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Chicago maritime injury lawyersWorkers in the United States are usually eligible to receive certain benefits if they are injured while on the job. Workers’ compensation will typically cover a person’s medical treatment and the loss of income they have experienced due to a workplace injury, and an employee will be eligible for these benefits no matter who was responsible for the injury. However, injury cases can become more complicated for those who work on boats. A different set of laws, known as maritime law or admiralty law, apply in cases involving offshore injuries, and workers who have been injured will want to be sure to work with an attorney who understands the unique legal issues involved in their case.

Receiving Compensation for Maritime Injuries

Even though maritime law usually applies to vessels that operate away from the shores of the United States, there are a large number of people in the Chicago area and throughout the state of Illinois who may be affected by these laws. In addition to shipping on Lake Michigan and throughout the Great Lakes, commercial vessels also regularly operate on the Chicago River, the Des Plaines River, and the Mississippi River, and anyone injured while working on these boats will want to understand their legal options.

The Jones Act is one of the key laws that apply to work-related injuries on boats. Under this law, a “seaman” can pursue a negligence claim against their employer if they were injured or contracted an illness during the course of their work. To be considered a seaman, a person must work on a vessel while it is in navigation, and they must contribute to the function or mission of the vessel. Usually, only members of a boat’s crew will be considered seamen. Land-based workers, such as harbor workers or longshoremen, will not be eligible for compensation under the Jones Act; instead, they will typically be able to receive compensation under the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA).

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Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer coronavirus COVID-19The coronavirus pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives. Stay-at-home orders have required many people to minimize contact with others in order to avoid becoming infected or spreading the disease. However, many workers at “essential businesses” have been required to risk exposure, and doctors and nurses, as well as employees at grocery stores, restaurants, and other important areas of the economy, have bravely placed themselves in harm’s way to ensure that others receive the care and services they need. Even when precautions are taken to minimize the risk of infection for these workers, some have contracted COVID-19, and they and their families are likely wondering about whether they will be able to receive workers’ compensation or if they have other legal options to address the harm they have experienced.

Recent Lawsuits Demonstrate the Difficulties Faced by Workers

Many employees of essential businesses are concerned about the possibility that they may be exposed to the coronavirus, become ill, or pass the infection to family members. In some cases, workers have experienced significant harm or died after contracting COVID-19. On April 6, 2020, the estate of a man who worked at a Walmart Supercenter in Cook County filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Walmart after the man died from complications related to COVID-19. The lawsuit alleges that Walmart acted negligently in a variety of ways, including failing to properly disinfect the store, provide employees with personal protective equipment, follow social distancing guidelines, or evaluate and respond to employees who showed symptoms of infection.

In another lawsuit, a nurse who worked at Northwestern Memorial Hospital claimed that she was wrongfully terminated by her employer after raising concerns about the masks provided to hospital employees. She stated that she was fired after bringing her own N95 mask to work and informing other employees that the masks distributed to employees by the hospital were less effective in preventing COVID-19 infections.

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DuPage County work area injury attorney

It is no secret that construction work is a dangerous job. However, people may not realize just how dangerous it can be and how often construction accidents and injuries occur. In 2017, more than 20% of all work-related fatalities occurred in construction. That is, one out of every five people killed in workplace accidents were construction workers. 

Falls are the leading cause of fatalities for construction workers, accounting for over one third of all deaths. Due to the risks of falls, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has put regulations in place to provide protections for workers.

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Lake County popcorn lung attorneyIn 2000, a number of workers at a Missouri facility that manufactured microwave popcorn developed a lung condition called bronchitis obliterans. This illness, which has become known as “popcorn lung,” was caused by the inhalation of a chemical used in popcorn flavoring. Despite its name, popcorn lung can have a variety of causes. Those who experience this condition may be able to hold a negligent employer or product manufacturer responsible for their injuries. 

What Causes Popcorn Lung?

A person may contract popcorn lung after being exposed to a number of different substances, including:

  • Diacetyl - This chemical was responsible for injuring the workers at the aforementioned popcorn plant, and it is often used for flavoring in food products like candy, potato chips, and dairy products. It is also commonly found in the “e-juice” used in electronic cigarettes and vape pens. While its use has been banned in e-cigarettes in Europe, it is still regularly used in the U.S.

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Cook County electrocution injury attorney

Electric shocks can cause devastating injuries, and people in certain occupations are at a higher risk of being electrocuted. In fact, electrocution is the sixth most common cause of workplace fatalities in the United States, and 54% of the deaths caused by electrocution are suffered by workers in the construction industry. If you have experienced an electrocution injury while working, you should be sure to understand your legal options for recovering compensation.

Effects of Electrocution

The injuries that occur when electricity flows through the body can vary depending on the type and amount of electrical current and the parts of the body affected. Some  common injuries include:

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