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RECENT CASES: WORKER'S COMPENSATION

Indiana Injury Compensable Under Illinois Law

We recently represented an Illinois man who works in Indiana, and was injured in Indiana.  He preferred to be covered under Illinois law, since our laws, though not generous, are more favorable to injured employees than Indiana’s laws.  We were able to prove the applicability of Illinois laws by showing that the man was actually hired in Illinois.

Injury Compensable Where Secretary Falls While Hurrying To Get Copies For Boss.

In this case the insurance company denied responsibility, claiming that our client’s fall was not caused by her work environment since she did not trip on anything but just tripped on her own feet.  However, we had our client’s boss testify and he admitted that he had an important meeting that he needed her to make copies for immediately.  He admitted that the he expected her to rush to get the job done.  Thus the Industrial Commission found in our favor.

Benefits Reinstated

After being injured on the job, our client had surgery to fuse his back in two spots.  The fusion was done by placing a piece of bone between his vertebra at two different levels and then using hardware to stabilize the spine.  Normally the body then fuses the bone piece to the vertebra.  Unfortunately, our client’s back did not fuse at one of the two spots.  The Insurance Company cut off his TTD and medical benefits, claiming that the failed fusion was our client’s fault due to his failure to quit smoking (Smoking can inhibit the success of the fusion.) 

At trial we were successful in showing that the surgeon did not require cessation of smoking, that our client made considerable efforts to stop smoking, and that there were a number of other risk factors that may have caused the fail fusion.  In fact there was testimony that if the smoking were to affect one level of the fusion it should have affected both.  We won in front of the Arbitrator.  The employer’s insurance company then appealed, and we again won in front of a panel of commissioners of the Industrial Commission.  In fact we not only obtained back TTD and Medical benefits for our client, but obtained penalties for the Insurance Company’s unreasonable and vexatious refusal to pay.

Settlement For Injury Occurring While Walking Into Work

Normally one can recover for injuries occurring while entering one’s place of employment, while not on the clock, if the area is designated for employee use.  However, in a recent case the employer had leased a parking lot from a neighboring business.  Our client had to walk from the lot, onto a public sidewalk, across a public street, and then into the property of her employer.  She was injured when she slipped and fell on ice on the public sidewalk.  We argued that although the employer did not own the lot, and certainly did not own or control the public sidewalk, the employer leased the lot, designated it as an employee lot, and shoveled snow on the public sidewalk, and thus exhibited sufficient control that they should be liable under the Worker’s Compensation Act.  The employer paid a substantial settlement.

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