When is An Employee Eligible for Workers’ Compensation?

Posted: December 10th, 2014

 eligible for workers' compensation, injured on the job, Lake County personal injury attorneys, Noonan Perillo Ltd., work-related accidents, workers' compensationOne of the benefits of employment is the reassurance that if you are injured on the job, you will be entitled to monetary benefits to help cover the costs of treatment. What is not always clear cut, however, is exactly under what circumstances you may be eligible.

The defining term in the state legislation covers injuries sustained in “the course of employment.” What does this mean in a practical sense? It is an issue toyed over in courts all over the country.

Each year in Illinois, approximately 200,000 work-related accidents occur. Having an experienced personal injury attorney representing you is your best opportunity to make a case for compensation for an on-the-job injury. The intricacies of establishing whether or not an employee is eligible for workers’ compensation can be daunting, but the attorneys at Noonan Perillo Ltd. have extensive experience litigating workers’ compensation claims in Lake County, and understand the potential complexities involved.

Work Related or Personal Errands?

An employee who operate heavy duty machinery and suffers injuries on the job has a fairly obvious workers’ compensation case. Additionally, when an employee carries out his or her sanctioned duties, and safety precautions are in place but he or she still experiences a finger, hand, or eye injury for example, the employee would likely qualify for benefits to aid in their recovery.

The ambit of benefits can cover short term or permanent disability, partial and total limb loss, vision impairment, rehabilitation costs and more.

But, what if an employee is injured indirectly through the course of his or her employment?

Consider the following examples, some of which are proffered by the International Risk Management Institute.

  • A teacher suffers a jaw injury playing basketball in a faculty evening social game on school premises;
  • A police officer is shot at home while cleaning his approved weapon;
  • An employee is injured on his or her day off when picking up their paycheck;
  • A financial analyst suffers a heart attack at home and claims a highly stressful job as the cause;
  • An employee slips and falls on the roadway after leaving work; or
  • An employee is killed in a car collision while servicing vending machines in the area.

Not only does the concept of “within the course of employment” come into play, but the notion of whether an employee was injured while furthering the business interests of the employer also comes into play.

In addition to this, courts have to consider if an activity was open to “voluntary” participation by employees or activities contrary to business duties, horseplay, or any other situation not within the scope of employment. These instances could negate any employer responsibility.

The distinctions between a work function and personal business is key. Obviously, the burden of proof to establish a causal connection is important. If a court does not find a reasonable, direct link by way of medical expert testimony—for example, an employee’s chronic ailment which is exacerbated by a work-related scenario—it may not be grounds for compensation.

Similarly, if a court deems that evidence does not support a claim, benefits will be denied. The same is for any case where an employee is injured but cannot prove it occurred while acting under the direction of his or her employer.

With this in mind, if you have been injured at work, please contact an attorney with the depth of knowledge to assess your specific situation to fully understand your rights. There is a very small window of time available for you to report your injury to authorities to initiate the claim process. Hence, it is crucial to have an attorney representing you who is honest and fair about the merits of your case. If it is deemed you have a viable case, the Lake County personal injury attorneys at Noonan Perillo Ltd. will show a professional commitment and dedication to your case to seek compensation. Call today to schedule a complimentary consultation in our Waukegan office.

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Workers’ Compensation: Third-Party Claims

Posted: November 18th, 2014

Lake County personal injury attorney, Noonan Perillo Ltd., personal injury claim, third-party claims, workers' compensationIn the State of Illinois, workers’ compensation allows employees to receive compensation and benefits if injured on the job. There are no requirement to prove fault. Additionally, an injury may have occurred simply as a result of an inherent risk of the job description. When digging deeper into the cause of an accident, what happens when an employee is seriously injured due to a defective piece of equipment, or because of another’s negligence associated with the employee’s daily duties?

A worker may be able to file a personal injury claim for damages against a third party. However, to ensure you have a valid case, retaining a knowledgeable attorney well versed in civil litigation, is advisable.

Reaching beyond An Immediate Employer

In the event of an injury or even death on the job, Illinois has comprehensive workers’ compensation legislation that provides for monetary benefits for workers. These benefits can cover the costs associated with permanent “partial” or “total“ disability and even death. These payments may be paid weekly, or paid as a lump sum depending on the disability. Death benefits are paid for 25 years or $500,000, whichever is greater.

If, however, a workplace injury was caused by a defective product or machine, or by someone who is not a co-worker, they are deemed to be a “third party” and can be asked to pay for the injured worker’s medical expenses. This is as long as an employee can prove that the negligence of the third party contributed to the injury.

Nearly three million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses were reported by private industry employers in 2012. In Illinois, there were 172 workplace fatalities in 2013 alone. The highest incidence occurring in the transportation sector.

Several common examples why an employee may be able to file a claim against someone other than his or her direct employer include the following:

  • Construction Sites: Construction workers face a number of risky situations in their daily tasks. But, compounding that, is the substandard implementation of safety standards which creates a dangerous situation for a workers. Typical injuries include electrocution and falls from scaffolding. In these cases, the employee could bring a personal injury claim against general contractors, site supervisors, project managers or property owners.
  • Delivery/Shipping/Transportation: Often, drivers are injured on the road by another vehicle. These victims can suffer head and neck injuries and even serious internal injuries. The offending driver of the car that hit the worker (if not an employee of the worker’s company) could be subject to a claim for his or her negligent driving.
  • Manufacturing: Many employees are injured while working on a production line while using a piece of machinery, such as a power press, band saw or milling device.The manufacturer of a defective product that injures a worker could be held liable for catastrophic injuries such as compressions and crushing that lead to limb loss and vision impairment.
  • Slips, Trips and Falls: According to the National Floor Safety Institute, 22 percent of slip and fall incidents resulted in more than 31 days away from work. A fall resulting in serious injuries, including broken bones and head and spinal injuries that was neither the employer, employee, or co-worker’s fault, can be a basis for a claim against a third party. For example, another contractor on the job site may be found to have contributed to the injuries sustained.
  • Work Related Site Visits: A property owner who fails to properly maintain a safe workplace environment or an owner of an animal that bites a worker may also find themselves on the opposing side of a personal injury claim.

Contact an Experienced Lake County Personal Injury Attorney

The potential for “shared responsibility” in a workplace injury is an essential part of an employee’s recovery. Hence, it takes the legal assistance of a Lake County personal injury attorney, with the depth of knowledge, to determine if you have a case in Illinois. The team at Noonan Perillo Ltd. has a large practice area focused on workers’ compensation. We have attorneys who each have nearly 30 years of trial law experience. We understand the anguish that is suffered by workers and their families when someone is seriously hurt on the job. We also understand the types of medical costs associated with care and recovery. Our attorneys can evaluate if you have a claim for workers’ compensation AND a strong personal injury claim against a third party. Often the latter can potentially be a source of a large monetary settlement. Call our Lake County office for a complimentary consultation today.

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Workplace Fatality is Still Commonplace

Posted: September 17th, 2014

Waukegan personal injury attorney, workplace fatality, worker fatalities, workplace injury, injury compensation, workers compensation, slip and fall, tragic accident, Illinois personal injury attorneyWorking hard to provide for a family or to have the ability to enjoy lifestyle choices is an advantage of employment. Certain benefits may come with a job, including health insurance, but in some instances there may also be risks. Although the incidence of death and injury occurs less often than in years past, on average, twelve workers are killed every day on the job. In fact, some of the injuries can be catastrophic and can impair workers for long periods of time. If you have lost a loved one or have been injured at work, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.

Location

The types of injuries workers can suffer depends on the nature of work. Different locales present different scenarios which can lead to death or serious harm to employees.

Industry sectors in which workers can be at risk include:

  • Factories and warehouses where there is heavy machinery and vehicles;
  • Construction sites;
  • Employees who drive for work;
  • Retail establishments; and
  • Offices.

According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics latest numbers, transportation/warehousing, and the forestry, fishing, and agricultural industries had the highest rate of fatal injuries in 2012. Illinois reported 146 fatalities in 2012 alone, and 19 percent occurred in the transportation sector.

Roadway accidents, falls, and impacts from an object or equipment were common reasons that led to fatal occupational injuries. Some of the most horrific injuries, such as the loss of limbs or death, are sustained from use of heavy machinery where workers are crushed or struck. Slips and falls also commonly result in death or can cause serious head, neck and spinal injuries. Disturbingly, electrocution, asphyxiation and severe burns have also been reported this year by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration as reasons for worker fatalities.

Workers Compensation

When a workplace fatality or serious injury occurs in Illinois, there are legal remedies available pending the circumstances. The Illinois Workers Compensation Act provides benefits to injured workers or to a spouse in the event of a workplace fatality. In Illinois, recipients of the death benefit receive payments for 25 years or $500,000.00, whichever is greater. Recipients are eligible for cost of living adjustments. However, the circumstances surrounding the accident must first be fully investigated to ensure there was no horseplay or illegal activity which played a role in the accident.

The loss of a loved one in an unnecessary and tragic manner is devastating. There are, however, procedural and documentation requirements for filing a claim. The compassionate team at Noonan Perillo Ltd. can help you seek the justice and compensation you deserve. Seek the expertise of a Waukegan personal injury attorney who can advise you on the precise details to begin a case. Call today.

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