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August 2016 Archives

Truck drivers may face lower speed limits

Drivers in Illinois and throughout the country might notice large trucks going more slowly on highways if a proposal by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is enacted. Under the proposal, the speed of vehicles that are newly built and weight more than 26,000 pounds will be limited to 60, 65 or 68 miles per hour.

When is a Worker entitled to receive Temporary Total Disability Benefits?

An injured worker who is kept off work by a treating physician, while undergoing treatment, is entitled to receive 2/3 of his average weekly wage. This is called temporary total disability. This is defined as regular pay, not overtime pay, unless the overtime is mandatory. These benefits are paid while the Petitioner is in active treatment and is unable to work due to his work related injury. No deductions, such as taxes or Social Security, are taken from the temporary total disability check. However, there are exceptions. For example, child support will be taken out if it is owed.
A treating physician also includes, a chiropractor who keeps the worker off work, providing his treatment is deemed to be reasonable and necessary and there is an indication that the injured worker is benefiting from the medical treatment received.
If the physician releases the injured worker to return to work with restrictions and the employer is unable to provide accommodations for the restrictions, then the worker is entitled to continue to receive the temporary total disability benefits. These benefits will continue until the injured worker's medical condition has stabilized and he has reached maximum medical improvement. Maximum medical improvement occurs when the injured worker has reached a state where his or her condition cannot be improved by any additional treatment. This does not mean that the injured worker's medical condition is what it was prior to the time of the injury. Quite often, when the injured worker has reached medical maximum medical improvement, he still is having problems associated with his injury. Those difficulties are factored in when a case is tried before an arbitrator or when a case is settled.
If the employer fails to pay the temporary total disability benefits without a reasonable excuse, they are subject to penalties. That is one reason why the injured worker is required, by the Illinois Workers Compensation Act, to be examined by a physician chosen by the employer. This is called an independent medical examination. If, in fact, the doctor chosen, has a legitimate reason for stating that the injured worker is not entitled to receive temporary total disability benefits, then penalties will not be assessed against the employer. This does not mean, however, that the arbitrator will not still award the temporary total disability benefits, as it would be an issue to be determined by the Illinois Workers Compensation Commission.
Finally, you should be aware that when an injured worker receives temporary total disability benefits for an extended period of time, the insurance company will more than likely hire surveillance to follow you around to see if you are violating the restrictions.

Impairment Rating

In 2011, the law changed as to how your permanent partial disability, your settlement/award is calculated. The Illinois Workers' Compensation was amended to reflect that in all cases when the accident occurs after September 1, 2011, the Judge in calculating compensation/permanent partial disability should base its determination on factors including (i) An impairment rating; (ii) Occupation of the injured employee; (iii) Age of the employee at the time of the injury; (iv) employee's future earning capacity; and (v) evidence of disability corroborated by the treating medical records. 820 ILCS 305/8.1b (West 2012)) provides as follows with respect to the determination of PPD benefits: Impairment rating pursuant to AMA six edition is nothing but a grid system. Impairment is not the same thing as disability, the measure used to determine the compensation for the injured employee. The rating does not count for your pain, permanent restrictions, multiple injuries and prospective medical treatment. The insurance companies have been very fond of the impairment rating because some Judges in the past have given a lesser award in cases where there has been an impairment rating done. Traditionally, the impairment rating has not been required, but is usually done if the employer requests it.

3 approaches to assigning liability for slip and fall accidents

Hazards to personal safety exist throughout Illinois. A broken stair rail or icy sidewalk could cause a person to slip or fall. In some cases, victims might be partially at fault for their injuries, but laws have been developed that could allow such injury victims to still recover a portion of damages. The legal rules of contributory negligence, pure comparative negligence and modified comparative negligence guide the determination of liability.

New Computer Tools Aid In Diagnosing Concussions

How can you tell if a person has suffered a concussion after a fall or blow to the head? It's not always easy. A doctor must administer an array of tests to measure a person's cognitive abilities, such as memory, reaction time and word skills. The doctor may also order a CT scan or MRI to see if there is any internal bleeding in the cranial cavity.

Drowsy driving problems in Illinois

A lack of sleep can lead to symptoms that are similar to those caused by drinking too much alcohol. This could explain why drowsy driving is a problem on the roadways. An estimated 5,000 people were killed in 2015 due to accidents caused by drowsy driving. This information was published on Aug. 8 in a report by the Governors Highway Safety Association.

Slip and Fall accidents

Nothing can be more frustrating to an injured individual than to find out that those they assumed were responsible for their injury doesn't owe them a thing! Unfortunately that is the bad news we are frequently faced with delivering when a potential client has come to us for help after falling or otherwise becoming injured on someone else's property. The first shocking piece of news is that just by virtue of being on someone else's property when you are hurt doesn't automatically make that property owner liable to you. You must be able to point the finger at them and say "if it weren't for you doing this...or not doing this...I wouldn't have been hurt." The second eye-opener is when we explain to them just what it takes to obtain recovery for those injuries.

Businesses may be liable for patrons' injuries

Business owners in Illinois are responsible for keeping their premises safe for customers, employees and anyone else who visits. When guests at an unsafe business location get injured, the owner could face premises liability claims. Due to the nature of most commercial leases, commercial landlords are usually not liable for customers' injuries on the premises.

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