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Articles Posted in Workers’ Compensation

We all have the right to a safe and healthful workplace, and special laws are in place to protect the rights of workers if they are harmed on the job, or as a result of their workplace environment.

Bearing this in mind, our Chicago personal injury lawyers were especially concerned to read about the results of a 20-year study from the National Cancer Institute showing new evidence that exposure to exhaust from diesel engines at work significantly increases employees’ risk of lung cancer.

A report this week published by MSNBC detailed the results of the investigation; although diesel exhaust has long been classified as a probable carcinogen, the extent of the danger was not fully understood. The analysis of more than 12,000 workers in different kinds of mines (facilities that mined for potash, lime and other nonmetals) were found to have three times the risk of death from lung cancer from having breathed exhaust from diesel-powered equipment at work, compared to workers with lower levels of exposure to diesel exhaust. Nevertheless, even mine employees with lower levels of exposure had a 50% increased risk of death from lung cancer, as compared to the general population.

An Illinois man alleges that he was hurt by a falling piece of concrete while working at a refinery. The man filed an Illinois personal injury lawsuit earlier this month in Madison County Circuit Court against the construction company and other defendants. He was working as a pipefitter and welder and was working in a trench when a large section of concrete built to hold the excavating machinery broke off and fell into the trench. The personal injury plaintiff alleges that he was unable to escape the falling debris and it knocked him to the ground. He states that he sustained serious injuries to his back during the injury. The Illinois plaintiff is asking to be paid more than $400,000 in damages for medical expenses and lost wages along with court costs.

Individuals have a right to a safe and healthful workplace and may receive benefits under workers’ compensation if they have suffered an injury on the job. Employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance coverage and should give their employees a workers’ compensation claim to complete and return. According to state law, a workers’ compensation claim is the remedy when an employee sustains an on-the-job injury, which means that an injured worker cannot file a negligence lawsuit against his or her employer or co-worker. But, if a workers’ compensation claim arises as the result of the negligence of another person, a door opens to another area of recovery. A personal injury lawsuit can be filed against the third party in addition to the workers’ compensation claim. For example, our Chicago personal injury lawyers represent clients in cases where negligence caused their serious personal injury or wrongful death. We recently represented a 27 year-old roofer in an Illinois workplace injury who was paralyzed when he fell from a roof as a result of the general contractor’s failure to provide appropriate safety devices. The workplace negligence lawsuit was resolved with the 27 year-old injured man receiving a $5.7 million settlement.

To read more about the Illinois personal injury lawsuit, visit the Madison Record.

An personal injury lawyer has filed a lawsuit for a client against the Cahokia School District after he sustained severe injuries to his back, right pelvis, and left hip in a fall from the top of a school roof. Cahokia is a village located in St. Clair County, located close to St. Louis. The Cahokia school district operates 9 schools in the area. The Illinois personal injury plaintiff alleges that he was working on top of the roof at 800 Range Lane in Cahokia, operated by the Cahokia School District, about a year ago when he fell through the roof. His body hit machinery as he fell and eventually landed on the school’s floor.

The Illinois personal injury victim has experienced a great deal of physical pain in addition to his actual physical injuries. Further, he has had suffering and emotional distress. Additionally, according to the complaint the personal injury victim filed last month in St. Clair County Circuit Court, the personal injury plaintiff incurred medical costs, suffered disability, lost his normal life, and lost wages. The lawsuit further alleges that the Cahokia School District negligently allowed its roof to exist in an unsafe condition, failed to maintain its roof, and failed to provide the Illinois workplace injury victim with a safe place to work. The Illinois workplace injury lawsuit further alleges that the school district failed to reasonably inspect its property, failed to warn the worker of the condition, and failed to barricade the unsafe section of the roof. The Illinois workplace injury lawsuit seeks a judgment from the Illinois school district of more than $50,000, plus costs and other just relief from the court.
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Just like avoidable car accidents, our Chicago personal injury attorneys are always disheartened to see deadly Illinois workplace accidents that should have been prevented. Work environments should be safe, but the Southtown Star reported that for one 35 year-old Aurora man, the workplace was a deadly environment. This young Illinois man was killed in the South Suburbs this past week during an Illinois workplace accident. He was killed Wednesday in a workplace forklift accident at a Mokena landscaping business. He was pronounced dead before 8:00 AM at Silver Cross Hospital in Will County, Illinois from multiple injuries. The workplace accident occurred at Brickman Landscaping in Mokena where the Illinois victim had been moving equipment with a forklift. The vehicle flipped over and ejected the Illinois victim and then landed on him. The police reported that they turned the case over to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which investigates workplace accidents.
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St. Louis Today reported earlier this month on a tragic work injury that struck at a recycling plant near the Illinois border. As Chicago personal injury lawyers, we felt important to draw attention to the incident to warn both workers and employers on the dangers that may exist in the workplace.

While working at the plant on a Sunday, the 43-year old victim began calling to his co-workers for help. When another employee rushed to the scene, he saw the man caught inside a baler compact machine. He had apparently become trapped while trying to fix a jam in the machine that compacts and bails recycled paper. The co-worker called emergency workers who rushed to the scene.

The responders were able to get the victim out of the machine. He was conscious and talking at that time. However, he had suffered severe injuries to both legs before his rescue. Shortly after arriving at a nearby hospital he was pronounced dead. He leaves behind a wife and four children. The oldest child was actual an employee at the same plant and was one of the co-workers who helped pull his father out of the compactor.

The recycling company had not issued any statement at the time the story ran. Friends and family of the victim have been a bit surprised by the lack of response from the company. They had failed even to reach out to the victim’s family in any way.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the death to understand what went wrong. They will be looking to see if any safety laws were violated by the company. Another worker from the Illinois based company died in a separate forklift accident two years prior.
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Famous actress Rosie Perez has filed a personal injury lawsuit against the production company for injuries sustained while taping an episode of Law & Order. Perez claims that she suffered severe personal injuries while taping an episode of Law & Order Special Victims Unit in 2009. The suit alleges that the production company was negligent in failing to use skilled performers or experienced stunt personnel in a scene wherein her character was significantly shaken by a school crossing guard. The lawsuit further claims that Rosie Perez was negligently, carelessly, violently, and recklessly pulled, grabbed, yanked, wrenched, and/or manhandled by an extra actor who played the crossing guard. The injury lawsuit alleges that Rosie Perez sustained severe and permanent personal injuries during the filming. Her personal injury attorney further reported that Ms. Perez underwent two surgeries for a herniated disc suffered during the filming. She had a spinal fusion procedure in July, where bone marrow from her pelvis was transplanted to her vertebrae in her back. However, despite the surgeries, she continues to have severe pain and numbness. The personal injury lawsuit also alleges that the actress has not been able to work in a year due to the injury.

The personal injury lawsuit seeks no specified dollar amount, but her personal injury attorney reported that the actress seeks substantial damages because she has not been able to work due to her personal injuries sustained in 2009. The producers of the Law & Order Special Victims Unit show did not respond to a request for comment from CNN and a spokesman for NBC, which airs the show, declined to comment on the personal injury lawsuit. Although this is a situation where the actress was hurt on the job, Ms. Perez did not file a workers’ compensation claim because such claims are different for artists injured on the job.

Read more about the actress’s personal injury lawsuit at CNN.

A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed in Madison County against the makers of a lathe that is reported to have killed her son. The mother has filed a lawsuit against a machinery company after her son was killed in a workplace death. According to the Illinois wrongful death complaint, the woman’s son, who was a minor, was working for a Madison County company in July 2009. While he was working and attempting to polish a steel bar with a high speed lathe built by a machinery company, the lathe allegedly malfunctioned causing the steel bar to become stuck in the machine. A lathe is a machine tool that rotates the workpiece on its axis to perform various workplace operations, such as cutting, sanding, knurling, drilling, or deformation with tools that are applied to the workpiece to create an object that has symmetry about an axis of rotation. Lathes are used in woodturning, metalworking, metal spinning, and glass working. They can also be used to shape pottery.

In this situation, the Illinois wrongful death complaint states that the young man was attempting to polish a steel bar with a high speed lathe when the lathe malfunctioned and caused the steel bar to get stuck in the machine. The steel bar then spun around and hit the wrongful death victim, causing his death. The wrongful death lawsuit accuses the company of negligence for knowingly building an unsafe lathe and for failing to warn its users of the dangers. The mother of the wrongful death victim is asking for more than $50,000 in damages for the loss of her son.

Read more about the wrongful death lawsuit is available at The Madison St. Clair Record.

A recent Letter to the Editor from Illinois Trial Lawyers Association (ITLA) president Todd A. Smith published in the Moline Dispatch this week addressed the so-called need for workers compensation reform in Illinois. Mr. Smith, a Chicago trial lawyer, responds to a recently published editorial called “Priority 1: Workers’ comp.” Mr. Smith states that most of the “reforms” discussed thus far have been at the expense of Illinois injured workers. Mr. Smith responds that we agree with the editorial that any type of fraud – on the part of employers and employees – existing in the Illinois workers compensation system has to be eliminated in order to reduce costs. ITLA’s position has always been in favor of giving the power to the appropriate authorities and allowing them to crack down on abusers because any abuse of the system should not be tolerated whatsoever.

Contrary to the ideas proposed thus far, Mr. Smith points out that if there are problems for the business community, and the premiums they pay for coverage, one should closely look at the insurance industry and its lack of regulation. ITLA has urged that legislators seriously focus on insurance reform. Here’s an interesting fact that Mr. Smith raised: pending claims have dropped in the past decade from 80,000 to 50,000; nonetheless, insurance company premiums continue to rise. How does that make sense? The argument that the workers’ compensation system in Illinois costs jobs is a myth. Ford Motor Company just made a long-term commitment to Illinois and companies are moving to Illinois. In any debate, we should focus on the workers’ rights first and foremost. Injured workers should not be subjected to reduced benefits in an already compromised system.

Read more about the insurance reform we need by visiting the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association website.

A recent editorial about the Illinois workers’ compensation system prompted Illinois Trial Lawyers Association (ITLA) President Todd A. Smith to respond and set the record straight. Mr. Smith told the Chicago Tribune that the recent editorials have again sided with insurance interests and against the rights of injured Illinois workers. Your recent editorials regarding workers compensation shows your paper has once again sided with insurance interests and against the rights of injured Illinois workers. Mr. Smith stated that ITLA’s position has always been in favor of empowering the appropriate authorities, allowing them to crack down on abusers of the system. Any abuse of the workers’ compensation system should not be tolerated. However, Mr. Smith points out that the Chicago Tribune editorials overlook some of the legitimate problems about workers compensation and focus on taking away the rights of Illinois injured workers.

Mr. Smith suggests that a closer look should be taken at the Illinois insurance industry and its lack of regulation. Pending workers’ compensation claims have dropped in Illinois during the last decade from approximately 80,000 to around 50,000; however, insurance company premiums continue to rise. Mr. Smith urges that workers’ rights should be at the forefront of any workers compensation reform debate. Injured Illinois workers should not be subjected to reduced workers’ compensation benefits. Those Illinois injured individuals who are hurt on the job should be allowed to choose their own doctor and have access to quality healthcare. They should also be adequately compensated in the event of an Illinois workplace injury. Most importantly, Mr. Smith stated that the efforts at workers compensation reform should not come at the expense of injured Illinois workers with legitimate honest claims.

Follow the link to the Chicago Tribune to read more about the ITLA response about workers’ compensation reform.

As those of us in Chicago are well aware, Transformers 3 has been forming in the Chicagoland area for the past month. Unfortunately, the filming brought tragic news earlier this week when a movie extra was hospitalized after suffering a serious head injury during a stunt. The stunt was being filmed in northwest Indiana, according to police. The female extra received the personal injuries around 7:00 p.m. when an object went through the windshield of her 2006 car on Cline Avenue in Hammond, Indiana, just northeast of Chicago. She was an extra in the movie, but was not a member of the trained specialized stunt personnel.

The car hit a concrete median barrier and continued for almost a mile before stopping. The vehicle involved in the workplace stunt during the Transformers 3 filming had extensive damage to the driver’s side; the Illinois personal injury victim was airlifted to Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Illinois. The film crew stopped filming after the personal injury accident.

Although it is unclear whether the extra was employed by the filmers or was working as an independent contractor, the Chicago personal injury lawyers at Levin & Perconti want to remind you that you have a right to a safe and healthful workplace. Those who suffer personal injuries on the job may be eligible for benefits under workers’ compensation coverage.

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