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How Can I Protect My Right to Compensation After Being Injured on the Job?In an average year, some three million American workers suffer a work-related injury or illness. Many are fortunate that their injuries are relatively minor and can go back to work quickly. Others, however, suffer much more serious injuries, including spine and head injuries, which cause them to miss work for long periods of time. In the most severe cases, the injuries can be catastrophic, leading to permanent disability or even death. Regardless of the severity of the injury, all injured workers need to know how to ensure their rights are protected as they seek compensation for their injuries — especially if they are seeking benefits under the Illinois workers’ compensation system.

Report Your Injury Quickly

When you suffer an injury at work, you should report the injury to your employer right away or as soon as reasonably possible. You must report your injury within 45 days or you risk losing your eligibility for work comp benefits. If the incident in question involves radiation exposure, the reporting deadline is extended to 90 days. Do not risk losing your benefits. Report your injury to your employer immediately.

Keep a Copy of Your Records

Nobody likes extra paperwork, but the documentation of the nature, extent, and treatment of your injury will be critical in getting you the benefits you deserve. Get and keep a copy of your initial injury report as well as any records that are available from your treating doctors and facilities. These records are especially important if you are seeking disability benefits or if your employer is disputing your claim in any way. By having your own copies of your records, you ensure that you and your lawyer have access to everything you need to pursue compensation.

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Four Work Hazards for Healthcare ProfessionalsThe healthcare profession has one of the highest rates of workplace injuries among any industry in the U.S. Employees regularly perform physical labor and are exposed to hazardous substances and conditions. All employees are at risk of injury or illness when working at a hospital, whether they are doctors and nurses or the support staff. As with any industry, healthcare professionals are entitled to workers’ compensation if they suffer a work-related injury. Here are four common causes of workplace injuries for healthcare workers:

  1. Handling Patients: Nurses and attendants suffer musculoskeletal injuries at a higher rate than the workers in other industries, including construction workers. Nurses often need to carry, move, or reposition patients who are incapable of doing so themselves. The increasing rate of patient obesity makes moving them more difficult. Nurses can suffer shoulder and back injuries because of the repeated strain and fatigue of moving patients. Some nurses are compelled to change careers because their bodies cannot handle the strain.
  2. Slipping: Slips, trips, and falls are the second-most-common cause of injuries for healthcare workers, after overexertion. Cleanliness is important in a healthcare environment, but workers can accidentally spill liquids or powders, which may create a slippery surface. Hospitals are filled with equipment that busy workers can accidentally walk into or trip over. The equipment may cause further injury if an employee falls onto it.
  3. Exposure to Illness and Hazardous Substances: Healthcare workers often interact with patients who have infectious diseases. Their work may also require them to handle hazardous chemicals or radioactive materials. Wearing protective clothing and frequent sanitization reduces the risk of exposure but does not eliminate it. Employees can develop chronic illnesses from their exposure, which limits their ability to work and decreases their quality of life.
  4. Workplace Violence: Patients who are sick or injured may behave violently towards the healthcare professionals who are trying to help them. Sometimes, a patient’s threat of violence becomes a physical attack. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recognizes workplace violence as a hazard in the healthcare industry and encourages employers to create a violence prevention program to protect their employees.

Caring for Healthcare Workers

Your work-related injuries can make you less effective in helping your patients and put you at risk of further injury if not properly treated. A McHenry County workers’ compensation attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, can help you receive workers’ compensation benefits by showing that your injury is related to your work. To schedule a free consultation, call 815-338-3838.

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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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Suing a Third Party for a Workplace InjuryThe Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act was created in part so that injured workers would not need to file personal injury lawsuits against their employers. As long as the employer has workers’ compensation insurance, the employer can cover the worker’s medical expenses without a direct cost to itself. By collecting the workers’ compensation benefits, the worker is not allowed to sue the employer for additional damages. However, an injured worker can file a personal injury lawsuit against a third party who was responsible for the injury. The worker may seek the damages in addition to his or her workers’ compensation.

Benefits of Lawsuits

Workers’ compensation benefits are meant to pay for the medical expenses needed for a worker to reach maximum medical improvement. Workers may also be compensated for lost pay if they are disabled and unable to fully return to work. Workers can receive greater compensation with a personal injury lawsuit because they can also request money for:

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Differences Between Workers' Compensation and Personal InjuryThe similarities between workers’ compensation and personal injury cases can make them at times difficult to distinguish. Both involve people being injured and needing monetary compensation in order to pay for recovery. In the simplest terms, workers’ compensation is a personal injury that occurs as a result of someone’s work. Workers’ compensation laws were created to help injured workers without having to sue their employers or coworkers. By accepting workers’ compensation benefits, an employee waives his or her right to sue an employer. However, there are more differences between workers' compensation and personal injury cases than the circumstances of the injury. In some cases, an employee injured at work may have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit.

Need for Fault

In personal injury lawsuits, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant was at fault for his or her injury. Workers’ compensation claims require the claimant to prove that his or her injury arose from work. In most cases, it is easier to prove the latter than the former. The source of an injury is more based on facts than determining who was a fault for the injury. By allowing a workers’ compensation claim, the employer is not admitting negligence and is covered by its insurance.

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