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Illinois And Missouri Injury Blog

Maritime and railroad injuries require different approaches

Those who choose a profession working on the water or railroads usually have a different approach to life and their daily duties. The fact that they also have different protections on the job is another way that they differ. The Jones Act is likely the most distinct difference in the protections that apply to a marine worker who suffers a work-related injury. Illinois residents who have suffered maritime and railroad injuries still have the right to file injury claims.

Marine workers have the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 -- commonly referred to as the Jones Act -- which was enacted as a way to protect those who spend a minimum of 30 percent of their working day in or on a vessel that is capable of traveling along navigable waters. This act was needed to protect injured marine workers since they do not qualify under the workers' compensation program for most land-based employees. The vessels that are covered by this act are those that are typically used for commercial purposes, though these ships are sometimes commissioned for military use in certain circumstances. 

Brakes put on sleep testing rule

Regulations intended to prevent many maritime and railroad injuries are, in many cases, not issued until accidents occur and their causes are studied by agencies, such as the National Transportation Safety Board. A recent federal government decision, however, has blocked belated but necessary measures to prevent accidents caused by sleep apnea.

Proposed rules requiring railroads and trucking companies to test workers for obstructive sleep apnea were withdrawn by the Federal Railroad Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Agency in early August. Sleep apnea was the suspected cause in two accidents including a catastrophic Hoboken train that crashed into a station that claimed one life and caused 108 injuries.

What's time got to do with it? (Railroad injury risk, that is.)

You may be one of many Illinois train lovers whose childhood dream was to one day work on a railroad. Perhaps, you also always enjoyed fixing things; thus, a career in railroad maintenance was the perfect choice for you. It's no secret railroad jobs are among the most dangerous in the nation. You may be surprised to learn, however, that studies suggest the time of day you work may also increase (or decrease) your risk for injury on the job.

From 1997 through just a few years ago, there were nearly 16,000 serious railroad worker injuries reported. It's logical to assume that if you work outdoors, near or on train tracks, you'll typically encounter more potential hazards than someone sitting behind a desk in an office all day. A key factor in avoiding injury is adherence to all safety regulations. Beyond that, understanding the apparent connection between time of day and risk for accidents might also help.

Workers' compensation: older workers deaths rising

An older workforce may impact workers' compensation in Illinois. Although workplace accident deaths have generally dropped, deaths of older workers from a workplace injury accident are on the rise.

According to the Associated Press's analysis of data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, workplace deaths among all workers fell from 5,480 in 2005 to 4,836 in 2015. Deaths among older workers, however, grew slightly from 1,562 to 1,681. The number of older worker in the general work force rose by 37 percent during that period.

Prescription drug use can cause a car accident

Impaired driving in Illinois is usually considered as driving while under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs. However, taking prescription drugs, while considered routine and proper, may also lead to personal injury in an auto accident.

Most drivers are aware that the legal limit for alcohol across the country is 0.08 percent BAC. However, it is also illegal to drive after taking certain drugs. For example, drivers can operate a vehicle after ingesting a Schedule I controlled substance such as heroin or methamphetamine.

Inexpensive fix to semi-trucks may save lives in car accidents

A personal injury case in Illinois involving a truck and car often involves victims suffering catastrophic injuries and even death. Results may be tragic when an 80,000-pound truck collides with a passenger vehicle. Truck guards, a relatively simple and inexpensive device that prevents cars from being wedged underneath the truck, can help save hundreds of lives in this country from these accidents. But, as of right now these truck guards have not been mandated.

Approximately 301 vehicle occupants were killed in car accidents involving tractor-trailers when their cars crashed into the side of trucks in 2015. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimated that half of all deaths in cars crashing into trucks involved cars hitting the side of the truck trailer.

Seamen: Are you covered if you get hurt in an offshore accident?

You love being near the water—it’s soothing, calm and there is something very peaceful about it even when you are in the midst of hard work. Away from the land, you feel invigorated. That’s why you work on offshore rigs and barges. Anyone can work on the land, but you enjoy the camaraderie and satisfaction that comes from working closely with others who share your love of the outdoors.

For landlubbers who are hurt on the job, workers’ compensation exists to cover any workplace injuries. With workers’ comp, an individual can receive lost wages and medical care, but cannot file a separate lawsuit for pain and suffering or other personal injury claims.

Product liability lawsuits require extra planning

Consumers can face long-term consequences such as medical expenses or lost wages when a defective or malfunctioning product injures them. These have been publicized in personal injury or product liability lawsuits involving Takata airbag failures and GM's defective ignition lawsuit.

However, filing a lawsuit for compensation in these cases requires extra consideration. Product liability cases generally have two goals. First, the victim should receive compensation for injuries and other losses resulting from the defective product. Next, the manufacturer, seller or other responsible must be held accountable for making the harmful product.

Beyond the physical suffering of a motor vehicle accident

It may surprise you to see people walk away from an automobile accident with barely a scratch despite the massive damage done to their vehicles. On the other hand, it is common for someone to suffer catastrophic injuries from an accident that results in very little property damage.

Despite improved safety features and regulations to reduce highway hazards, accidents happen. If you are the victim of a motor vehicle accident, you know firsthand how devastating they can be.

Workers' compensation changes debated

In return for approval of large taxes increases in Illinois, Governor Bruce Rauner asked the General Assembly for workers' compensation reform to control costs in a special legislative session. Illinois manufacturers and businesses are charged the highest workers' compensation costs in the Midwest and the eighth highest in the nation.

The General Assembly already passed two Democratic-sponsored bills in the spring session. These are being sent to the governor.

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