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Law Offices of David W. Clark, P.C.

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IL injury lawyerEach year, hundreds of millions of people travel to and from the United States through air travel. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, there were more than one billion passengers who passed through TSA checkpoints in airports across the country in 2019. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, there were still more than an estimated 398 million people who traveled by plane in 2020. With all of those passengers comes all of their luggage and all of the strenuous work that comes along with taking care of it. We do not usually see or speak to baggage handlers face-to-face like we do with flight attendants, making it easy to overlook the potentially dangerous work they do. Getting injured on the job as a baggage handler is not uncommon, but you can file for workers’ compensation benefits to help recuperate some of your losses.

Common Situations Causing Injuries to Airline Baggage Handlers

Airline baggage handlers have some of the most physically demanding jobs in the airline industry. Baggage handlers are responsible for handling passengers’ luggage at multiple points throughout the airport, with the main goal of getting the luggage to its destination at the same time as its owner. There are many situations that create the potential for injury for baggage handlers, including:

  • Overexertion or overextension: The main task of the job is to lift, load and carry luggage that is often heavy and awkwardly shaped. Not only that, but they are also required to move heavy machinery and other heavy objects such as cargo bins and cargo. This can often lead to overexertion or overextension of body parts, resulting in injuries, commonly to the back and neck.
  • Excessive noise: Working around any type of machinery means you are going to be working in a louder-than-normal environment. However, working around airplanes means your work environment will likely be louder than most. If you do not have proper ear protection, you could suffer from ear-related injuries or hearing loss.
  • Getting caught in machinery: Another common situation that baggage handlers are put into is working with machinery. There are many conveyor belts that are used to transport luggage from place to place throughout the airport, in addition to machines that can sort luggage and vehicles to transport luggage. All of these machines have the potential to injure you if you get caught in them. Anything loose or hanging, such as ties, hair, clothing, etc, can get caught and potentially cause an injury.

Contact Our Bloomingdale, IL Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Today

If you sustain an injury while working as an airline baggage handler, you have rights. You should immediately speak with a skilled DuPage County workers’ compensation attorney to get the process started as soon as possible. At the Law Offices of David W. Clark, P.C., we can help you understand the steps necessary to file your workers’ compensation claim, as well as assist you in any appeals, if necessary. To schedule a free consultation, call our office today at 630-665-5678.

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IL injury lawyerCOVID-19 has impacted people all over the world, physically and economically. Although a vaccine is being distributed nationwide, the coronavirus will likely impact the way we live going forward. Studies show that COVID-19 “long-haulers” are individuals who tested positive for the virus and recovered but who have ongoing or long-lasting effects from it. These symptoms can include hair loss, fatigue, chronic cough, brain fog, to name a few. In response to the widespread impact of coronavirus, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has implemented a set of guidelines for employers to follow in the fight against COVID-related illnesses. It is crucial for Illinois employers and employees alike to understand how these rules may affect workers’ compensation claims in the future.

Workplace Exposures to COVID-19

The General Duty Clause of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 requires employers to provide each employee with work and a place of employment that is free from hazards that cause or are likely to cause death or significant physical harm. According to OSHA record-keeping mandates, eligible employers must record certain work-related illnesses and injuries on their OSHA log. COVID-19 can count as one of those illnesses if an employee contracts the virus as a result of performing their work-related tasks. It is important to note that employers are only responsible for recording cases of COVID-19 if all of the following factors are met regarding an employee:

  • There is a confirmed case of COVID-19.
  • The case is work-related.
  • The case involves one or more of the recording criteria (medical treatment above and beyond first aid, days absent from work).

OSHA requirements are aimed at preventing occupational exposure to SARS-CoV-2. A few of the main standards involve personal protective equipment (PPE), which require using gloves, eye and face protection, and respiratory protection when certain occupational duties or hazards warrant it. If the line of work necessitates that respirators be worn to protect workers, employers must implement a thorough respiratory protection program that adheres to the Respiratory Protection standard.

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IL injury lawyerCertain occupations may involve more risk than others. For example, police officers and firefighters can face dangers on a daily basis due to the nature of their work, whether it be a combative criminal suspect or a three-alarm blaze in a high-rise building. However, employees in other jobs can also be exposed to hazardous substances or explosions that can directly impact their health and safety. Exposure to toxic chemicals or electrical currents can cause a worker to be burned. In some cases, a burn injury can be life-threatening depending on the severity of it. Besides the physical effects, these types of injuries can also cause emotional scars. The majority of Illinois employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance in the event employees are injured at work. It is important to understand your legal options for pursuing damages if you are hurt in a work accident.

Damage Can Go Beyond Skin Deep

Significant burns can affect a person’s quality of life if they are not properly treated. Any burn victim should seek medical assistance immediately to avoid the risk of infection. Burnt areas may be removed through surgery and replaced with skin grafts from other areas of the body to aid in the healing process until new skin can grow or regenerate. Burn victims typically face a long and difficult recovery period, particularly with third- and fourth-degree burns (partial and full thickness). They may have to spend weeks or months in the hospital depending on the degree of the burn, the percentage of the body that is burned, and whether the lungs were damaged from inhaling smoke or harmful chemicals.

A few of the long-term effects of a burn injury can include but are not limited to the following:

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IL injury lawyerCertain occupations are inherently more dangerous than other jobs. For example, an office worker who sits at a desk and performs the majority of his or her duties on the computer does not face the same risks as construction, warehouse, or assembly line workers. Each year, heavy equipment operators are injured or killed by heavy mobile equipment used in construction. Many of these accidents occur as a result of rollovers or by employees getting struck or crushed by equipment. Depending on the circumstances, victims may be able to file a workers’ compensation claim as a way of recovering damages, which can include lost wages, medical bills, and therapy.

Work-Related Injuries

Heavy equipment operators may control or drive equipment in the construction industry. These machines can include forklifts, tractors, bulldozers, dump trucks, hydraulic cranes, and more. They operate these types of vehicles when constructing roads or structures such as bridges and buildings. However, similar to car crashes, when an accident involves this heavy machinery, the injuries can be catastrophic. The sheer size and weight of them can crush anything in their paths. A few of the most common injuries a heavy equipment operator can sustain include:

  • Severed limbs
  • Broken bones
  • Disfigurement
  • Internal bleeding
  • Spinal cord damage/paralysis

Factors that Increase the Likelihood of an Accident

There can be many contributing factors to accidents involving heavy equipment operators. One of the main reasons is when a machine malfunctions, typically due to faulty or defective parts. In some cases, collisions can occur because of improper or inadequate maintenance by the employer. Still other causes could be inclement weather conditions or driver error. Even though operators must go through training to learn how these machines work, it can prove difficult to maneuver them in high winds, pounding rain, or snow. That is why construction companies should take steps to ensure everything is in proper working order.

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IL accident lawyerMost Illinois companies are required to carry insurance in the event an employee is injured at work. Pursuing a workers’ compensation claim and collecting compensation related to a work injury while traveling can be a bit more complicated than if an employee suffered an injury on site or his or her normal workplace. Although many businesses have reduced employee travel this year due to COVID-19, some essential workers may still be required to travel in order to perform their job effectively. Regardless if you travel once a week or once a year for your job, if you are injured during a business trip, you may be able to file a claim to help cover expenses and lost wages related to the injury. Employers should have clear guidelines of what is expected of your time on the road, and it is also important to understand how workers’ compensation can benefit you in these types of situations.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation Laws

Under Illinois employment law, workers’ compensation benefits cover medical care needed to cure or relieve the effects of a work injury. It can also provide employees with temporary or permanent disability benefits; partial or total disability benefits; vocational training or rehabilitation; and death benefits. In case of a dispute, the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission (IWCC) can enforce the state’s laws related to workers’ comp and protect workers’ rights. It is also important to note that workers’ compensation benefits are not taxable.

Hazards Encountered While on the Road

For those workers who are in sales or manage a group of employees, travel is often part of the job. Depending on where the satellite offices or stores are located, a worker may have to travel a few miles or a thousand miles. In some situations, he or she may be able to drive a company car or may have to take an airplane to the destination. Getting to and from these off-site locations can present risks, including distracted, reckless, or drunk drivers. However, there may be dangers upon arriving, too. Property owners at hotels or office buildings have a duty to provide a safe environment for patrons and employees. This includes maintaining both the inside and outside of any facilities. For example, making sure uneven pavement or floorboards do not cause a tripping hazard. Likewise, replacing burnt-out lightbulbs in outdoor areas to ensure safe walkways or even hiring security guards to patrol the grounds.

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