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Can I Claim Workers’ Compensation If I Become Ill With the Coronavirus?Since the beginning of the year, tension has been growing and people have become increasingly concerned with the prevalence of COVID-19, better known as the Coronavirus. As of March 22, there were a total of 1,049 Coronavirus cases in the state of Illinois. As a precaution, Gov. J.B. Pritzker has ordered that residents shelter in place until April 7, with exceptions for going out to obtain necessary supplies or perform essential jobs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has strongly urged people to limit social gatherings of 50 or more people. The way COVID-19 has quickly spread across the country and the world has caused many people to worry about catching the virus. Unfortunately, you cannot completely erase the risk of catching Coronavirus, especially in some professions. Does this mean you can claim workers’ compensation if you catch Coronavirus at work?

Occupational Diseases and Workers’ Compensation

Like many other states, Illinois has protections for employees who are not necessarily injured at work but who catch certain diseases and illnesses as a result of their work. Because of the current health situation in the country, you may be able to claim workers’ compensation for Coronavirus if you catch it at work. However, you will only be able to claim workers’ compensation for Coronavirus if you work in a profession that has an increased risk of exposure. These professions can include those in the healthcare industry, dentistry, emergency responders, airline workers or even those involved in the deathcare industry such as coroners and medical examiners.

Steps to Take to Protect Yourself From the Coronavirus

Unfortunately, there is no way to completely prevent a COVID-19 infection. However, there are steps that the CDC recommends you take to help protect yourself and those around you. Steps that can help prevent the spread of the Coronavirus include:

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How is Permanent Partial Disability Workers’ Compensation Calculated in Illinois?Each year, there are an estimated 200,000 work-related accidents that occur in Illinois, according to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. Though most of these incidents do not result in a workers’ compensation claim, there are still quite a few claims filed each year. The latest information available from the Commission states that there were more than 38,000 workers’ compensation claims filed with the Commission in 2017. There are different types of workers’ compensation benefits that can be awarded to a worker, one of them being permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits that kick in when an employee is permanently injured.

What is Permanent Partial Disability?

According to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, PPD benefits can be awarded to an employee who experiences:

  • Complete or partial loss of a part of the body
  • Complete or partial loss of use of part of the body; or
  • Partial loss of use of the body as a whole

Technically, there is no specific definition of “loss of use” that is determined by law, but it typically means that a person is unable to do things that they were able to do before the injury. To receive PPD benefits, you have to first reach maximum medical improvement (MMI) as determined by a doctor.

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Illinois Industries With the Highest Number of Non-Fatal InjuriesSince the creation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in 1970, the U.S. government has placed an increased focus on decreasing the number of injuries happening in workplaces across the country. Today, OSHA still pushes for workplace safety and adequate training and precautions to try to prevent as many workplace injuries as possible. Unfortunately, workplace injuries are still common. According to the latest information from the Illinois Department of Public Health, there were an estimated 132,400 workplace injuries recorded throughout the state in 2017. Though an injury can happen in any workplace, there are certain industries that have more workplace injuries than others.

  1. Health Care and Social Assistance: Most of the time, people think that the most dangerous industries to work in are those that use heavy machinery such as construction or factory work. In reality, the health care industry is typically the industry that has the highest number of workplace injuries. In Illinois, there were an estimated 21,300 injuries in this industry in 2017. Workplaces in this industry commonly include nursing and residential care facilities and hospitals.
  2. Manufacturing: While it is not the industry that has the most workplace injuries, manufacturing still ranks rather high when it comes to being hurt on the job. In 2017, an estimated 18,100 injuries occurred in manufacturing. This category covers most types of manufacturing, including plastics and rubber manufacturing, food manufacturing, textile mills, computer and electronic manufacturing and petroleum and coal products manufacturing.
  3. Retail Trade: Working in retail trade also has the possibility of being dangerous. An estimated 14,400 injuries were recorded in Illinois in 2017. The retail industry includes general merchandise stores, food and beverage stores, clothing stores and furniture and home furnishing stores. Many times, injuries recorded in this industry are overexertion, falls or trips.
  4. Transportation and Warehousing: The transportation and warehousing industry consists of nearly all types of transportation, such as air, water, rail and truck transportation, pipeline transportation, postal service and couriers and messengers. Around 10,900 injuries were recorded in this industry, with the majority coming from truck transportation.
  5. Entertainment and Hospitality: There is a wide range of workplaces that are included in the entertainment and hospitality industry, such as hotels, restaurants, bars, casinos, amusement parks, and museums. An estimated 10,700 injuries were recorded in 2017, with the foodservice industry carrying the majority of the injuries.

Have You Been Injured on the Job? A Cook County Workers’ Compensation Attorney Can Help

Being hurt while you are at work can change the course of your and your family’s lives forever. Not only can a workplace injury plunge you into financial distress, but you could also be facing the effects of your injuries for the rest of your life. At the Law Office of John S. Fotopoulos, P.C., we will protect your interests at all times and aggressively pursue every source of compensation possible. If you have been hurt on the job, do not wait – call our skilled Tinley Park, IL, workers’ compensation lawyers today at 708-942-8400 to schedule a free consultation.

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Common Causes of Trips, Slips, and Falls in the WorkplaceAccidents happen; we all know this. Accidents at work are not uncommon occurrences, especially when it comes to slips, trips and/or falls. According to the latest statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were around 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses that were reported in 2017. Of those injuries, the second most common type of injury was slips, trips, and falls. Like any injury, the severity of injuries caused by slips, trips, and falls can range from minor, such as pulled or strained muscles, to major injuries, such as spinal cord injuries or broken bones. The key to preventing these types of injuries is identifying the causes. Here are the most common causes of trips, slips, and falls in the workplace:

Substances on the Floor

When there are wet or dry contaminants on the floor, it can cause workers to lose their footing easily. Having substances on the floor is perhaps one of the most common causes of slips and falls in the workplace. Slippery substances that pose a danger can include:

  • Dust, powder or other granules
  • Water
  • Grease
  • Soap
  • Floor wax

Poor Lighting

Though it may not seem to pose a very obvious danger, a lack of sufficient lighting can also be the cause of a trip, slip or fall in the workplace. When employees cannot adequately see where they are walking or stepping, this can mask dangers that are present on the floor. Poor lighting is typically an issue in areas such as hallways, closets, parking garages, and storage rooms.

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What Disability Benefits Are Provided by Illinois Workers’ Compensation?Nobody expects to go to work and become injured, but that is why they are called accidents – you do not know when they are going to happen. All employers in Illinois are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, which helps both employers and employees if an employee is injured while on the job. Workers’ compensation will cover medical costs related to things such as doctor’s visits, medication, physical therapy, surgery, and hospital stays. In the event that an employee is unable to work during their recovery from their injury, workers’ compensation can provide workers with disability benefits.

Types of Disability Benefits

If you are injured while you are working and are unable to work or do the same work you were doing before, you may be eligible to receive disability benefits during your recovery time through workers’ compensation. There are four types of disability benefits provided by workers’ compensation:

  1. Temporary Partial Disability: This type of benefit is for employees who have been injured but are still permitted to work light duty on a part-time or full-time basis during their healing period. Because employees who are on light duty may not earn as much as they did prior to the injury, temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits are two-thirds of the difference between their average weekly wage before the injury and their average weekly wage after the injury. 
  2. Temporary Total Disability: Temporary total disability (TTD) benefits are available to workers who are not able to do any work under doctor’s orders or who are capable of light-duty work but their employer is unable to accommodate them. TTD benefits are two-thirds of the employee’s average weekly wage and have set minimums and maximums, as set by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. Until January 14, 2020, the maximum amount you can receive for TTD is $1,529.84 per week.
  3. Permanent Partial Disability: Permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits may be available to workers who have a permanent disability or illness from their workplace injury that renders them unable to do the job they had before but are still able to work. The amount you can receive from PPD benefits and the length of time you can claim those benefits depends on the type of injury that you suffer. Currently, the maximum amount you can receive if you did not suffer an amputation or the loss of an eye is $813.87 per week.
  4. Permanent Total Disability: Permanent total disability (PTD) benefits are for employees who either have lost the use of both hands, arms, feet, legs, eyes or any two body parts or employees who are completely disabled to the point that they are unable to do any work. Until January 14, 2020, the minimum weekly amount you can receive for PTD is $573.69 and the maximum weekly amount is $1,529.84.

Have You Been Hurt on the Job? Call a Will County Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today

At the Law Office of John S. Fotopoulos, P.C., we know how much a workplace injury can affect your life. Not only is it physically and emotionally stressful, but it can also be financially stressful, especially if you have had to take time off during your recovery. Our skilled Tinley Park, IL, workers’ compensation lawyers will help you fight for the benefits that you deserve. Call our office today at 708-942-8400 to schedule a free consultation.

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