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Rockford Illinois Workers' Compensation Law Blog

A closer look at the problem of overexertion

Workers across the board face high risks of straining or tearing muscles or ligaments at work. Manufacturers, construction workers and retail service workers usually face the highest chance of suffering strains or tears. However, in reality, any Illinois worker is in danger of these injuries. 

But what is causing these injuries? Since 2014, the answer to that question has been overexertion. 

Workers' compensation in Illinois: FAQs

Workers' compensation is a system to help better ensure injured workers receive prompt compensation when injured on-the-job. But what exactly does this mean? How do workers get their workers' comp benefits? Do all injuries qualify? This piece will delve into these and a few other common questions when it comes to workers' comp in Illinois.

First, it is important to note state laws often govern workers' compensation laws. As such, it is important to become acquainted with the laws that apply in the state you live and work. This piece will focus specifically on workers' comp in Illinois.

Nature of work-related fatalities in Illinois

At our law firm, we represent clients who have lost loved ones in work-related fatalities. We fight for proper Illinois workers' compensation death benefits for eligible surviving loved ones. In rare cases, survivors may be able to file wrongful death lawsuits against employers or responsible third parties.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the federal agency also known as the BLS, gathers statistics about work injury and death nationally and state by state. Today we take a closer look at the circumstances of fatal work injuries in Illinois workplaces and which kinds of industries and occupations are most impacted.

Illinois workers' compensation benefits for work-related death

Under Illinois workers' compensation law, when an employee dies from a work-related accident, injury or disease, their spouse and certain other surviving loved ones may be entitled to death benefits. In our last blog, we described a new Illinois law that fixes a loophole in workers' compensation benefits for asbestos-related diseases from occupational exposure.

The new law allows employees with occupational illnesses from asbestos or radiation exposure to file lawsuits against their employers if the disease manifests after 25 years from exposure, including suits for wrongful death from the conditions.

New Illinois law helps workers with latent illness from asbestos

On May 17, Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker signed SB 1596, a bill that gives employees who developed work-related diseases that did not manifest until 25 years had passed from exposure to asbestos or radiation the right to file a civil lawsuit against their employers for the harm.

If such an illness develops before 25 years from exposure have passed, the worker must file for workers' compensation benefits because that is the exclusive remedy.

Bill would provide financial relief to terminal SSDI claimants

When a disabled person's application for Social Security Disability Insurance or SSDI is approved, there is a five-month wait period before monthly cash benefits begin. This time can be difficult financially for those waiting for payments to start because their regular income was likely interrupted by their disabling conditions.

Most tragically, for those claimants with terminal illnesses, there is a risk of passing away during the five-month waiting period without seeing a dime of benefits, which has happened.

How can you prevent workplace sprains, strains and tears?

No one wants to get hurt. This is especially true if the injury would lead to time away from work. So how can you prevent the injuries that are most likely to keep you away?

In Rockford, manufacturing employs nearly one-third of all workers, so it's worth noting that the most common injuries in the manufacturing industry are sprains, strains and tears. That's according to the latest figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS also reports that the injuries led to a median of 10 days away from work, so it pays to avoid them--literally.

SSDI claim may be successful even with alcohol or drug use

It is important to know that a drug or alcohol addiction should not prevent you from applying for Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income, known as SSDI and SSI, respectively. The existence of drug addiction and alcoholism, or DAA -- the official term the Social Security Administration uses -- triggers a particular analysis of your disability claim.

SSA says limited English ability not relevant to ability to work

The Social Security Administration, or SSA, proposed a change in February to its Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income regulations that would remove limited English proficiency, called LEP, from consideration as a factor impacting whether older people with severe medical impairments and other restrictions can work.

Could you be fired for filing a workers' comp claim?

If you are injured at work, you deserve compensation. However, it can be intimidating to tell that to a "too-big-to-fail" company. They may try to make you feel like you are replaceable, or that they might retaliate if you claim your injury was their fault.

Under the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act, it is illegal for an employer to fire you solely because you filed a workers' compensation claim; this would be considered an act of retaliation. It is, however, up to the individual employee to prove that it was a purposeful retaliation.

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