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Dangers of Electrical Work Go Beyond ElectrocutionElectricians are at greater risk of injury than many other professions because of the nature of their work. An accident with live electricity can cause severe injuries or even death. However, an electrical shock is not the most common workplace injury for electricians, and people in other professions can also be at risk of electricity-based injuries. Whether you are an electrician or work in another field, you will likely need workers’ compensation benefits to pay for your recovery after a workplace injury involving electricity.

Risks for Electricians

An electrician’s work is dangerous, and accidents can occur even when professionals are being cautious. Electricians are most likely to suffer an injury from:

  1. Falls: Electricians often work on wiring in high places, requiring them to use ladders or lay on high perches. They may lose their balance and fall while concentrating on precise and dangerous electrical work.
  2. Electric Shock: Coming into contact live electricity can result in an immediate electric shock. A severe shock can cause burns, limb paralysis, or death.
  3. Flash Burns: An electrical explosion creates extreme heat that burns anyone close to it and shoots off small pieces of metal shrapnel that can damage people’s skin and eyes.
  4. Chemical Inhalation: An electrician may be exposed to harmful substances such as asbestos when working in older buildings or construction sites.
  5. Repetitive Stress: The physical requirements of electrical work can gradually wear out someone’s body. Electricians regularly bend themselves in awkward positions and do intensive manual labor, which puts stress on their joints and hands.

Falls are the most common source of work injuries for electricians, and repetitive stress will likely develop into chronic pain for someone who stays with the career. However, electric shocks and explosions have the greatest potential to cause catastrophic or fatal injuries.

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Car Seat Safety Protects Children During AccidentsIllinois is enacting a child car seat law at the beginning of 2019 that will require children younger than 2 to be placed in rear-facing car seats. A front-end collision is dangerous to infants facing forwards because the forward momentum during a sudden stop can hurt their necks and heads. A rear-facing car seat absorbs the impact of a front-end collision and better secures a child’s head and neck. There are several other ways to protect your children in case of a vehicle accident, some of which are Illinois law requirements:

  1. Consider Child’s Size: Although the law creates an age cutoff, you should not assume that your child is ready for a front-facing car seat when he or she turns 2. Safety researchers recommend that children continue riding in rear-facing car seats until they weigh more than 40 pounds or are more than 40 inches tall.
  2. Dress in Thinner Layers: You should firmly strap your child into the car seat, but bulky clothing items can compress during a crash, causing the restraints to be looser. It is advised that you dress your child in a thinner layer of clothing and place a coat or blanket on top of the seat.
  3. Car Seats Required Until 8: Illinois law states that any child younger than 8 must be secured in a child safety seat, such as a front-facing car seat or a booster seat. For children in booster seats, the lap belt should go across the child’s thighs, and the shoulder belt should go across his or her chest and shoulder. Your child should not use a booster seat if there is not a shoulder belt.
  4. Keep Children in Back: Researchers recommend that children sit in the back seat of a car until they are 12. The front row of seats is a layer of protection for them in case of a front-end collision. The force of the airbag being deployed can also be dangerous for your children.

Contact a McHenry County Personal Injury Attorney

You may receive a fine if you fail to secure your child in a car seat as mandated by Illinois law. However, violating a car seat law does not affect your ability to receive personal injury compensation if someone else was at fault for the vehicle accident that injured your child. A Crystal Lake, Illinois, personal injury attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, can help you file a lawsuit to collect damages for your child’s injury. Schedule a free consultation by calling 815-338-3838.

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Jail Informants to Face Tougher Vetting in Criminal TrialsIllinois has passed a law that puts greater restrictions on prosecutors using jail informants as witnesses in criminal trials. According to the law:

  • Prosecutors must disclose their intention to use a jail informant at least 30 days before a hearing unless they were unaware of the informant before that deadline; and
  • The court must determine the veracity of the jail informant’s testimony before allowing it to be entered as evidence.

The law previously required vetting of jail informants only in cases involving the death penalty, but Illinois abolished the death penalty in 2011. Advocates for the law argued that unreliable informant testimony led to wrongful convictions that were overturned decades later. There have been 19 such cases in Illinois during the past three decades, according to the National Registry of Exonerations.

Problems with Informants

A jail informant, also known as a snitch, is an inmate who allegedly heard the defendant make an incriminating statement and agrees to testify against him or her in court. Criminal defense attorneys will question the reliability of informants because prosecutors often offer incentives to informants in exchange for their testimony, such as:

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Firearms Restraining Order Takes Guns Away from Domestic ThreatsLast month’s deadly shooting at Mercy Hospital in Chicago shocked many in the community, but there were warning signs of the danger that the shooter posed. His former wife, one of the victims, had received an order of protection against him before divorcing him. Court records show that she told authorities that she feared her husband could threaten her with a gun because he had slept with a gun under his pillow and once pulled the gun on a realtor. Despite that and other reported incidents in which he threatened gun violence, the man had a concealed carry license and had legally purchased four guns in the last five years. Some wonder whether a firearms restraining order could have prevented the eventual shooting.

Protection from Gun Violence

Illinois passed a law earlier this year that created a firearms restraining order. As with an order of protection, a person can petition for a firearms restraining order without the subject having been arrested or charged for a violent offense. If the court grants the order, the subject must:

  • Turn over his or her firearms, Firearm Owner’s Identification Card, and concealed carry license; and
  • Not possess any firearms for the duration of the order, which usually is six months.

A legal firearms owner living with the subject is allowed to keep his or her firearms as long as they are secured so that the subject cannot access them.

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How a Functional Capacity Evaluation Affects Workers' CompensationThere are some workplace injuries from which you may never fully recover. If your injury permanently restricts your ability to perform your job, you may qualify for long-term workers’ compensation benefits, such as Permanent Partial Disability or Permanent Total Disability. You can also receive compensation to pay for vocational training for a new career. Your employer’s insurance company will want proof that you can no longer perform your work duties. Your doctor may recommend a Functional Capacity Evaluation to determine your physical capabilities.

FCE Process

An FCE is a series of tests that attempt to simulate the physical requirements of your job. The exam mainly measures your strength, flexibility, and stamina, though some exams will also test your cognitive abilities. An FCE can take as long as eight hours, depending on the number of tests that must be performed. Common tests include:

  • Pushing and pulling;
  • Lifting;
  • Carrying;
  • Positional tolerance;
  • Range-of-motion testing; and
  • Hand dexterity testing.

The examiner will look at your ability to complete the tests and the amount of pain it causes you. Your doctor will review the FCE results and make a recommendation on whether you are capable of returning to work.

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