Articles Posted in Workers Compensation

Slip and fall injuries are fairly common, and many personal injury cases involve these types of incidents. However, if they happen on the job, they will be treated quite a bit differently than they would under normal circumstances. When you slip and fall at work, your claim goes through workers’ compensation rather than personal injury law.

Various workplace scenarios may lead to a slip and fall injury, including spills, obstacles in high traffic areas, ice and water accumulation, and so forth. Given the risk, it’s important to know how to handle these claims.

Work Injuries and Fault

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Working at night comes with a host of risks ranging from health problems to an increased potential for injury. Studies have shown that those who work at night are at a much higher risk of work-related accidents, meaning workers’ compensation is often necessary.

Physical Injuries

By nature, human beings are physiologically designed to be awake during the day and asleep at night. When this pattern is disrupted, it diminishes the quantity and quality of sleep that workers can achieve. This leads to higher levels of fatigue, lower cognitive functioning, and a subsequently increased risk of workplace accidents. Night shift workers tend to be less aware of potential risks and may not take countermeasures to prevent accidents, making injury more likely.

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Ideally, a work injury would result in you getting perfectly adequate compensation with minimal fuss. Your employer would take on the liability and move on, making sure all the while that you’re well cared for.

Unfortunately, the world doesn’t work that way. Companies do all that they can to keep their expenses down, and there could be some friction against their employees as a result. In like manner, it doesn’t do for employees to try to take full advantage of their employers, so there has to be some push-and-pull in place.

Settlement negotiations help make sure both parties are treated fairly when it comes to workers’ compensation. That said, Illinois law does favor the employee in most cases, but that only comes into play if you have adequate representation.

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Workplace injuries are often fairly straightforward. If you are injured by operating a piece of machinery or falling from scaffolding, for instance, it’s easy to connect the injury to your work and to receive the compensation you need for medical bills, lost time at work, disability, etc. Even in repetitive stress injuries such as back injuries or carpal tunnel, most doctors will be able to trace the injury back to the workplace.

Chemical exposure injuries are a different matter, however. It can take months or even years for symptoms of chemical exposure to manifest, making it very difficult to connect your condition to your occupation.

Common Instances of Chemical Exposure

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The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act is designed to protect employees from the risks inherent in their line of work. It makes sure employees are covered if they suffer an injury by holding employers responsible for covering the costs. However, independent contractors aren’t covered by the provisions under Illinois workers’ compensation law, so if they’re injured on the job, they’ll need to find some other way of paying their bills.

The Role of Independent Contractors

An employee’s role is fairly straightforward: you’re hired by a company to work certain hours and perform certain responsibilities. An independent contractor, on the other hand, is typically their own employer. As such, they hire out their services to clients, but aren’t considered to be an employee of those clients.

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Under Illinois law, employers have a duty to provide workers’ compensation coverage to their employees. This means that one way or another, they are responsible for the costs of injuries sustained on the job among their employees. In most cases, this takes the form of workers’ compensation insurance.

In some scenarios, employers may also self-insure, but only if they meet certain requirements. In this case, they pay the costs of workplace injuries directly.

In either case, the onus of paying for workers’ compensation should never fall upon the employee. Workers are not to pay for their workplace injuries, nor should they be held responsible in any way for any portion of the cost.

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Suffering a work-related injury entitles you to workers’ compensation benefits, but in some cases, your employer may try to either reduce the amount you are entitled to or deny benefits completely. In these cases, you can appeal the decision by requesting a hearing from the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission (IWCC). Depending on the nature of the claim, appealing a decision can become a long and complicated process, so you will need to be aware of your options and the resources available to you.

Reasons for Denial

Before making an appeal, it’s important to know why your workers’ compensation was denied. Possible reasons why employers deny benefits include:

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A workplace injury is a heavy trial, especially if it leaves you disabled. Getting fired only makes things more difficult.

Employers are obligated by Illinois law to pay you disability benefits, even if you no longer work with them. However, they may try various methods to avoid that obligation. One of those methods may involve denying coverage by virtue of your being fired.

Instances in Which Firing May Occur

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While a large portion of workplace injuries aren’t immediately life-threatening, there are also many that require emergency medical attention. This is a necessary step in recovering from your injury, but it may not always be clear how it will affect your workers’ compensation, especially given the expense of these visits. Workers’ compensation law is ultimately intended to cover the costs of medical treatment received for workplace injuries, so ideally, everything should work out in your favor.

However, it may not always be that simple. The main concerns with getting your emergency medical treatment covered is when it comes to your choice of doctors and the influence of your employer’s insurance company.

Choice of Doctors

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If you are injured while on the job, you are entitled to workers’ compensation. Illinois law requires most employers to carry workers’ comp insurance, which means your claim will most likely be processed by an insurance company. In many cases, you are able to get what you are owed without any problems, but often, your claim may be denied or unfairly reduced.

Tactics Used By Insurance Companies

The motive of an insurance company, like any other business, is to turn a profit. One way to maximize profits is, unfortunately, to minimize costs. This means paying out as little as possible to claimants for their injuries. Some of the ways your employer’s insurance company may try to decrease the amount they are obligated to pay include the following:

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