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IL injury lawyerConsidered an essential business, the construction industry is how our roads, buildings, and homes are built. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), nearly 6.5 million people work at approximately 252,000 construction sites throughout the nation on a daily basis. Studies show that the fatal injury rate for the construction industry is higher than the national average in this category for all other industries. Common hazards for construction workers can include falls from scaffolding or ladders and burns from explosions or electric shocks. However, there are additional dangers faced by these types of workers, including occupational diseases. In some cases, these may go unnoticed for years and employees in the construction field may suffer irreparable damage. A workers’ compensation claim may alleviate the financial ramifications of this type of workplace injury.

On-the-Job Hazards

Many jobs can have their fair share of risks, including those faced by police officers or firefighters. Construction workers face somewhat unique dangers depending on what types of products with which they may be working. Chronic medical conditions have been linked to prolonged exposure to certain toxic vapors, gases, fumes, smoke, paint, or dust. A few of the most common types of occupational diseases or illnesses include:

  • Asthma
  • Mesothelioma and other cancers
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Dermatitis
  • Musculoskeletal disorders

Occupational contact dermatitis may be caused by exposure to a variety of agents, including irritants or sensitizers, physical agents, and biologic agents. Musculoskeletal disorders include repetitive injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome and epicondylitis (tennis elbow), common when construction workers use their hands and arms for painting, nailing, and sawing. Asbestos-related injuries are common in construction workers who are exposed to certain building materials such as insulation. Because asbestos is considered a carcinogen, it can cause cancer after repeated exposure.

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IL accident lawyerAccidents occur on a frequent basis, whether they are vehicle collisions, slip-and-fall incidents, or workplace injuries. The injuries sustained can range from minor to serious and even fatal. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 5,250 people died from a work-related injury in the United States in 2018, up 2 percent from the 2017 total number of deaths. Even if a work injury does not prove fatal, it may result in multiple surgeries, rehabilitation, and long-term care. All of this can significantly impact an individual’s personal and professional life. Filing a workers’ compensation claim can alleviate some of the financial stress related to medical costs. An experienced attorney can assist you with the filing process to make sure you receive what you need and deserve to recover.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission

In Illinois, most companies are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance in case their employees get hurt while on the job. Employers that knowingly and willfully fail to obtain insurance can face fines for noncompliance. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system of benefits paid by employers to workers who experience work-related injuries or diseases. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission resolves disputes between employees and employers related to work-related injuries or illnesses.

Below are a few examples of typical mistakes that someone may make when filing a workers’ compensation claim:

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IL injury lawyerThere are certain types of occupations that pose potential risks to workers compared to other jobs. For instance, an office worker likely spends most of his or her time sitting at a desk on the computer. On the other hand, a construction worker is typically at a building site while a factory worker is in a warehouse. In some of these latter occupations, an employee may be exposed to toxic chemicals. Although most companies are required to adhere to safety regulations including providing proper protective gear and equipment, accidents can still occur. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 13 million Americans are exposed to chemicals at work that can be absorbed through the skin. Luckily, under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, employees are protected for injuries sustained at work, including pre-existing conditions that are aggravated by the job duties as well as work-related injuries that are sustained outside of the workplace.

Workplace Hazards

Construction zones and factories are known to have paint, concrete mix, wood dust, cleaning products, and other hazardous materials that workers come in contact with on a regular basis. Older homes or buildings also may have asbestos or lead paint. Typically, the lead in paint and the asbestos in ceiling or walls are not hazardous. However, when these structures are renovated, toxins can be released into the environment, posing a danger to residents or workers. Some of the more common toxic chemicals that might be present in a work environment include but are not limited to the following:

  • Asbestos
  • Ammonia
  • Chloroform
  • Lead
  • Mercury
  • Iodine
  • Formaldehyde
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Uranium

Physical Consequences

Certain chemicals and fumes can cause serious bodily harm to workers if they are exposed. The duration and the amount of exposure may impact the severity of the injury, resulting in a variety of short- and long-term health conditions that can lead to life-threatening occupational diseases or specific types of cancer. Hazardous materials can be inhaled through the nose or mouth, or even through the skin. A few of the major physical ailments that can be caused by toxic substances include:

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IL disability attorneyThere are numerous occupations that involve physical labor. For some employees, this may involve lifting or moving heavy objects. Other jobs may not involve using the whole body, but rather require repetitive motion of certain body parts. Years of continuously using the same muscles and joints can lead to problems. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that causes tingling, numbness, and weakness in the hand. It is also known as median nerve compression. Even employees who work in different industries may still suffer from this type of work injury. In some cases, carpal tunnel syndrome can lead to a workers’ compensation claim.

Signs and Symptoms

The median nerve runs the length of a person’s arm. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when pressure on that nerve goes through a passage in the wrist called the carpal tunnel and ends in the hand. The median controls feeling and movement of the thumb and all the fingers except the pinky.

One of the first symptoms that a person who has carpal tunnel syndrome may experience is the feeling that his or her hand has “fallen asleep.” This numbing sensation can go all the way up the arm. In some cases, an individual may have flare-ups when holding that requires the wrist to bend, such as holding a book or steering wheel. Below are possible signs that someone might have this syndrome:

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IL work injury lawyerWorking at or owning a restaurant can be a very rewarding career. Whether someone is a hostess, server, chef, or manager, this can be a fast-paced and exciting job. However, like in other industries, there is the possibility of accidents with injuries. These can range from minor to serious and even fatal. In Illinois, the Workers’ Compensation Commission resolves disputes between employees and employers for injuries and illnesses that are sustained on the job. This is a no-fault insurance benefits program that most companies are required to carry. In some cases, a workers’ compensation claim may provide financial relief to an injured or disabled worker.

Typical Accidents at Food Establishments

Restaurants may consist of a large staff that performs many different jobs. Regardless of the type of food being served, most kitchens’ food preparation involves cutting, chopping, sauteing, baking, in addition to cleaning. This work environment can be prone to certain types of accidents and injuries, including but not limited to the following:

  • Punctures and Lacerations: Due to frequent use of knives or cutting machines as well as broken dishes or glassware, restaurant staff members may suffer cuts or deep puncture wounds.
  • Burns: From boiling water to fryers and gas stovetops, heat and water burns can also cause a significant hazard for restaurant workers. Depending on the situation, a worker can suffer first-, second-, or third-degree burns.
  • Back and neck injuries: If an item such as a large canned good is stacked too high could fall on an employee, inflicting damage on the spinal cord, neck, or even causing head trauma. These kinds of injuries are also common when doing repetitive motion, often found in large-scale or fast-food establishments.
  • Sprains and strains: Product or inventory that is misplaced or on hard-to-reach shelves can cause worker injury due to overreaching. Employees can also slip and fall on liquid or other debris in the aisles or kitchen area, which often result in sprained ankles. Restaurant workers can also suffer from strains when they are lifting heavy boxes or bags.
  • Eye damage: Grease that splatters from a grill can hit a worker’s face and go into his or her eyes. In addition, toxic cleaning solutions or chemicals typically used in foodservice environments can also lead to blindness.
  • Electrocutions: Some older restaurants or diners may have faulty or makeshift wiring for their appliances or damaged/worn electrical cords. If there is standing water due to spills, it can lead to an employee being electrocuted.

Workers’ Compensation Claim

Filing a workers’ compensation claim can help restaurant industry employees by covering fees related to work-related injuries, medical bills, and lost wages. If a restaurant is robbed and a worker gets hurt during the commission of the crime, his or her injuries may also be covered under workers’ comp. In order to receive benefits, an injured employee must notify his or her employer of the accident that caused the injury at work. This notification can be given in writing or verbally 45 days of the date of the injury.

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IL work injury lawyerFrom time to time, everyone can get sick. However, if it is more than just a common cold, a person may need to seek medical attention. In some cases, a work environment may be the reason for an employee falling ill. An occupational disease is defined as an illness or harmful condition that is directly caused by job duties or is aggravated by hazardous conditions in the workplace. These dangerous conditions are not common to the general public. Depending on the industry, protective gear or safety precautions must be followed at all times. If these safety measures are not taken by an employer, a worker may be at risk of suffering from a serious illness or life-threatening disease. It is important to understand how workers’ compensation laws apply to these illnesses if they are caused by employment in the healthcare field.

Diseases and Illnesses Common to the Medical Profession

Healthcare workers face a wide variety of hazards on the job, including harmful exposures to chemicals, drugs, and radiation. In addition, doctors, nurses, and administrative staff can be exposed to many germs on a daily basis. Many viruses or infections are transmitted through the air in healthcare facilities.

Some of the infectious diseases for which employees in the medical field are most at risk include:

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IL injury lawyerDuring the holidays, delivery trucks are out in full force, distributing gifts and packages to homes across the country in time for Christmas. In Illinois, winter weather can wreak havoc on road conditions. This can put truck drivers at risk for possible accidents that may result in serious injuries. However, snow and ice are not the only contributing factors to a crash, as negligent behavior by other motorists or even a trucking company can also cause a collision due to faulty or improperly maintained equipment. Delivering goods can also be a physically demanding job, especially if drivers are transporting heavy cargo that they are lifting on a constant basis. Regardless of how an Illinois delivery driver might suffer an on-the-job injury, he or she may be entitled to file a workers’ compensation claim to seek damages.

Typical Risks to Delivery Drivers

Due to the nature of the job, truck driving can take a toll on the driver’s body. Movements such as lifting, turning, and pushing may not seem like they could cause that much damage, but after repeatedly performing these actions, a trucker may experience significant pain. The following are a few of the most common types of injuries for delivery truck drivers:

  • Muscle sprains and strains from carrying heavy packages
  • Back and neck pain due to long periods of sitting
  • Broken or fractured bones due to falling from the truck bed or cab
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome from steering the truck
  • Shoulder/rotator cuff damage from lifting large materials
  • Joint damage from climbing in and out of the truck

Filing a Workers’ Comp Claim

Illinois companies are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. This type of benefit is meant to protect both the employee and the employer. Workers’ comp can help with a worker’s medical bills and lost wages. In order to file a claim as a truck driver in Illinois, an important factor involves jurisdiction, or where the injury took place. Since truckers may travel outside of Illinois state lines, they need to understand how that can affect the chances of receiving benefits.

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IL injury lawyerThe first diesel engine patent was issued in the 1890s. Over the decades this combustible engine variant slowly gained in popularity. Its popularity comes from the ability of its fuel-air mixture to produce better energy efficiency than most gasoline engines. It became popular in the 1990s, especially in Europe. Studies showed that it released less CO2 carbon emissions than its gasoline counterparts. Many European countries began encouraging car manufacturers and their citizens to switch over to diesel. However, diesel emits Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) which caused air pollution. By 2014, Paris had pollution near the level of Beijing. This diesel related pollution has created health risks for Parisians living in the city.

The Potential Diesel Health Risks

The diesel engine is a great invention, but like all fossil fuel powered engines it has potential environmental and health risks. Those who work closely with diesel are usually the last to know of risks. Such as the possible relationship between diesel fumes and lung cancer. The American Cancer Society has released lab studies that have found that diesel fumes (like soot) can change the DNA in a cell which could lead to cancer. Others studies have found that there is an increased chance of cancer in individuals who work closest to diesel fumes, such as railroad workers, diesel truck drivers, miners, and heavy equipment operators. While the studies are not conclusive, other agencies such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have also done similar studies, which point to similar conclusions.

How to Stay Healthy

While diesel fumes do pose a threat to your health, thankfully, there are a few simple things you can do to minimize the risk.

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