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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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