Lifting Injuries in the Auto Industry
The United States Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets forth various guidelines with regard to the auto and other industries. There are specific guidelines that should be followed with regard to auto lifts. The best auto lift for a task depends on the circumstances and where the lift is going to be used. Different lifts accommodate different kinds of repairs or other work, and misuse or failure to maintain lifts can lead to harm, including shoulder and spinal injuries. If you have suffered lifting injuries in the auto industry, the experienced Chicago workers' compensation attorneys of Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca can help you seek benefits.Lifting Injuries in the Auto Industry
There are a wide variety of industrial lifts in use in the automotive industry. Their maintenance requirements and weight capacities vary as well. There are two classes of lifts: those that engage by frame and those that engage by wheel. OSHA compliance offices sometimes conduct inspections of these lifts in automotive industry workplaces. Use of lifts carries the risk of crushing injuries for workers who are servicing vehicles. Proper maintenance can reduce these and other hazards.
In addition to injuries from lifts, auto workers may face risks from lifting heavy objects manually. Lifting injuries can include damage to the back and joints. For example, if you lift with your back, your vertebrae can become misaligned and touch nerves or the spinal cord, causing pain. Where muscles are torn or strained while lifting, it can take weeks for the muscle to heal. Sometimes lifting improperly strains joints and tissue, triggering immense pain and harm to ligaments and bones. Sometimes such injuries are permanent.Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Auto industry employers must buy workers' compensation insurance for employees. Insurers are supposed to pay benefits when workers are injured or made ill on the job. However, some insurers put profits over injured people. If you have a dispute with an insurer, the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission is there to enforce state workers' compensation laws and guard workers' rights. A skilled work injury lawyer can represent you in those proceedings.
Workers' compensation benefits are not taxable. They may include reasonable medical care as well as disability benefits, vocational rehabilitation, and death benefits. In the case of temporary injuries such as strains or sprains, the insurer should pay any temporary disability benefits at a rate of 66 2/3% of your average weekly wage up to the state maximum. This maximum is subject to change every 6 months.
However, if you suffered crushing injuries as the result of an improperly maintained auto lift, those injuries might be permanent. Permanent disability benefits can be calculated in two ways. First, they may be calculated as 66 2/3% of the difference in wages before and after the injury. Second, they may be calculated as a schedule of injuries, which sets forth the number of payments to which you're entitled. If the injuries from the lift caused disfigurement, you'd be entitled to get 162 weeks of benefits at 60% of your average weekly wages.How to File for Benefits
After suffering lifting injuries in an automotive industry workplace, you should let your employer know in writing, even if there were witnesses to the accident. The written notification should include the date and place of the accident, and should be provided to the employer within 45 days of the accident. You should be aware that delaying beyond this time period could result in the loss of benefits, except under certain circumstances such as those involving repetitive stress injuries.
If you need to file an Application for Adjustment of Claim with the Commission, you would need to file it within 3 years after being injured and also serve it on your employer. If the date is later, you could file this application within 2 years of your last compensation payment. There are exceptions, but they don't usually apply to lifting injuries.Consult an Auto Industry Workers’ Compensation Attorney in Chicago
If you are a worker in Chicago who suffered lifting injuries in the auto industry, a workers' compensation lawyer can help you protect your rights. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca, we represent injured auto workers in communities including Springfield, Aurora, Champaign, Rockford, and Quincy, as well as Cook, Adams, Champaign, Sangamon, Winnebago, and Kane Counties. Call us at 312-263-6330 or toll-free at 800-444-1525, or contact us online for a free consultation regarding your case.