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ironworker injury lawyerIronworkers in Illinois perform many thankless tasks as part of their everyday job responsibilities. Some of these tasks, like reading blueprints, are fairly harmless. Others, like loading and stacking iron and steel, pose moderate dangers. But there are certain responsibilities ironworkers have that can be extremely dangerous. Putting together the steel skeleton of skyscrapers, reinforcing bridges and highways with rebar, and using heavy metalworking equipment can result in serious and even fatal injuries. 

To add to these difficulties, ironworkers are often exposed to hazardous weather conditions during Chicago’s infamous winters. Job sites may contain toxic chemicals or dangerous physical obstacles. Equipment is hot, heavy, and very powerful. In fact, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates ironwork to be one of the most deadly jobs in the country. If you have experienced an ironworker accident, it is important to understand your options under Illinois law and speak with a personal injury as soon as possible. 

Common Ironworker Injuries

Due to the nature of the job, ironworkers face many common injuries. These are just a few examples of the more serious situations ironworkers may face: 

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illinois construction lawyerConstruction workers in Illinois are a large part of the underappreciated workforce that makes our world go round. Every day, rain or shine, they show up to do the difficult work of building the places we work and live. Unfortunately, construction workers are exposed to the inherent risks of the job. Serious injuries and fatal construction accidents due to falls, slips, and contact with objects or equipment occur every year. In 2019 in Illinois alone, 30 fatalities and many more injuries occurred in the private construction industry. 

Who is Responsible for Construction Site Accidents? 

Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the employers to provide a safe worksite. Budgetary concerns and time constraints often pressure employers to cut corners, and workers face increased hazards as a result. Injured construction workers in Illinois are generally able to recover compensation for injuries and loss of income through workers’ compensation benefits. Illinois has a no-fault workers’ compensation system, meaning that a worker is eligible for benefits from the employer’s insurance whether the injury was the fault of the worker, a co-worker, or the employer. 

Additionally, when a third party is fully or partially responsible for the injury or death (such as other companies working on the same site or manufacturers of defective equipment), injured workers or the families of workers who died in an accident may be able to pursue damages through a personal injury claim. 

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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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