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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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Frequently Asked Questions About Illinois Workers’ CompensationThough some workplaces may present more obvious dangers than others, you can get injured in any workplace. According to the latest information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were around 2,811,500 nonfatal workplace injuries in the United States in 2017. Being injured at work can be stressful, especially if you have to miss work because of your injury. Fortunately, programs such as workers’ compensation exist to help people in this situation. If you are injured on the job, you have the right to submit a claim for your medical expenses and lost wages. The workers’ compensation process can be confusing, so here are a few of the most frequently asked questions about Illinois workers’ compensation:

  1. What is Workers’ Compensation?: Workers’ compensation is a statewide system of benefits that applies to most employees in Illinois. Most employers are required to have workers’ compensation insurance in case one of its employees is injured while on the job. Those who are injured at work or experience an occupational disease are eligible to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits.
  2. What Should I Do if I Get Hurt at Work?: The best thing to do if you are hurt while you are at work is to first get medical help if it is a life-threatening injury and then immediately notify your employer. You have up to 45 days after the incident to report your injury to your employer, but it is better to begin a record of your injury or illness as soon as possible.
  3. Will My Medical Bills Be Paid?: Yes. If you are hurt at work, your employer is required to pay for all medical care to treat your injury until you have reached maximum medical improvement. These costs can include emergency care, doctor’s visits, surgery, physical therapy, chiropractic treatment, medication, and even certain medical or prosthetic devices. If your employer and its workers’ compensation insurer do not dispute the workers’ compensation claim, they can pay the bills directly.
  4. Do I Need to Hire a Lawyer?: While it is not necessary to have an attorney after you are hurt at work, hiring a lawyer can be extremely beneficial to your case. Having a lawyer by your side can decrease the chances that your employer disputes your claim. If your employer or its workers’ compensation insurer refuses to pay your medical bills or provide you with other benefits that you have a right to, an attorney can make sure you get the treatment and compensation you deserve.

Contact a Cook County Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

The last thing you want to do while you are recovering from a workplace injury is having to fight with an uncooperative employer or insurance company. If you have been injured while on the job, you should consult with a Tinley Park, IL, workers’ compensation attorney. At the Law Office of John S. Fotopoulos, P.C., we can help you recover the compensation you deserve. Call our office today at 708-942-8400 to schedule a free consultation. 

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Understanding the Construction Industry’s ‘Fatal Four’ AccidentsWhat comes to mind when you think of dangerous workplaces? For many people, construction sites are considered to be extremely dangerous – and they are not wrong. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), there were more than 4,600 worker fatalities in 2017. Of those fatalities, around 971 of them happened to construction workers. This means out of every five worker deaths that occurred, one of them was a construction worker. There are many reasons why construction sites are dangerous, but OSHA has pinpointed four causes of construction worker deaths.

The ‘Fatal Four’

These four causes of construction worker fatalities were determined to be responsible for nearly 60 percent of all construction worker deaths in 2017:

  1. Falls: Deaths due to falls were responsible for nearly 40 percent of deaths in 2017. OSHA’s classification of falls includes falls and jumps to lower levels and falls on the same level. Typically, falls to lower levels are more serious than falls on the same level because of injuries sustained from the impact between the person who fell and the lower-level surface.
  2. Struck by Object: Around eight percent of deaths occurred because of objects striking workers. These injuries can also be serious because they involve injuries sustained from forcible contact or impact with another object, which can be anything. Workers who died by being struck by an object may have been hit by a vehicle, a rolling object or a falling object.
  3. Electrocutions: OSHA reported that electrocutions were responsible for a little over seven percent of construction worker deaths in 2017. Electrocutions occur when a person is exposed to electricity, whether directly or indirectly. Direct exposure can occur if a person comes into contact with an intentionally electrified object, such as an electric fence. Indirect exposure can involve situations such as a worker coming into contact with water that has been electrified.
  4. Caught-in/Between an Object: Around five percent of construction worker deaths were caused by the worker being caught in or compressed by equipment or other objects. Injuries sustained from these types of accidents can occur when a person or a part of a person’s body is pinched, squeezed or crushed in machinery, stationary or moving objects or wire or rope.

Contact a Cook County Construction Accident Attorney Today

Depending on the circumstances of the situation, you may be able to claim compensation through a couple of different ways. If the person died while they were on the job, you may be able to claim death benefits from a workers’ compensation claim. In other situations, you may have to pursue compensation through a wrongful death claim. At the Law Office of John S. Fotopoulos, P.C., we can help you determine the best type of case to pursue to obtain maximum compensation. Our compassionate Tinley Park, IL, construction accident injury lawyers are happy to help you begin your case today. Call our office at 708-942-8400 to schedule a free consultation.

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Exploring Illinois’ Workers’ Compensation Death BenefitsIn the blink of an eye, an accident can happen while you are at work. True, there are certain jobs in which accidents are more common, but a workplace accident can occur anywhere, regardless of where you work and who you work for. One of the most devastating outcomes of a workplace accident is the death of a loved one. Not only does this bring on grief and emotional pain, but it can also mean that you are now burdened by the worry of your family’s financial future. Fortunately, the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission offers death benefits to families whose loved ones die as a result of workplace accidents.

Eligible Family Members

If a worker is killed on the job, the worker’s primary beneficiaries are entitled to receive the survivor’s benefit. A primary beneficiary is considered to be the worker’s spouse and any children under the age of 18. If the worker did not have any primary beneficiaries, then the benefits can be paid to the worker’s totally dependent parents.

The remarriage of a surviving spouse does not negate any claim to survivor’s benefits for the worker’s children. If the children are eligible to receive the benefit when the spouse is remarried, they will continue to receive the benefit until they are no longer eligible. If there are no eligible children, the spouse is entitled to a lump sum that is equal to two years of compensation.

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Five Steps You Should Take After You Are Injured at WorkAn injury can happen anywhere, at any time – even while you are at work. Though certain industries and professions can pose more of a risk to employees, any worker can be injured through a variety of ways. Work injuries can range from a superficial cut to loss of a limb and, in some cases, even death. The decisions that you make after you are injured at work can affect the outcome of your workers’ compensation claim, which is why it is important that you take the right steps. Here are a couple of steps that every injured worker should take if they have been hurt at work:

1. Report Your Injury Right Away

One of the first things you should do after you are injured at work is to report your injury to your employer. While it does not have to be the absolute first thing you do, it is imperative that you report your injury as soon as possible. You cannot file a workers’ compensation claim and receive benefits if you do not report your injury.

2. Get Medical Attention

While getting treatment is obvious, the place you go to receive medical attention can impact the benefits you will receive from your workers’ compensation claim. In Illinois, some employers may have a Preferred Provider Program (PPP) in place, which is a list of physicians, specialists and other health providers that the employer has approved. If your employer does have a PPP, you must first choose a provider from the list to be seen. First aid and emergency care do not count as a provider and do not have to be from the PPP.

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Cook County workers' compensation benefits lawyerBeing injured while you are at work can be a stressful and worrisome situation. Not only are you suffering from a physical injury, but you are probably full of stress and uncertainty about how you will be able to earn money if you cannot work. Thankfully, Illinois requires almost all employers to have workers’ compensation insurance. This is a type of insurance that is in place for these very situations -- if a worker is injured on the job, workers’ compensation insurance will cover it. In Illinois, workers’ compensation covers three types of benefits: medical benefits, disability benefits, and death benefits. 

Medical Benefits

First and foremost, the basic intention of workers’ compensation insurance is to ensure that an employee’s medical care is taken care of in the event they are injured. In Illinois, your employer is required to pay for any and all medical expenses relating to an injury if you received the injury while at work. Expenses that are covered include:

  • Emergency care
  • First aid
  • Doctor’s visits
  • Hospital care
  • Surgery
  • Physical therapy
  • Medication
  • Prosthetic devices

Disability Benefits

If you are injured so badly that you are unable to work, then workers’ compensation can help you out. Disability benefits come in a few different forms. Typically, benefits are awarded to you based on whether you are totally or partially disabled and if that disability is permanent or temporary. The four types of disability benefits are:

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Tinley Park workers' compensation lawyerThough some occupations may have higher injury rates than others, you can get hurt at work no matter what industry you work in. Workers’ compensation cases can be difficult and tedious, but it is important to note that the first 24 hours or so after your workplace injury are crucial. Taking the correct actions after being injured at work can make for a stronger workers’ compensation case, while taking the wrong actions could mean no case at all. Here are five things you should do after a work injury in Illinois:

1. Inform Your Employer About Your Injury

The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act states that you should notify your employer about your injury as soon as possible. You are permitted to notify your employer orally or in writing, but writing is typically better, because you then have hard evidence that you notified your employer of your injury. The notice should contain information about your injury and the time and place where it was sustained. A general rule of thumb is that you should notify your employer about your injuries no later than 45 days after the incident.

2. Seek Medical Attention as Soon as Possible

Before you go to the doctor, try to contact your employer’s human resources department to inquire about any limitations the workers’ compensation insurance may have. Typically, you can choose which medical provider you can see, but your employer may have limitations. If your employer has a preferred provider program (PPP), you have the choice of two providers within the PPP. If your employer does not have a PPP, you have a choice of any two medical providers. 

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