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Lake County Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Listen up! Your hearing may be at risk on the job

Like many in Illinois, you likely spent most of your life waking up to the sound of an alarm clock. Lately, you may have programmed a louder sound into the alarm on your mobile device, or maybe you are one of those people for whom the birds outside your window are your call to greet the day.

Throughout the day, the many sounds you hear and take for granted include the sound of your spouse welcoming you home from work, the voices of your grandchildren asking you to play and the familiar notes of a favorite song on the radio as you drive to your job. Lately, however, those sounds are fading away, and your job may be to blame.

Signs that your assembly line work may be causing you injury

Illinois is home to various manufacturing companies where assembly line work is a mainstay of production. Perhaps you work at the very same company your parents or grandparents worked at years ago. Overall, you've been quite satisfied with your job. It is steady income, puts food on your table, and you have the same shift each week, so it allows you to have structure and routine at home.

The only problem is that you're experiencing symptoms that make you worry about whether you'll be able to continue your duties. As an assembly line worker, you're at risk for an injury known as carpal tunnel syndrome. If your symptoms align with those listed as common for this condition, you may want to further investigate the matter by seeking medical attention. If a doctor diagnoses you with carpal tunnel (or some other repetitive strain condition) you'll want to immediately notify your employer. The good news is that support is available.

Did your work make you sick? You could claim certain benefits.

When Illinois workers experience an injury at work, they know that they could have a valid claim to workers' compensation benefits. However, you could have a claim to this type of financial support if your work made you sick. Just as workplace injuries can be valid reasons to seek these types of benefits, occupational diseases can be as well.

If you believe that your job made you sick or that you faced exposure to toxic elements because of your job, eventually causing sickness, you could have a rightful claim. You would be wise to take quick action to protect your interests, which could include seeking guidance as you work to navigate the claims process and seek the benefits you deserve.

Better ergonomics may prevent musculoskeletal injuries

When you think of on-the-job injuries, you may think of the catastrophic injuries suffered by a construction worker who falls from scaffolding or the logger who mishandles a saw. Your aches and pains may not seem so severe compared to those. While it may be true that you are less likely to suffer a potentially fatal injury in your line of work, that doesn't mean your injury is not painful or that your suffering is any less important.

If you wake up in the morning with back pain, sore shoulders or aching hands, you may find it difficult to complete the normal routine to get ready for your workday. Of course, once you are on the job, that pain is likely to get worse, especially if your job is causing the pain in the first place. Without proper care and medical attention, you may eventually be unable to work at all.

When going to work gets dangerous

If you're a construction worker, you may be at risk for injury during the normal course of your duties in an average workday. Even if no one considers a particular project you're working on as high on the list of the most dangerous tasks in the nation, an accident may occur at any time that causes you to suffer injury in the workplace.

If you're aware of the dangers ahead of time and you know where to turn for help if an injury occurs, you may be able to stay safe, or at least maximize your chances of achieving full recovery if you're involved in a workplace accident.

Common mistakes when seeking coverage from workers' compensation

There is no job that is completely safe from some kind of workplace injury or illness. Construction jobs, oil fields and manufacturing all have certain risks, but even if you sit at a computer or stand in front of a classroom all day, you are never completely free from the chances of an accident or workplace illness.

Tripping and falling, inhaling toxic fumes or developing repetitive motion injuries can happen in any environment, and if you have experienced an accident on the job that led to painful injuries, you have the right to seek benefits through workers' compensation. This special insurance is available to cover the medical bills and lost wages of employees injured in the normal course of their work duties. However, like any insurance claim, there are circumstances that may cause the insurance company to deny your claim.

A work day shouldn't end with you in the hospital

There may be days when you enjoy waking up and going to work. Having a job you like is a real plus in today's world, and if you like the people you work with as well, you are far ahead of the game! No day is perfect though, and sometimes by the time you get home at the end of the day, you're absolutely spent.

Whether you're exhausted due to stressful situations on the job or because you were stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic for hours, such days often prompt the desire for a nice, long bath and a restful sleep. If you're like most Illinois workers, you'll bounce back once you've had a good rest; however, what happens if the problem at work involves a serious mishap?

Richard D Hannigan reappointed as editor for 2017-2018 of the ISBA Workers Compensation Section Council Newsletter

Editor's Notes By: Richard D. Hannigan

Editorial comments are just that, editorials. There are four people who share the responsibility of producing these Newsletters. Two represent employers and two represent the injured workers. There was a debate amongst the editors as to whether my editorial comment in this Newsletter is appropriate. Two editors felt it is appropriate and two thought it is too political. The Chairman of our section council, John Power, agreed that the editorial comment is appropriate. That being said please understand that the opinions contained in our newsletters are those of the author and are not necessarily those of any other member or group in the ISBA. Please feel free to send any comments to any of the editors. That being said here is my editorial comment:

The Illinois State Bar Association has a lobbyist who has diligently worked for this association for many years. His name is Jim Covington. The Worker's Compensation Council Section members receive copies of any bills submitted, whether by the Senate or the House, asking for our comments. In that sense we are political. Our comments are passed on to Jim who then relays our information to the various senators or state representatives as the case may be. It is up to all of us as attorneys practicing in the state of Illinois to let the lawmakers know how we feel about any particular issue and legislation. It is up to us to educate them has to the mechanisms in the day-to-day activities at the commission. As individuals we should not leave it to others. If you believe that there is the need for new legislation you should submit that to your state representative and senator and work with them to achieve that purpose.

Assembly line repetition could leave you with injuries

Assembly line jobs employ numerous people across the country. As an individual with such a job, you likely perform the same duties day in and day out. Because your tasks often involve making the same motions over and over, you may have experienced pain due to the repetitive nature of your work responsibilities. Though the pain may not cause you much worry at first, you could develop a serious repetitive strain injury over time that could require medical attention.

Repetitive strain injuries, like carpal tunnel syndrome or tendinitis, can have an immense effect on your life. You may lose the ability to carry out regular tasks like you once could, and your work life could suffer if you have a more difficult time attending to your assembly line duties. As a result, you may need time off or medical treatment.

How to fight back against workplace violence

Illinois workers who suffer injuries or become ill due to hazardous work conditions may be eligible for workers' compensation benefits. In addition to workplace accidents and other safety issues, violence-related injuries could also serve as valid grounds for a workers' compensation claim.

Workplace violence isn't an issue that people discuss on a regular basis, but it's a valid concern for workers across all industries and in every type of job. If you or a loved one suffered injuries due to the violent actions of another person or co-worker, you don't have to face the aftermath alone. An experienced lawyer can help you understand how to secure what you need for a full and fair recovery.

Hannigan & Botha, LtdRepresenting The Injured Worker

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ITLA WCLA Illinois State Bar Association
Super Lawyers ABA- American Bar Association The Chicago Bar Association Founded 1874
 Workers' Compensation Lawyers Association Lake County Bar Association Recommended By Peers For Leading Lawyers Network