Fall protection violations are among the most common violations in the area of job safety. There were 7,402 such violations in 2015, according to OSHA. The figure included both tools and people. However, it is worth noting that the third-largest cause of death in the workplace is contact with objects and equipment, most of which entails being hit by a falling object. If you suffer job-related injuries from falling objects, you should consult an experienced Chicago work injury lawyer.Injuries Caused by Falling Objects
Objects should be prevented from falling, particularly at worksites. It is also important to limit the damage after they fall. For example, at construction sites, workers should wear hard hats to protect themselves against heavy falling tools. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is one injury caused by a dropped object every 10 minutes. In spite of the statistics and OSHA regulations, many contractors and others at worksites where these types of injuries are common fail to take the appropriate precautions.
Less than a quarter of construction workers think that falling object accidents are preventable, as falling worker accidents are. Often, there is equipment in place to limit damage or catch a falling object, but it is more important for contractors and others to look for ways to stop things such as tools and equipment from falling in the first place.
If you are injured on the job by a falling object in Illinois, you may be entitled to recover workers' compensation benefits. These benefits are available regardless of fault. In other words, even if you were partially to blame for the falling object, you are still entitled to file a claim for the injuries that you suffered. The workers' compensation system is different from the civil court system in that you do not need to prove someone else's fault either. In a personal injury lawsuit, your attorney most often needs to show negligence to recover damages. Workers' compensation benefits do not depend on this type of showing of fault.
If you are injured due to a falling object, it is likely that your supervisor knows. However, it can still be important to provide written notification for the purposes of a workers' compensation claim. Under Illinois law, you are supposed to report the workplace injury within 45 days of the accident. Some companies have a policy that you should report the injury earlier, and generally, it is preferable to report the injury as soon as possible to protect your rights. If you wait a long time to report the injury, the insurer may question whether the injury was work-related. Your employer may ask you questions or ask you to fill out a written report, but it is not allowed to force you to provide a recorded statement. You should consult a workers' compensation attorney if you believe that you will be filing a workers' compensation claim.
It is also helpful to keep notes about exactly what happened, witnesses' names, and to whom you provided the written notification. You should seek medical attention and inform your doctor not only about your symptoms but also about how the accident happened. If there are inconsistencies between your written notification and the medical records, the insurer may try to deny workers' compensation benefits.
Generally, benefits are more restricted for workers' compensation claims than damages are in a personal injury lawsuit brought in civil court. They are limited to medical care and disability payments that cover a portion of lost wages. Sometimes vocational rehabilitation is provided, and this includes job counseling and retraining if you are unable to return to your pre-injury job. Death benefits may be paid to surviving spouses and children of workers killed by falling objects on a jobsite. In some cases, you may also have a personal injury claim for damages against a third party.Discuss Your Job Injury Claim with a Chicago Attorney
If you are concerned about a workplace injury arising from falling objects in Chicago, you should discuss your situation with an attorney. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck and Bertuca, we also represent people in Aurora, Springfield, Champaign, Rockford, and Quincy, as well as elsewhere in Cook, Kane, Sangamon, Champaign, Winnebago, and Adams Counties. You can contact us online or call us at 312-263-6330 or toll-free at 800-444-1525 for a free consultation.