The state of Illinois—and indeed, the entire nation—relies heavily on the shipping industry. Each year, countless products are sent throughout the nation, all thanks to the diligent efforts of shipping employees.
Unfortunately, this industry has some inherent dangers, and it’s important for shipping workers to know their rights in the event of an injury. Illinois workers’ compensation law is intended to provide for these workers in such cases, but securing adequate compensation can be a complex process. Here, we’ll explore the nuances of workers’ compensation in the shipping industry.
Hazardous Working Environments
Whether handling large parcels or operating machinery, this industry has plenty of inherent hazards, even when adequate safety measures are in place. Injuries from overexertion or repetitive movements, falling objects, heavy machinery, or vehicle accidents can all result in long-term disability and diminish a shipping employee’s ability to work.
Whenever these injuries result from a work-related incident, the employee is entitled to adequate compensation, even if there is no fault for the injury or if the employee was in violation of established safety rules.
The injuries most commonly found in the shipping and trucking industry include:
- Head trauma: Objects falling from tall shelves or platforms can result in injuries to the face, head, or neck. This may cause long-term disability or disfigurement.
- Machine accidents: Limbs or fingers may be caught in heavy machinery, causing contusions, breaking bones, or even severing digits.
- Vehicle accidents: Some injuries occur outside the warehouse. Truck drivers can be severely injured in vehicle accidents on the road.
- Back injuries: Even with proper lifting techniques, back injuries can still occur from constantly moving product around. These can become very severe over time, resulting in diminished working capacity and constant pain.
- Repetitive stress: Repetitively lifting and moving heavy boxes and equipment around can take its toll on the body. The back, spine, knees, and other joints can all wear out from the constant stress placed upon them by heavy labor, resulting in a cumulative strain injury.
Regardless of the type of injury, if it arose in the course of fulfilling work obligations, it can be covered by workers’ compensation.
It’s important for shipping employees to be aware of their rights. Illinois workers’ comp is a no-fault system, which means the employee does not have to prove fault in order to recover compensation for their injuries.
That said, some employers may try to downplay the injury or deny that they owe the employee any compensation at all. In addition, a cumulative strain injury can present a difficult situation since many workers won’t consider it a significant injury until it’s too late.
When seeking workers’ compensation in Illinois for a shipping injury, it’s important to:
- Document everything, including doctors’ visits, when the injury occurred, and so forth
- Apply for compensation as soon as possible
- Consult with a workers’ compensation attorney
Your attorney can help you get the most that you’re owed, particularly in cases where your employer attempts to downplay your injury. Hart David Carson, LLP, can provide you with the representation and legal guidance you need to collect what you’re owed.