How Can Construction Site Fall Injuries Be Prevented?

Web Admin - Friday, July 26, 2019
Inverness constrution site injury lawyerSome occupations are inherently more dangerous than others. Workers in the construction industry face some of the highest risks of suffering on-the-job injuries; in fact, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that more than 20% of the work-related fatalities that occurred in 2017 were suffered by construction workers. Of those deaths, nearly 40% occurred in falls. 

Due to the risk of fall injuries at construction sites, OSHA has put a wide variety of regulations in place to help protect workers. Employers are required to follow these standards when implementing fall protection systems. The three most common systems used when a person is working at least six feet above a lower level are:

1. Protective barriers - Guardrails may be installed at the edges of walking surfaces or roofs, and the top rail of a barrier should be 42 inches above the surface where a person walks or works. A guardrail must be able to withstand at least 200 pounds of force.

2. Harnesses - A worker may use a fall arrest system that consists of a harness that is connected to an anchor point, and these systems must keep a worker from falling more than six feet or coming into contact with a lower level. Any snaphooks or connectors used must prevent a worker from becoming disengaged from the harness or the anchor point.

3. Nets - Any safety nets used should be installed as close as possible below a working or walking surface, up to a maximum of 30 feet below the level. Depending on the vertical distance below the working level, a net should extend 8-13 feet horizontally from the edge of the working surface. Nets should be regularly tested, inspected, and kept free of tools or materials.

Other fall protection systems that may be used include:

- Warning lines - A barrier made of ropes, wires, or chains may be installed around all sides of a roof to warn workers that they are approaching the edge of the roof or to designate an area in which workers are not required to use guardrails, harnesses, or safety nets.
- Hole covers - Any holes in working or walking surfaces, including skylights, should be covered to prevent a worker from falling into the hole. Holes should also be protected by guardrails, or workers should use safety harnesses.
- Controlled access zones - Certain types of work may be allowed to be performed in areas where traditional fall protection systems are not used. Control lines should be used around the boundaries of these areas, and only approved workers should be permitted to access these areas.
- Safety monitors - In areas where low-slope roofing work is being done, a person may be designated as a safety monitor, and this person will provide warnings to workers when they are acting unsafely or are unaware of fall-related hazards. This person should be on the same walking or working surface as other workers and be able to communicate with them verbally, and they should not have any other duties which distract from their function as a safety monitor.

Contact a Buffalo Grove Workplace Fall Injury Attorney

Workers who have suffered fall injuries at a construction site may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits, and they may also be able to pursue compensation from any responsible third parties through a personal injury lawsuit. If you have been injured in a fall while working at a construction site, the attorneys of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC can help you determine whether you are eligible to file a workers' comp claim. Contact our Barrington workplace injury lawyers at 847-934-6000 to schedule a free consultation.

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.


Recovering Compensation for Construction Accidents Involving Falls

Web Admin - Wednesday, May 09, 2018
Palatine construction accident injury lawyerConstruction sites are dangerous environments, and it is important for employers, contractors, and construction workers to follow proper procedures to protect everyone’s safety. However, construction accidents occur for a variety of reasons, and they can often result in serious injuries. 

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), falls are the leading cause of death in construction accidents, accounting for 370 fatalities in 2016. Workers injured in construction accidents involving falls should be sure to understand their options for receiving compensation for their damages. 

Workers’ Compensation for Construction Site Falls

When an employee is injured in the course of their job, they are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, regardless of who was at fault for the injury. These benefits will cover the costs of medical treatment for a worker’s injuries, and a worker may also receive disability benefits that compensate them for lost income due to temporary or permanent impairment to their ability to continue working. In fatal construction accidents, a worker’s surviving family members can receive workers’ compensation death benefits, including ongoing payments to make up for the family’s lost income, along with compensation for expenses related to the deceased person’s funeral and burial.

Third-Party Liability for Personal Injuries

Construction site fall injuries can occur for a variety of reasons, including defective equipment (such as ladders or scaffolding), inadequate employee training, or failure to use the proper safety measures or follow the correct procedures. When a worker is injured because of this type of negligence, they may be able to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the liable parties and receive compensation for their injuries. 

A personal injury claim may be brought against all parties responsible for an injury, such as the manufacturer of defective equipment or subcontractors who did not follow the correct safety procedures. A third party-liability claim not only allows an injured person to pursue financial damages, but they may also be able to recover compensation for the pain and suffering they and their family have experienced. 

Contact a Schaumburg Personal Injury Lawyer

Injuries that occur as the result of falls at a construction site can be devastating, affecting a worker’s health and well-being and their ability to earn an income for years to come. If you have suffered a construction site injury, the attorneys of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC can work with you to ensure that you receive the proper workers’ compensation benefits, and we can help you understand your options for pursuing a third-party liability claim. Contact an Arlington Heights construction accident attorney at 847-934-6000 to schedule a personalized consultation.

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.


Understanding Workers’ Compensation Disability Benefits

Web Admin - Friday, March 09, 2018
Schaumburg workers' comp benefits attorneyWhen a person is injured while they are working, they are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits that will cover the costs of medical care and any required rehabilitation. In addition, they may be eligible to receive disability benefits to compensate them for income lost while they were unable to work or for any impairment to their ability to earn an income in the future. In Illinois, there are four different types of disability benefits:

  • - Temporary Partial Disability (TPD) - This type of disability applies when a worker is only able to work part-time or in a position that provides reduced pay while they are recovering from their injuries. They will be eligible to receive benefits of two thirds (66 2/3%) of the difference between their income prior to the injury and the income they earn in their reduced capacity.
  • - Temporary Total Disability (TTD) - If a worker is unable to work for at least three days while they are recovering from their injuries, they will be eligible to receive TTD until they are able to return to work. TTD benefits are two thirds (66 2/3%) of their average weekly wage, and this amount is increased by 10% for their spouse and each of their children (up to a maximum of 100%).
  • - Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) - An employee who suffers a permanent injury, such as hearing loss or the amputation of a limb, is eligible to receive PPD. Depending on the body part and the level of impairment, they will be able to receive compensation of 60% of their average weekly wage for a certain number of weeks of work. This percentage is increased by 10% for a worker’s spouse and each of their children (up to a maximum of 100%).
  • - Permanent Total Disability (PTD) - This type of disability applies when an employee is permanently and incurably injured and unable to return to work. They will receive two thirds (66 2/3%) of their average weekly wage for the rest of their life, with this amount being subject to cost of living adjustments each year. 

Contact an Arlington Heights Workers’ Comp Attorney

Injuries that impair a person’s ability to work and earn an income can be devastating to a family’s finances. However, if these injuries occurred while a person was working, workers’ compensation benefits can provide them with the resources they need to make a recovery and continue providing for their family. If you have been injured while working, the skilled attorneys of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC can help you file a workers’ compensation claim and ensure that you receive the benefits you deserve. Contact our Palatine personal injury attorneys at 847-934-6000 to schedule a personalized consultation.

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.


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. 


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.

Common Work Accidents in Industrial Plants

James Speers - Friday, December 20, 2013

By Ken Apicella

847 934 6000



Workers in industrial plants often receive safety training, and most plants take precautions to prevent accidents from happening. Still, industrial accidents do occur, and workers would do well to stay aware of common hazards in their environment. Some of the most common accidents that occur in industrial plants involve explosions or asphyxiation. In fact, the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board attributes hundreds of deaths and injuries to these types of accidents since 1980.

Explosions in Industrial Plants

Industrial plants are often full of reactive chemicals and hazardous machinery. Unfortunately, those two things often place workers at risk of harm from explosions. Though explosions come in many different forms and have many different causes, some of the most common are pressure vessel explosions, chemical explosions, and combustible dust explosions.

Pressure vessel explosions happen when a gas starts to build up in a sealed tank. This can happen through heating or through an ongoing chemical reaction. Eventually, either due to overpressurization or a flaw in the tank, the vessel bursts, releasing a powerful shock wave and possibly hot vapor as well.

Chemical explosions differ in that they involve reactive chemicals rather than simple overpressurization. These explosions happen when a chemical reaction runs unchecked or a leak releases a flammable chemical, such as hydrogen, into the environment. Then a stray spark or other heat source ignites the chemical, causing an explosion.

The final type of explosion, combustible dust explosions, often happen in factories that produce fine powders, such as flour or sugar. If the company does not take care to properly ventilate the area and ensure a clean work environment, dust can build up in the air. Because fine dusts are often flammable, contact with a heat source can cause the entire cloud to explode.

Asphyxiation in Industrial Plants

Workers in chemical plants are also vulnerable to the hazard of asphyxiation. Though less common than explosions, the threat can be equally dangerous. Workers often asphyxiate in one of two ways. Either a gas leak releases a dangerous chemical into the room that causes suffocation, or the worker ends up in a cramped space for long periods, depriving them of oxygen.

Gas leaks can cause asphyxiation by affecting the concentration of oxygen in the air. Even the release of an ordinarily harmless gas like nitrogen can cause workers to suffocate if it saturates the air and deprives workers from taking in enough oxygen. 

If you or a loved one has been injured in a plant accident. Contact a Chicago personal injury lawyer today. We serve many northwest suburban areas including Barrington, Crystal Lake, Deer Park, and Rolling Meadows.

The Hazards of Electricity in Workplace Accidents

Web Admin - Wednesday, December 18, 2013

By Ken Apicella

847 934-6000



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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