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Preventing Falls in the WorkplaceAccording to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, a lack of protection against falls is the most frequently cited safety violation during workplace inspections. Falls are one of the most common causes of workplace injuries and are a threat in any working environment. Workers who suffer fall-related injuries can qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, as long as the incident occurred at work or as part of their job.

What Causes Falls?

Falls can happen from great heights or on flat surfaces. The cause can vary but often originates due to a lack of safeguards or carelessness by workers. Examples include:

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Wage Differential Benefits Can Make Up for Lost CareerSuffering a permanent disability as the result of a workplace injury can be the end of your career, but it does not have to be the end of your life as a worker. There are other careers that may be able to accommodate your physical limitations better than your previous career. However, you may be unable to find a new job that pays you as well as your previous career. You worked your way up to a higher level position in your previous career, while you are starting at the bottom of your new career. You can compensate for this loss of income by requesting wage differential benefits during your workers’ compensation case.

How It Works

The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act allows for wage differential benefits in Permanent Partial Disability cases where the injured party is incapable of continuing the same job but is able to find new work. According to the law:

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Specific Incident Needed to Collect Workers' Compensation for PTSDIn 2014, an Illinois state arbitrator awarded workers’ compensation to an Illinois State Trooper as a result of his suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. What made the case unusual was the source of the PTSD was an allegedly abusive supervisor. The trooper claimed he was suffering mental and physical anguish because the supervisor had constantly berated him while he was under the supervisor’s command. However, the decision was later overturned during an appeal. Workplace stress can gradually degrade an employee’s mental health, but the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission is unlikely to recognize this as a reason to award compensation.

Specific Trauma

Illinois claimants can receive workers’ compensation benefits for PTSD if they can site an event that caused the trauma. An event usually involves the claimant:

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Eight Common Reasons for Workplace InjuriesThough some occupations have a higher risk of injuries, workplace injuries can occur at any job and to any worker. Educating employees about workplace safety is important at every job, even in an office where employees do no physical labor. Avoiding workplace injuries requires everyone to be aware of their surroundings and their own physical limitations. Here is a list of the eight most common work-related injuries that result in employees filing workers’ compensation claims:

  1. Overexertion: The most common cause in almost every study, overexertion occurs when someone hurts a muscle or joint when attempting to move an object. Lifting an object that is too heavy can cause someone to tear, strain, or sprain his or her muscles. This is most common in labor-intensive occupations but can occur in an office when someone is moving office supplies and equipment.
  2. Falls: Slippery surfaces and obstacles on the ground can cause people to slip or trip, with the impact with the ground possibly causing contusions, lacerations, or bone fractures. Most falls occur on a flat surface, but more severe incidents may involve falling from a height, such as falling off a ladder or down a flight of stairs.
  3. Bodily Reactions: Unnatural bodily movements can cause strains and tears to muscles, such as bending, crawling, twisting and climbing. For instance, a person may prevent him or herself from falling but injure a muscle in the process of doing so.
  4. Struck By Object: Employees can suffer injuries when objects fall on them or are propelled into them. Conversely, an object can contribute to an employee’s injuries if he or she falls onto or runs into it. There are numerous objects that can cause harm in construction and retail jobs, but office workers also must watch for doors that suddenly open in a hallway.
  5. Vehicle Accidents: Any injuries from a traffic incident that occurs when an employee is driving as part of his or her work duties qualifies as a workplace injury.
  6. Machinery Accidents: Some jobs require workers to use heavy and potentially dangerous machinery. Accidents can occur in which an employee gets caught in or crushed by the machinery, resulting in severe injuries.
  7. Repetitive Motion: The process of repeating the same movement can cause conditions such as tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome. However, it is more difficult to prove these as workplace injuries because the effect is cumulative.
  8. Workplace Violence: Incidents of people attacking their coworkers are rare but garner greater attention when they do occur. Unfortunately, workplace violence has the potential to end in fatalities instead of injuries.

Receiving Compensation

Workplace injuries can require you to seek expensive medical treatment and cause you to miss time at work. A McHenry County workers’ compensation attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, can help you obtain the compensation you need. To schedule a free consultation, call 815-338-3838.

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Workers' Compensation Complicated by Out-of-State CoverageWhen purchasing workers’ compensation insurance, employers must specify which states that the policy covers. This is not a big issue for many employers because their employees all work and live in the same state. However, employers with workers based in multiple states may neglect to include all of the states in their policies. The error could be an oversight or an attempt to save money on the policy. Employers can be held liable for workers’ compensation when an employee is injured in a state that is not covered by the employer’s policy.

Recent Case

A U.S. district court recently ruled that an insurance company was not responsible for paying workers’ compensation benefits to the family of a truck driver who died in a vehicle accident while on the job. The driver worked as a subcontractor for an Iowa-based trucking company but was himself based in Illinois. He lived in Illinois, and all of his work assignments stayed within Illinois. When the company filed a workers’ compensation claim, the insurance company denied the claim because it said Iowa was the only state covered in the policy.

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