Thursday, April 26, 2012

Railroad Injuries:

Federal Employees Liability Act
If the injured worker is employed by a railroad, he falls under the Federal Employees Liability Act (FELA) – a law that provides special protection to employees of railroads.
If the injured worker can prove that his employer was negligent (that is, provided an unsafe place to work) then he can recover for pain and suffering and disability and can recover full compensation. Such a case is usually worth much more than a Workers Compensation case since Workers Compensation has strict statutory limits. Further, with the FELA, the Plaintiff can have his case decided by a jury, which is always preferable since they have more in common with an injured Plaintiff.
Sometimes a worker is considered “employed” by the railroad even if he has a non-railroad employer. If we can demonstrate that the injured Plaintiff was 1) borrowed by the railroad or 2) working for two employers simultaneously, the railroad and his own employer, or 3) the injured Plaintiff’s employer is subservient to the railroad (under the railroad’s control), then we can seek protection under FELA. This can make the difference between a lifetime of benefits compared to the more meager Workers Compensation remedies.
Under the FELA, if the injury to the employee was not caused by the employer’s negligence, then there can be no recovery for pain and suffering and disability. However, the employer is still responsible for paying the employee’s medical bills and a percentage of his or her lost wages. This is called maintenance and cure.
One unfortunate aspect of the FELA law is that if the injured worker reaches maximum cure, the employer need no longer pay for his medical bills. In other words, if medical bills are purely for “palliative” treatment (that is, to treat pain) rather than providing functional improvement, the employer can cut off benefits.
For example, if there is no cure for an employee’s back pain and the patient is functionally as good as he will get, then paying for prescriptions to alleviate pain will be the responsibility of the employee, not the employer. It’s unfair, but it’s the law. The only way to force an employee to pay for “palliative” treatment is if we can prove the employer was negligent or did not provide a safe place to work. If there is a dispute regarding whether treatment is palliative or not the court will generally rely on the word of your treating physician.
Hence, to sum it up, if the employer was negligent, you are entitled to compensation for pain, suffering, disability, disfigurement, future pain and suffering, lost wages and all medical bills. If the employer was NOT negligent, then you are entitled to maintenance and cure that is payment of medical bills and a percentage of your lost wages until you have reached a state of maximum medical improvement.
It’s important that if you are injured at work, you obtain immediate treatment, provide specific explanations to the doctor about how your accident happened, that it happened at work, and be accurate in your descriptions of pain problems to your doctor or the company doctor. Get the names of witnesses and their phone numbers if possible and consult a lawyer immediately. The employer has high-paid attorneys to stop you from receiving just compensation – and they work quickly in FELA cases.
If your employer offers you free medical care, take it. Consult with an attorney about seeing your own physician. The employer’s doctor is likely to be biased against you and in favor of your employer, so it is important that you also have your own treating physician.
The FELA has both good and bad points. If the injury is not the fault of the employer or your co-employees, then you will wish you fell under the Workers Compensation no-fault system. If the employer was at fault, then you will be well compensated under the FELA.  Contact us today!!!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Earth Day 4.22.12

The future of our country depends on sustainable energy. Horwitz Horwitz & Associates salutes the skilled workers who build our windmills, solar farms and other energy solutions.

Start doing your part to decrease consuming and increase recycling.

FAQ Friday!!

What are my three basic rights under Workers' Compensation?
Answer: Wayne Newman, Parnter at Horwitz Horwitz & Associates

For more information on your workers' compensation rights, please click here or call 800-594-7433

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Testimonial Tuesday!!!

Union millwright finds his "self worth" thanks to Mitch and the Horwitz team!

"I was lifting heavy steal at work and tore my rotator cuff. I knew I needed some legal representation but waited a few years until things got worse. Thankfully a family friend told me about Mitch Horwitz. I went through some very extensive therapy but nothing was helping. Mitch got me into a pain management specialist and kept it under control. I could only lift a maximum of 20lbs on my left arm so I couldn't go back to work as a union millwright. When I lost the ability to go back to what I was used to doing put me in unfamiliar territory and I questioned my worth.  Mitch and Cassandra were able to make sure that my pay kept coming in since it was my only source of income. Mitch battled with the insurance companies and got me the settlement that I deserved. He also made sure my medical bills were taken care of and my rights were protected. If I had any questions Mitch and Cassandra were there for me. It was such a great feeling not worrying about all the details and knowing that they were protecting my best interests. I am so grateful for Mitch and the Horwitz team!"

If you need representation don't wait another day! Contact us now.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Monday Mischief

Things people actually said in court, word for word:
Q: What is your date of birth?
A: July fifteenth.
Q: What year?
A: Every year.

Mia the Monday Mischief Mascot....

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Construction injuries are among the most serious we encounter.

We have handled thousands of construction claims and pride ourselves on our knowledge. One of the partners in our firm, Jay Luchsinger, is a third generation ironworker out of Local 1. Further we have two former business agents working for the firm, one out of the laborers hall and one out of the carpenter’s hall.
Construction sites are rife with danger. From tripping hazards to fall hazards, it’s a danger zone. The most common injuries are due to lifting. The most serious injuries are usually due to falls from heights. However, even a trip over a piece of conduit can result in serious injury.
When injured on a construction site, the worker clearly has a Workers’ Compensation claim, but we sometimes find that the employer has no insurance. Under this scenario, Illinois law permits us to prosecute the company that hired the uninsured employer. This allows the Workers’ Compensation claim to go forward. We have seen numerous lawyers who fail to know this rule and who let injured workers go uncompensated.
With any construction injury, one must always evaluate whether there is a “third-party” case.
Severe injuries to construction workers are devastating. Since construction work is usually heavy duty and there is frequently no light or moderate duty work available, a serious injury can mean a loss of career. Since tradesmen are usually well paid and have excellent benefits, it’s almost impossible for the injured worker to find a comparable job. We have seen too many households end up in divorce over this tragedy.
In a number of conservative states, construction workers are poorly paid and have terrible laws protecting them. Thankfully, in Illinois, we have reasonable laws that recognize the hard work and sweat that the construction worker puts into his job. Jurors recognize it also. Hence, if we can demonstrate the injury was partially caused by someone other than your employer, we can frequently obtain full and substantial compensation for the injury so contact us today for a free consultation.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Testimonial Tuesday!!! Local laborer gives his compliments.

Mitch, Cassandra and Dan are a great team and we have testimonials to prove it! Way to go!

Below is a quote from a local laborer who came to us suffering from shoulder and leg injuries that occurred while working on the job site.

"I have been totally satisfied with my experience so far with Horwitz, Horwitz and Associates. I had run into a couple of problems with the insurance company but Cassandra and Dan were always quick to fix the problem. I had so many questions and concerns and Mitch was great with getting back to me with answers. I would highly recommend Horwitz, Horwitz and Associates to anyone that needs representation." 

To see more Horwitz testimonials, click here.