PRESS RELEASE: LETTER TO EDITOR
When you sustain an injury that arises out of and in the course of your employment, you are generally entitled to, at the very least, 3 basic rights under the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act ("Act"). You are entitled to 100% coverage of your medical bills, compensation for lost wages resulting from the work accident, and a settlement at the end of your case. If you do in fact have an injury that your doctor feels temporarily but completely incapacitates you from working, you are eligible for Temporary Total Disability (TTD) benefits. Your period of temporary and total disability continues until your treating doctor(s) have determined that you are at Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI). Being placed at MMI means that you have recovered as much as the permanent nature of your injury will permit, and no further treatment will provide any benefit to you. The Illinois Supreme Court has determined that the dispositive inquiry regarding TTD eligibility is whether or not you have reached MMI. Interstate Scaffolding, Inc., v Illinois Workers' Compensation Comm'n, 236 Ill.2d 132, 142, 923 N.E.2d 266 (2010).
We have recently come across a problem that is affecting several of our clients and potential clients. We have had several situations of cases where potential clients are being told by their employers to report to their medical providers that an accident that occurred at work actually occurred at home or some other place that has nothing to do with the work place. The employers are attempting to do this in order to avoid making a workers compensation claim against their insurance or other coverage. However, in our experience most of the employers who are taking these kind of actions generally have some kind of problem with their workers compensation insurance or they make empty promises about how they will pay any medical bills that are generated from workers comp related medical treatment out of pocket instead of turning it into insurance.
Illinois workers as well as their employers may want to know that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has postponed the enforcement of the illness and injury record-keeping rule that it had issued earlier in 2016 to Dec.1. This is so that any misunderstanding regarding the post-accident testing of employees can be corrected. There is also a chance that the legal opposition initiated by certain employer groups could prevent the rules from being enforced on that date.
According to a report issued by the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2015 almost 3 million individuals sustained nonfatal workplace illnesses or injuries that were reported by an employer. Over half of them had to take time off, be transferred to another job or had restricted work duties. Illinois employees may want to know the five industries in which workers are most likely to incur an injury.
After you finish receiving medical treatment for your workers' compensation accident, your attorneys will attempt to reach a settlement with the insurance carrier and/or attorney for the employer. If negotiations do not resolve in a settlement, then your workers' compensation case will have to be tried before an Arbitrator. A hearing date will be selected to try the case when your case appears on the Illinois Workers' Compensation Docket. Your case will appear on the workers' compensation docket in a city close to where you were injured.
In March 2016, the Federal Railroad Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration proposed a regulatory change that would require truck drivers and certain railroad workers in Illinois and around the country to undergo obstructive sleep apnea testing. The public was given until July 8 to submit feedback about the proposed rule, and 593 comments were subsequently received. While many of these comments supported the measure, some people questioned the costs involved.
Nurses in Illinois may be interested to learn that according to a report prepared by Aon Global Risk Consulting, the frequency of workers' compensation claims in the health care industry is expected to decrease. However, the seriousness of claims has been increasing. The report identified three significant areas as emerging risks.
Illinois workplaces like construction sites and factory floors can be extremely loud. That's why workers who perform their duties in these types of environments are usually encouraged to wear ear protection to prevent hearing loss. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 20 million Americans are exposed to dangerous levels of workplace noise each year. Workers in the mining, construction and manufacturing sectors have the highest risks of getting some type of hearing injury.
While an OSHA inspection can make any Illinois dairy farm owner nervous, there are things that can be done ahead of time to reduce that stress. First, any potential hazards should be identified and plans made to reduce or eliminate those hazards. Once that has been done, it is time to educate and train employees about those hazards and how they can stay safe while on the job.