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Workers’ Compensation Covers Violence Against EmployeesThe threat of workplace injuries can sometimes come from intentional actions by other people. Acts of violence against workers are not uncommon in jobs that require people to work overnight and frequently interact with the public. Employees at 24-hour fast food and convenience stores are often at risk of being attacked or threatened by robbers or irate customers. As with any work-related injury, you can file a workers’ compensation claim in order to pay for healthcare expenses and reimburse you for lost wages due to time missed at work.

How to Qualify

Workers’ compensation benefits can cover your injuries from a physical attack as long as:

  • You were put in the position to be attacked because of your work
  • You were not the aggressor in the incident

For instance, being attacked while walking from your vehicle to the building where you work would qualify because you would not have been there if not for your job. As for being the aggressor, you are allowed to defend yourself against attack, but the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission has denied claims when the worker was injured because they decided to pursue and engage the attacker after the attacker had already withdrawn. In other words, you risk losing your claim if you continue the fight after your attacker has stopped, even though you were not the one who started the fight.

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Lung Disease from Vaping Can Be Subject to Product Liability LawsuitsE-cigarettes were introduced to consumers more than a decade ago as a safer alternative to smoking tobacco products. Vaping has caught on with younger smokers, partly due to its cleaner image and the variety of flavors. However, it has become clear that e-cigarettes are not as safe as their manufacturers claimed. There are hundreds of cases of e-cigarette users developing lung diseases, with several patients dying as a result. If you have developed a lung disease due to vaping, the manufacturer may be liable for your personal injury if the product did not warn you about the risk.

Dangers of Vaping

While e-cigarettes may contain fewer toxins than normal cigarettes, that does not make them safe to use, particularly for teens and pregnant women. Most e-cigarettes still contain nicotine and chemicals that can cause cancer and lung disease. Long-term vaping is believed to lead to several diseases, including:

  • Pneumonia
  • Asthma
  • Lung cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Emphysema
  • Bronchitis

The device itself has also been dangerous to consumers because of numerous incidents in which the battery exploded. Because e-cigarette users often carry the device in their pocket, an explosion can cause serious burn and shrapnel injuries.

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U.S. Supreme Court Will Not Rule on Illinois Felony Murder LawDespite the controversy over Illinois’ felony murder law, the state does not seem to be close to amending the criminal law that allows prosecutors to charge certain defendants with first-degree murder despite them not causing the death or intending to kill the victim. The law states that a person who participates in a forcible felony may be charged with murder if someone dies during the incident, including an accomplice in the crime. An Illinois defendant recently appealed his felony murder conviction to the U.S. Supreme Court after the Illinois Supreme Court had upheld the constitutionality of the law. However, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case.

Examples

In the recently appealed case, two men were convicted of murder because they were involved in a burglary incident in which police had killed a third suspect. The three men were burglarizing an electronics store when police officers surrounded the building. The men attempted to flee in a vehicle, and the officers shot at them 77 times. One of the men was killed, and the other two were injured. Illinois’ felony murder law allowed the defendants to be charged with murder even though it was the police officers who shot and killed the third man. One defendant was sentenced to 25 years in prison, while the other was sentenced to 20 years.

In a recent high-profile Illinois case, five teens were initially charged with murder when a property owner shot and killed a sixth teen when they were attempting to burglarize his vehicle. The state’s attorney later dropped the murder charges after public pressure.

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Posted on in Family Law

How to Contest Paternity of a ChildIllinois law has presumptions of paternity that help men establish their rights as fathers. If a child was conceived or born during a marriage, the husband of the mother is presumed to be the biological father of the child. If the parents are unmarried, the father can sign a voluntary acknowledgment of parentage (VAP) form that will list him as the biological father on the child’s birth certificate. However, these same laws can become an obstacle if a man believes that he is not the biological father of a child and does not want to be responsible for the child.

Paternity and Marriage

Most husbands have no reason to believe that they are not the biological father to their wife’s child unless they used a sperm donor to conceive the child. If you learn that your wife conceived the child through infidelity, you may understandably be upset and wish to have nothing to do with your wife or the child. However, you cannot sever your financial obligation to the child by divorcing your wife and proving that you are not the biological father. You would still be responsible for paying child support until the child becomes an adult. To deny paternity in Illinois, you must:

  • Sign a denial of parentage form
  • Identify the biological father of the child
  • Have the biological father sign a VAP form

Illinois wants a child to have two legal parents to ensure that they are financially supported by more than one parent. If you cannot identify the biological father, you will still be the legal father of the child, even if a DNA test proves that you are not the biological father. If the biological father refuses to sign the VAP form, you will have to challenge your paternity in court if you want to transfer parental obligations to the biological father.

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Receiving Survivor’s Benefits From Workers’ CompensationWorkers who have been seriously injured on the job can take some comfort in the fact that they survived. According to the U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration, 5,147 workers in the U.S. died in 2017, which is more than 14 workers a day. When someone dies on the job, it is their family that suffers the most – both emotionally and from the loss of a financial provider. Illinois’ workers’ compensation system allows surviving family members to receive benefits when someone has died due to a work-related incident.

What Can You Receive?

The death benefits paid to survivors is equal to two-thirds of the deceased worker’s gross weekly wages from the 52 weeks before their death and also includes compensation for funeral expenses based on the average rate in the state. The benefits will be paid at the same interval as the worker received their wages, or weekly if that is not feasible. Twice a year, the state adjusts the maximum and minimum weekly benefits that survivors can receive based on the cost of living. Until Jan. 14, 2020, survivors can receive no more than $1,529.84 per week and no less than $573.69 per week. Beneficiaries can also negotiate to receive the payments in a lump sum.

Who Can Receive Benefits?

Workers’ compensation benefits are meant to go to the people who were financially dependent upon the deceased worker:

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