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How Workplace Injuries Can Lead to AmputationAccording to a 2017 survey by the U.S. Bureau of Labor, one out of every 20,000 workers suffers a workplace injury that results in or requires an amputation. However, that statistic is deceptive because it includes all workers, including those at jobs where there is virtually no chance of someone losing a body part. Manufacturing, construction, and agriculture are the industries with the highest rate of amputation injuries, which may be as high as 2.1 out of every 10,000 workers. There are several reasons why amputation injuries are more likely to occur in these industries.

What Causes Amputations?

A workplace injury may result in someone losing a body part if the part was cut off during the incident or damaged to the point that a doctor was forced to amputate it. According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, amputation injuries can occur when a worker:

  • Operates a machine that is used for actions such as cutting, pressing, grinding, and crushing
  • Sets up or performs maintenance on these machines
  • Handles heavy materials that may fall on and crush a body part
  • Uses tools that are capable of cutting or otherwise severely injuring someone

How Do You Prevent Amputation Injuries?

OSHA states that amputation injuries most often occur because guards on the machinery are not being used, workers are inadequately trained to use the equipment, or proper safety procedures are not in place. To prevent these accidents, OSHA advises that employers should make sure that:

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What Makes Rush Hour Driving Dangerous?For most people, rush hour is their least favorite time of day to drive anywhere. The periods between 7:30 and 9:30 a.m. and 4 and 6 p.m. on weekdays are when most people are traveling to and from work, causing heavy traffic congestion on roadways where you can normally travel at a high speed. Unfortunately, traffic crashes are common occurrences during rush hour because it combines several factors that increase the risk of getting into an accident. By being aware of these factors, you may be able to avoid your own traffic crash:

  1. There Is Less Room to Maneuver: Rear-ending a vehicle is one of the most common types of accidents during rush hour. Vehicles are often packed together, leaving less space than normal between them. When a vehicle in front of you unexpectedly stops or enters your lane, you have less time to respond and avoid an accident. You can better avoid hitting a vehicle by leaving extra space in front of you and driving cautiously.
  2. Everyone Is in a Hurry: Rush hour drivers are anxious to get to work on time or get home after work. Slow traffic makes many drivers impatient, which leads to speeding up whenever they get the chance and looking to change lanes in hopes that a different lane will be quicker. Though you may be in a hurry to reach your destination, your safety is your primary concern while driving. Avoid changing lanes unless it is part of your travel route. If slow traffic is a frequent problem, try leaving earlier to give yourself more time.
  3. Road Rage Can Flare Up: Some drivers’ reactions to rush hour traffic go beyond impatience. They may become furious at other drivers and the situation in general. Drivers with road rage are more likely to behave aggressively and make poor decisions. Try to remain calm and not engage with angry drivers.
  4. Sun Glare Is at Its Worst: Rush hour traffic often coincides with the times of day when the sun is rising and setting. Depending on the direction you are driving, you may have a problem with sunlight shining in your eyes and blinding you. It is important to use the sun visors in your vehicle and wear sunglasses.

Contact a McHenry County Personal Injury Lawyer

Suffering a vehicle accident during rush hour may cause serious injuries that require extensive medical treatment. If another driver was at fault for the crash, a Crystal Lake, Illinois, personal injury attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, can help you receive compensation for your medical expenses and personal suffering. Schedule a free consultation by calling 815-338-3838.

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How Weapons Can Lead to an Armed Violence Charge in IllinoisMany criminal charges you can face in Illinois become more serious if you are accused of possessing or using a weapon. Robbery is a Class 2 felony, but armed robbery is a Class X felony. Assault is a Class C misdemeanor, but assault with a deadly weapon can be a Class A misdemeanor or Class 4 felony, depending on the identity of the victim. Illinois considers the presence of a deadly weapon during a crime to be an aggravating offense because of the potential for death or serious injury. With this in mind, Illinois created a criminal charge called armed violence in 2012.

What Is Armed Violence?

Armed violence is the possession of a deadly weapon or discharge of a firearm while committing a felony that is not predicated on using the weapon. For instance, possessing a gun while being arrested for felony drug possession is armed violence, but attempted murder with a gun is a different offense. There are three categories of weapons under the armed violence law:

  • Category I includes firearms that are small enough to be concealed, semiautomatic weapons, and machine guns.
  • Category II includes all other firearms and sharp weapons meant for cutting or stabbing.
  • Category III includes weapons meant for striking, such as a bludgeon or metal knuckles.

Most armed violence charges are Class X felonies with different prison sentencing requirements. Possession of a Category II weapon has a minimum of 10 years in prison, and possession of a Category I weapon has a minimum of 15 years. Discharge of a Category I or II firearm results in a minimum of 20 years in prison. Harming someone by discharging a Category I or II firearm results in 25 to 40 years in prison.

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Should You Be Flexible with Your Parenting Plan?A parenting plan is a detailed outline that divorced parents use to determine how they will share their responsibility for their children. It can take great effort to create a parenting plan, particularly if the parents disagree on how to divide parenting time and raise the children. Once you have hammered out and approved a parenting agreement, does that mean you should never deviate from it? There are some situations when being flexible is best for your children and beneficial to you and your co-parent. In other situations, it is important to defend the integrity of the plan.

When to Be Flexible

Co-parents sometimes discover that they need to adjust their parenting plan because it is not working the way they intended. You need to request a modification of your parenting plan in court if you want to make a permanent change to the plan. What if you have an unusual situation in which deviating from your parenting plan this one time makes the most sense? This most often occurs with parenting time schedules, such as when:

  • A parent is not available during their normal parenting time
  • A child’s schedule temporarily conflicts with parenting time
  • An emergency occurs and a parent needs someone to look after the children

It is impractical to go to court for every one-time change in your parenting plan. Instead, you and your co-parent should discuss how you can temporarily adjust your parenting plan to fit your unusual circumstance. Your parenting agreement can even state that you will allow changes to the plan for isolated situations as long as both sides agree to it.

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What Happens When an IME Conflicts with Your Doctor’s Report?You may have appointments with multiple doctors after suffering a work-related injury. Your treating physician is your primary doctor who will diagnose your injuries, administer your treatment and monitor your recovery until you have reached maximum medical improvement. If you are filing a workers’ compensation claim, your employer can order you to visit a physician for an independent medical exam (IME). The IME doctor will give the workers’ compensation insurer an opinion on whether the workplace incident caused your injuries, the extent of your injuries, and whether you are capable of returning to work. Sometimes, the IME report will contradict your physician’s report, forcing you to settle the dispute with an arbitrator.

Difference of Opinion

Workers’ compensation attorneys often find the opinions from IMEs to be dubious because the insurance company is paying the physician for the service. An IME doctor is supposed to be independent, but insurance companies will regularly use doctors who have a history of giving opinions that favor the companies in workers’ compensation cases. How can an IME doctor give a credible medical report that contradicts the findings of other physicians? The doctor may:

  • Search your medical history for other potential causes of your current condition
  • Be less thorough in examining your current condition before reaching a conclusion
  • Simply have different opinions about the causes and effects of injuries.

Arguing Your Case

The IME may conclude that your injury was unrelated to your work, that your injury is not as severe as your treating physician claims, or that you are physically able to return to work in a full or limited capacity. Based on these findings, your workers’ compensation insurer may try to deny your claim or stop your disability benefits. When a workers’ compensation arbitrator receives conflicting medical reports, they will use the report that they deem to be more credible. You can help your case by:

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