John Lesaganich, P.C., Attorney at Law
Over Three Decades of Experience Helping Injured Workers In Illinois
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Peoria Workers' Compensation Blog

What happens if I do not report a workplace injury?

An Illinois employer may be required to provide a hurt worker with compensation if that worker's injuries occurred while they were at work or while they were performing work-related tasks. However, if that employer is never told about the worker's injury then they may never have cause to begin providing that individual with benefits. In essence, a worker's ability to collect workers' compensation benefits does not begin until they report their workplace harm to their employer.

A worker may elect to wait before informing their employer of workplace injury because they may not initially believe that their harm is severe. However, this practice can be damaging to a person's chances of later getting workers' compensation. This is because it may be harder to prove that their initial harm was caused by their engagement in work-related tasks and not from a secondary, non-work cause.

When horseplay is the alleged cause of a workplace injury

Even for the most dedicated worker, it is challenging to stay completely focused and on-task 100 percent of the time when at work. Illinois workers bond with their supervisors and co-workers when they get to know them on a more personal level. However, when workers allow their on-the-job interactions to digress and injuries occur, they may have challenges seeking workers' compensation.

This is because not all worksite and on-the-job injuries are compensable through workers' compensation. "Horseplay" is considered rough or boisterous play and may not be part of the job duties. For example, if two construction site workers are joking around and one pushes the other into a piece of machinery, causing the pushed party to sustain a serious cut, that party may face challenges when they seek workers' compensation.

No hard feelings in a workers’ comp case

Many workers may hold the misconception that receiving compensation for workplace injuries involves suing your employer for being negligent. While there are some cases that may necessitate taking legal action against an employer, most do not.

A workers’ compensation claim is actually an insurance claim, not a legal action.

What are musculoskeletal disorders?

Ergonomics is an important work topic as it relates to ensuring that a person has what they need to do their job safely. This can mean, for example, equipping a factory worker with something supportive to stand on to prevent back or leg stress or getting an office worker the right desk chair to make sure their seat is appropriate for their body. The failure of an employer to help a worker fit into the requirements of their job can lead to serious on-the-job injuries, including musculoskeletal disorders.

Musculoskeletal disorders involve damage to muscles and the connective tissues that support them. They can result from workers doing repetitive motions in an unsafe way, such as an industrial worker consistently reaching in an awkward way to access their tools or an office worker holding their arms at an inappropriate angle to reach their keyboard. Over time, musculoskeletal disorders can develop into significant and painful conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome and chronic back injuries.

Restaurant workers can face serious on-the-job injuries

According to literature promulgated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, restaurant workers can face a number of serious and job-threatening injuries while performing their duties of employment. Illinois residents who work in the restaurant industry may be interested to know that their work-related harm may make them eligible to seek workers' compensation. The remainder of this post will discuss the types of injuries restaurant workers commonly suffer and how those injuries may keep them from working.

One of the most common restaurant industry injuries for workers is strains. Strains can affect different muscle groups in victims' bodies. As restaurant workers may be asked to lift heavy objects, reach and carry trays and food to patrons and perform other physically difficult tasks it is not hard to understand how strains may be introduced into their bodies.

Is every workplace injury covered by workers' compensation?

The costs and time needed to litigate every on-the-job injury that Illinois workers may suffer would be astronomical and practically impossible for employers to manage. Some businesses may not be able to keep their doors open and their facilities operating if they had to go to court over every harm that befell their workers. To avoid this logistical and legal headache the workers' compensation system was put into place to provide workers with help and without assigning fault in worksite injury cases.

Generally when a worker gets hurt while doing the tasks of their employment they collect workers' compensation rather than suing their employer. However, there are special cases that exist that may require workers to take on extra legal actions. Those cases involve injuries that result from intentional torts and those that result from the wrongful termination of workers' compensation benefits.

Hospitals: Good for patients, dangerous for workers

When an Illinois resident suffers an injury or an illness and has to be admitted to the hospital they generally are treated with excellent medical care and are able to recover from their ailment. However, while most patients emerge from their hospitalizations in better condition than they were in when they went in, hospital workers suffer an alarming number of injuries while performing their duties. Many of the ailments they suffer may be compensable through workers' compensation claims.

One of the most common types of hospital worker injuries reported by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is overextension. These injuries, which include strains and sprains, account for almost half of reported hospital worker injuries and happen when workers reach too far or pull too hard to move patients or medical equipment.

Two common workers' compensation mistakes

When you are at work for 40 hours or more every week, accidents can happen. You slip and fall, an unsuspecting object drops on your foot or you cut yourself with a knife.

When an injury occurs in the workplace, state law requires your employer to compensate. In Illinois, you may be entitled to medical treatment of the injury, vocational rehabilitation, wage replacement and other benefits. If you have sustained a work-related injury, it is important to avoid these workers' compensation claim mistakes.

Seeking workers' compensation after a construction site injury

Construction zones are inherently dangerous places. They often contain heavy building materials, powerful pieces of equipment and machines designed to help erect tall and strong structures. Illinois residents are generally prohibited from entering construction sites due to the many possible perils they could encounter but men and women who work in construction for their jobs must be prepared to face those threats with careful training and preparations.

Despite the many precautions that should be in place at every construction site across the state, construction workers still suffer serious injuries due to the work they perform. Common construction site accidents may include but are not limited to falls from scaffolding, crushing accidents from heavy machinery and electrocution from unsecured construction projects.

A denial may not be the end of your workers' comp claim

Getting hurt on the job is frustrating. A Peoria worker may feel as though steps were missed in keeping them safe as they performed the duties of their employment or that the cause of their harm could have been prevented. Regardless of how they ended up with a work-related injury, that individual may miss time on the job and the pay that accompanies putting in the time at their place of employment.

Workers' compensation claims provide individuals with financial benefits when they suffer these types of common problems. Workers' comp streamlines the process for individuals so that they do not have to engage in litigation with their employers to get the money they need to recover. In exchange for receiving workers' compensation, workers generally must give up their rights to sue their employees over their on-the-job harm.

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