them to take the necessary safety measures against heat-related illnesses. At the Bradley Law Firm, we fully support all efforts to make Illinois workplaces safer for workers.
Working outdoors can be very dangerous in the summer months, especially during a heat wave. In fact, according to OSHA, farm workers, roofers, construction workers, landscapers, and air transportation workers experience the highest rates of heat-illness.
The mobile app uses data from the U.S National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as well as the worker’s location to provide proper preventative measures, such as taking rest breaks, adjusting work operations, and, especially drinking fluids. It also gives workers valuable information about the signs and symptoms of heat-related illness, such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
If you or a loved one has suffered a heat-related injury or illness in the course of your work at an Illinois jobsite, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Consulting with one of the Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys at The Bradley Law Firm before filing your claim would ensure that your workers’ compensation claim is properly submitted. To learn more about your legal rights or the workers’ compensation claim process, contact us today for a free confidential consultation at 312-252-1488.
There has been much debate in the Illinois Legislature concerning the state’s highly criticized workers’ compensation system. In March, the House voted to abolish Illinois workers’ compensation while negotiations for its reformation continued. Negotiations continued and were successful as Illinois Governor, Pat Quinn, signed a workers’ compensation reform bill into law.
According to InsuranceNewsNet.com, the reform bill, HB 1698, almost did not make it to the Governor’s desk, having failed in the House on May 29. But, in time for the last day of the legislative session, the House revived the bill and voted in favor of it. The new bill includes the following provisions:
- Reduces fees paid by employers to doctors by 30 percent;
- Establishes a medical network for workers’ compensation claims;
- Shortens benefits payment period for workers suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome;
- Requires workers to prove alcohol or drug involvement in job site accidents;
- Removes current Illinois Workers Compensation Commission arbitrators and replaces them with arbitrators who must be licensed attorneys, appointed by the Governor, and confirmed by the state Senate; and
- Establishes a pilot program where arbitrators must use American Medical Association (AMA) guidelines when determining the level of impairment caused by the injury (for cases related to specific industries).
Changes in law are always confusing. Changes in a law that may make it more difficult for you to receive compensation for expensive medical bills can be confusing as well as frustrating. If you or a loved one has been injured on the job in Illinois, the knowledgeable workers’ compensation lawyers in Chicago at The Bradley Law Firm can help you understand the new law and assist you in submitting your workers’ compensation claim. Call one of our attorneys today for your free confidential consultation at 312-252-1488.
Reform talks for the Illinois workers’ compensation system have been ongoing but to no avail. In a drastic move, an Illinois House committee voted to abolish the current state workers’ compensation system, according to STLToday.com. This does not mean the end of negotiations, according to the representative who sponsored the bill, but starting fresh is being considered a viable option. The bill (SB1933), which the House passed, is known as the Workers’ Compensation and Workers’ Occupational Diseases Transfer and Transition Act and, though further detail is provided, simply states:
- The Workers’ Compensation Act is repealed; and
- The Workers’ Occupational Diseases Act is repealed.
Many business groups consider the Illinois workers’ compensation system to be the costliest, least accountable, and, overall, worst workers’ compensation system in the country. It has been inundated with allegations of fraud and abuse and is one of the most expensive for employers across the nation. Action on this issue is expected before the legislature adjourns on May 31.
Until a decision is made, the House vote holds and all workers’ compensation claims in Illinois must now go through the circuit court system. This will send thousands more cases to the courts each year, where injured workers would have to prove their claim before a judge as opposed to arbitrators. It is unknown whether this will remain or if reform talks progress and are successful. This can complicate matters for legitimately injured workers.
This unpredictable, dynamic state of Illinois’ workers’ compensation system can make filing for benefits extremely difficult. If you or a loved one has been injured at work and is planning to file an Illinois workers’ compensation claim with the courts, the experienced Chicago workers’ compensation lawyers at The Bradley Law Firm can guide you through the new process and help you get the compensation you deserve. Call us today for a free consultation at 312-252-1488.
A new bill in Illinois, if passed, would automatically deny workers’ compensation claims filed by people who cause accidents, according to STLToday.com. The bill was introduced in response to the case of a former Illinois State Trooper that filed a workers’ compensation claim for injuries sustained in a crash he caused when he lost control of his squad car while talking on his cell phone and speeding needlessly. His squad car crossed the meridian of Interstate 64 and hit an oncoming car, killing both occupants. He pleaded guilty to reckless homicide and aggravated reckless driving and his workers’ compensation claim was denied.
The proposed bill amends Section 11 of the Workers’ Compensation Act as follows:
“No employee shall be entitled to additional compensation…or attorney’s fees…when the employee has been charged with a forcible felony, aggravated driving under the influence, or reckless homicide that caused an accident resulting in the death or severe injury of another person and the employer terminates benefits or refuses to pay benefits to the employee until the termination of any pending criminal proceedings.”
The new legislation may have a large impact on injured workers in Illinois who file or plan to file workers’ compensation claims. If this bill becomes law, Illinois workplace accident injuries will be even more fully investigated than before so as to prevent at-fault parties from receiving benefits. It is possible that Illinois employers may even push an investigation towards that end. These new workers’ compensation factors, compounded on the existing ones, can create a very complicated and confusing situation for an injured worker in Illinois.
Retaining the service of a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer that fully understands the ins and outs of workers’ compensation laws would ensure that an injured worker receives just compensation for their injuries and accident-related losses. The experienced Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys at The Bradley Law Firm can inform you of your legal rights and help you through the claim process. For a free confidential consultation on your case, call us at 312-252-1488.