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b2ap3_thumbnail_workers-comp_20191014-234946_1.jpgPeople in all different lines of work have the right to a safe environment while performing their jobs. According to Illinois employment law, all employers are required to purchase workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission is the government agency that handles workers’ compensation claims between employees and employers. If a worker is injured on the job, he or she is entitled to benefits for any damages as a result of the accident, such as medical bills or lost wages. However, the process of seeking compensation can be complicated if an employee aggravates a pre-existing health condition because of a workplace incident.

Types of Pre-Existing Conditions

There are many different kinds of health conditions that a person could have because of a previous accident or disease, whether it be from a car crash, a sports injury, or if it is hereditary. A medical illness or injury that someone has before he or she is injured or diagnosed with another health issue may be considered a “pre-existing condition.” Diabetes, emphysema, and cancer may be examples of pre-existing health conditions, which tend to be chronic or long-term.

A fine line exists between proving that a brand-new injury occurred and a new accident caused a previous injury to become worse. In some cases, falling or exposure to toxic substances can re-injure or re-aggravate the same body part, and therefore cause further damage. For example, an employee who had knee replacement surgery for a non-work-related injury could aggravate it by slipping and falling at work due to unsafe work conditions. Another instance may be an employee suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) who works at a factory and is exposed to airborne chemicals and then suffers a recurrence of the emphysema.

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IL workers comp lawyerReporting a wound or ailment that occurred while either at your company or acting on their behalf is a scenario that thousands of Americans have to face every year. There are numerous ways in which an employee could be harmed on a daily basis. Workers’ compensation (workers’ comp) is a form of insurance provided to staff members who can justify an injury or illness while at the workplace or representing their organization at a different location. How do you go about filing for these benefits, and what does this process entail? Steps must be taken to meet the state-regulated requirements.

Workers’ Comp Benefits

If you were to sustain a work-related injury, workers’ compensation is an insurance-like process that would pay for your medical expenses and provide you with wage-loss benefits until you are able to return to employment. In reference to workers’ comp, here are a few key details that should be noted:

  • Employees’ earnings will not be deducted to cover workers’ comp.
  • Commonly speaking, most claims are paid for despite fault.
  • Employers are required to pay for these costs, although it is common practice for employers to purchase workers’ comp insurance.
  • Not every employee is covered by workers’ comp; some are under the jurisdiction of compensation laws administered by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).

Filing for Workers’ Comp

Varying from state to state, there are different courses of action that must be achieved in order to receive reparations. In Illinois, all of the following must be addressed first in order to file for workers comp:

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IL injury lawyerA lot of people who suffer an injury while on the job can collect workers’ compensation benefits. Under Illinois law, employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance for their employees in the event they are injured on the job. In certain industries, a worker may develop an ailment over time due to repeated exposure to toxic substances. A person can suffer permanent physical and/or neurological damage from contact with chemicals, dust, fumes, mold, or radiation. Those employees are also entitled to compensation if the occupational disease or illness was due to continuous employment in that profession. The Illinois Occupational Diseases Act assures fair compensation for workers who are temporarily or permanently disabled by such illnesses or diseases.

Illinois Occupational Diseases Act

The Illinois Occupational Diseases Act states that an occupational disease is an illness or damaging condition that is a direct result of employment or which could be aggravated by hazardous workplace conditions. These unsafe conditions must not be “common to the general public.” Common colds and other contagious ailments are not generally considered to be directly work-related. Many jobs involve exposure to dangerous chemicals, radiation, loud noise, and other hazards. These occupations can include but are not limited to the following:

  • Miners
  • Construction workers
  • Welders
  • Farmworkers
  • Tunnel or railroad workers
  • Diesel mechanics
  • Aerospace workers

The following occupational diseases are common among long-term industry employees and can ultimately be life-threatening for the employee:

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IL injury lawyerIn the past several decades there has been a rise in workplace injuries related to carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). In 2010 a study by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 3.1 percent of employed adults suffered from CTS. This injury occurs when the median nerve becomes pressed or squeezed at the wrist resulting in numbness, weakness and even pain in the wrist, hand, arm or elbow. Studies have shown that CTS is prevalent among those who work includes repetitive hand movement and is a fairly common office injury. If not treated CTS can become debilitating and lead to nerve damage. Thankfully, there are several treatments and methods to avoid this outcome.

Conventional Non-Surgical Treatments for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

There are many non-surgical options to ease or cure the pain of CTS. Many are simple and can be purchased over the counter.

  • Wrist Splinting: Those who suffer from CTS can purchase a simple wrist brace from any convivence or drug store. If the CTS is moderate wearing it during the night can relieve pressure on the median nerve. If the CTS is aggressive the suffer can wear the brace during the day while performing the task that aggravates the injury.
  • Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs): Using over-the-counter medication such as ibuprofen or Advil can ease the inflammation caused by CTS. If the pain is particularly severe a doctor can prescribe something a stronger medication.
  • Corticosteroids: This is a simple injection from a doctor which helps to ease inflammation and swelling. It is injected in the aggravated area.
  • Stretches and Breaks: The simplest thing to do is to take regular breaks from the activity with aggravates the CTS. During such breaks stretching the hand, wrist and arms can relieve the tension around the nerve.

Surgical Options for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

In some cases, non-surgical options are enough to eliminate the pain caused by CTS. In those instances, surgery is an option to consider. There are two popular surgeries offered to individuals ailing from CTS.

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IL injury lawyerIt does not matter what industry you work in - there is always a chance that you can injure yourself at work. The first 24 hours after you injure yourself are crucial - your actions can determine how easy it will be to claim your workers’ compensation benefits and how strong of a claim you have. By taking the appropriate actions after a workplace injury, you can help make your worker’s compensation process a little bit easier.

  1. Get Medical Help

The first thing you should do after you are injured at work is seek necessary medical attention, though where you get it from can be important. If your employer has a Preferred Provider Program (PPP), you should choose a doctor or hospital that is a part of that program. You have the choice of two physicians that are within your employer’s PPP, whose costs will be covered. If you choose not to be seen by physicians in your employer’s PPP, you can be seen by one physician of your choice, but further visits must be approved. If your employer does not have a PPP, you have the choice of any two providers.

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IL work injury lawyerThough the death and injury rate for workers in the United States has decreased since the inception of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) in 1970, workplace injuries and deaths are still reported today, many stemming from inadequate workplace safety precautions. Nearly 5,200 people were killed on the job in 2016 - which is about 14 deaths per day. While not all deaths are preventable, many of them are, which is why the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has developed certain standards to keep a safe workplace.

General Duty

In the “General Duty Clause” of the OSH Act, all employers have the responsibility of providing a safe workplace that does not contain any known hazards. This rule is a generalized version of other specific rules that OSHA has for certain industries. There are four groups of OSHA standards, which include:

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Tagged in: work injury

IL injury lawyerMost workers know that if they get injured on the job they are entitled to workers’ compensation. What some people may not know is that they are also eligible to receive compensation if they develop an occupational disease or ailment from continuous employment. Exposure to things like chemicals, dust, fumes, mold, or radiation can cause permanent and often irreversible damage to a person. The process to prove these types of cases can be tedious, but it does not have to be difficult with the right person’s help.

What Types of Diseases Are Covered?

The Illinois Occupational Diseases Act does not specifically like the types of diseases and ailments that are covered under the act. The act states that any employee who sustains any disablement, impairment or disfigurement or dies due to a disease that arises from their employment, is eligible for benefits. This means that any type of disease that is caused by employment is eligible for consideration under this act. Common types of diseases can include:

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Illinois injury lawyerHead injuries are one of the most serious types of injuries a person can experience, and unfortunately, head injuries at the workplace are not uncommon. If your head injury is caused by a misplaced object, poorly maintained work environment, or by another worker, it may have been preventable.

How Head Injuries Occur

Head injuries commonly occur in the workplace from the following causes:

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Illinois injury lawyerWe frequently use this space to present relevant information pertaining to work-related injuries and deaths, high-risk careers and other workers’ compensation related topics. The array of variables and nuances impacting this important social and legal issue literally fill pages and pages of books and require copious amounts of time both in and out of the courtroom. This time around we are taking a closer look at reports indicating high-risk worker groups.

Age and Gender Play a Role

As workers and employers strive to provide and sustain equal footing in the employment market for both men and women, some evidence suggests that there is an area in which women have an edge, especially as they get older. One Canadian study presented evidence that older women are more likely to sustain an on-the-job injury than their younger counterparts. Some of the findings included:

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Illinois injury attorneyAt one time when an individual reached a certain age, often that age was 65, he or she would retire from the workforce, collect a pension, and move somewhere warm. However, as more and more people continue working into their 60s and even 70s, employers and workplace safety advocates have become aware that on-the-job safety has taken on new importance to protect an aging workforce from workplace injuries and accidents.

Age and Experience

Reports indicate that in 2010, workers age 55 or older represented more than 19 percent of the workforce and that is expected to increase to over 25 percent by the year 2020. Furthermore, by the year 2036, the number of “older” workers is expected to double. This anticipated increase is expected to affect drastically the cost of rehabilitation and compensation plans.

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Illinois injury attorneyBecause there is virtually no federal role in workers’ compensation the payments and costs related to workplace injuries vary widely from state to state. In fact, a recent study showed that medical payments were as much as 24 percent higher in Illinois than the median cost in all other states.

What Is the Cause?

It is no secret that expenses related to insurance premiums and workers’ compensation expenses are factors that many employers weigh when considering whether or not to locate an operation in a particular state.

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