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Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission

Web Admin - Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Illinois workers comp commission, Schaumburg workers compensation lawyers

If you have been injured while on the job, it is possible that you qualify for benefits under the workers’ compensation program. These benefits are often very important for individuals who are unable to work due to their injury or illness. Employers in Illinois are subject to numerous requirements relating to workers’ compensation. When disputes between employers and employees arise, the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission (Commission) may be used to settle those conflicts. 

Commission 

Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system in which benefits are paid by employers to employees who suffer from work-related injury or serious illness. In some cases, disputes regarding the payment of these benefits arise between an employer and an employee. When this occurs, the Commission provides a method of resolving those disputes through an arbitration process. Arbitration involves both parties stating their case to a neutral, third-party, who then issues a ruling on the issue. The initial decision of the arbitrator may be appealed to a panel of three commissioners. Additional appeals may be brought in the traditional court system. However, most issues are resolved by settlement, thereby avoiding arbitration or litigation altogether. 

In order to begin a claim with the Commission, an employee must file three copies of the Application for Adjustment of Claim along with Proof of Service stating that a copy of the application was served on the employer. After this has been completed, a case number and arbitrator are assigned to the case. Every three months, the case is set for a status call, at which time either party may request a trial. This will continue for three years. If no trial is requested after three years, the arbitrator may dismiss the case. 

 The trial will resolve the dispute between the employer and employee. At the trial, the employee must demonstrate items like the existence of an employment relationship and that an injury occurred in relation to his or her work. While it is not necessary, many employees elect to hire an attorney to represent them. An attorney can help keep track of the claim, appear with an employee at hearings, and present evidence to prove the employee’s eligibility for benefits. Importantly, the Commission cannot recommend an attorney for an employee. 

Benefits of Workers’ Compensation 

Under the workers’ compensation system, employers are responsible for paying benefits when an eligible employee is injured on the job. Most employers decide to purchase workers’ compensation insurance. By purchasing insurance, employers can pay a premium and when a claim is made, the insurance company pays the employee on the employer’s behalf. Alternatively, an employer may elect to self-insure, which makes it their responsibility to pay eligible employees. 

There are numerous benefits provided to employees under workers’ compensation, including: 

1. Medical care reasonably necessary in order to cure or relieve the employee of the effects of the injury or illness;

2. Temporary total disability benefits while the employee is unable to work, recovering from the injury; 

3. Temporary partial disability benefits while the employee is working light duty for less compensation while recovering from the injury; 

4. Vocational rehabilitation or maintenance benefits for injured employees participating in an approved vocational rehabilitation program; 

5. Permanent partial disability benefits for employees who suffer permanent disability or disfigurement, but are still able to work; 

6.  Permanent total disability benefits for employees who suffer permanent disability or disfigurement and are unable to work; and/or 

7. Death benefits for a deceased employee’s surviving family members.

For more information about the workers’ compensation program, including ways in which legal representation can help you recover, you should talk to an experienced Illinois personal injury attorney. Our attorneys represent individuals from areas such as Buffalo Grove, Schaumburg, and Inverness.

Ken ApicellaAbout the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.

Dealing with Insurance Companies: Examinations under Oath

Web Admin - Saturday, January 04, 2014

If you recently filed an insurance claim, then you may have just received a request to participate in an examination under oath (“EUO”). An EUO is an interview that an insurance company’s lawyer conducts to investigate a recently filed claim. While receiving an EUO does not mean that the company will deny the insurance claim for sure, it tends to signal that the company found some issue that they would like to investigate further.

What Happens at an EUO?

An EUO is a formal process involving the insurance company’s lawyer as well as a court reporter who will transcribe everything said at the examination. The examination begins with a swearing in, making it a felony to lie under Illinois law. After that, the company’s attorney will start asking you questions. These questions will probably start out with basic questions of your or your family’s background including things like employment or criminal histories. It may then move into an examination of your finances, such as credit history or past bankruptcy filings.

Once the other side’s attorney establishes a baseline, the questions can move on to the specific event at issue in the claim. These questions can include a recounting of your story of the events and questions about your policy choices. In some instances, like fires insurance, the questions may even relate to whether you have an alibi. In this part of the process, the insurance company will look for inconsistencies with your prior recorded statement, so a consistent retelling of the facts is important.

Before the EUO, the company will do some investigation of its own surrounding the circumstances of the claim, as well as any irregularities from past claims. Consequently, you should be prepared for unexpected questions or inquiries into facts you did not know they had access to. Additionally, at the EUO the company can make you produce certain other documents to aid them in their investigation of the claim. These documents include tax returns, credit card statements, and cell phone records among other things.

Do I Need an Attorney?

While the law makes no formal rule saying that you need an attorney to participate in an EUO, having one present to represent you is advisable. The insurance company will have an attorney there, so having one of your own can help even the odds. Additionally, these examinations take place without a judge present, so an attorney on your side can help keep the company’s lawyer in check.

If you have recently received a request for an EUO, contact an experienced Des Plaines insurance dispute attorney. We serve many northwest suburban areas including Rolling Meadows, Deer Park, and Schaumburg.

The Hazards of Electricity in Workplace Accidents

Web Admin - Wednesday, December 18, 2013

By Ken Apicella

847 934-6000

kca@dgaalaw.com

http://www.dgaalaw.com/ken-apicella.html

Electricity is a common part of people’s everyday lives. Because it is so accessible, people often forget how dangerous it can be. In fact, hundreds of people die each year in accidents related to electricity, many of them while at work. Even though Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations mandate safe insulation or grounding around all electrical circuits, workers can still benefit from knowing the types of injury that electricity can cause and how electrical injuries happen.

Types of Electrical Injury

Electricity can cause three very different types of injury: burns, muscle contractions, and internal injuries.

Electricity causes burns in two ways. First, if a person suffers an electric shock, the electricity can heat up their body to the point that it burns the body along the path of the current. Second, faulty electrical equipment can overheat, or give off electrical arcs. These can cause burns to those nearby, even if the person does not actually come in direct contact with the source of electricity.

It also interferes with muscle function. Because our bodies trigger muscle contractions through electrical signals, electrocution can cause severe, involuntary muscle spasms. These can lead to muscular damage or even broken bones.

Electrocution also affects the function of a person's internal organs. Depending on the strength of the electrical shock, it can lead to internal bleeding and nerve damage. More serious shocks may even lead to cardiac arrest, which can be fatal in some circumstances.

How Electrical Injuries Happen

Electrical injuries may occur in a variety of different ways. For instance, extension cords can lead to electrocution if used improperly. Careless use of extension cords can cause them to fray or loose insulation, which exposes dangerous live wires. Additionally, some extension cords do not come with built-in ground wires, which can add to the danger.

Improper use of other equipment can also lead to electrical injuries. Modified tools or wires, jury-rigged extension cords, and improperly rated circuit breakers can all cause electrocution. One common yet dangerous modification is the removal of ground pins from wires. This allows a three-pronged plug to fit into a two-pronged outlet, but it puts the tool at a higher risk of malfunction. Of course, these examples represent just some of the many ways that improper safety precautions can cause electrocution.

If you or a loved one recently suffered an electrical injury that you believe may qualify for compensation, contact a Des Plaines personal injury attorney today. Our experience can help you get the payment that you deserve. We serve many areas in the northwest suburbs including Palatine, Inverness, Buffalo Grove, and Arlington Heights.


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