Foote, Mielke, Chavez & O'Neil, LLC
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How workplace injuries should be handled in Illinois

Many workers are injured every year at workplaces in Illinois and around the country. It is important for employers to handle a job site injury in an appropriate manner, both to help the injured worker as well as to help lessen the likelihood of future injury accidents.

The first thing an employer should do when an employee is injured at work is to provide the appropriate care. If the injury is severe, 911 should immediately be called. For lesser injuries, the employer should see that the worker is taken to a doctor to get treatment for the injury. In addition to getting help for the injured worker, the employer should make certain that the accident scene is secure and remains undisturbed for investigators.

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration next requires that employers complete an incident report and keep records of all injuries that occur in the workplace. They should report the accident to their workers' compensation insurance carrier within 24 hours of its occurrence. If the injury is one that necessitates the worker's being gone from the job for an extended period, offering a transitional modified work schedule to ease the return is appropriate. Finally, employers should make a commitment, through training and workplace policies, to having a safe working environment. If the accident reveals a problem, the issue should be addressed and corrective action taken in order to prevent future injuries from occurring.

Workplace injuries occur sometimes when the employer does have good safety policies in place. By handling the injury accident correctly, employers may help minimize future risk to their workers. However, despite all precautions, many accidents are not preventable. Regardless of whose fault it was, those who are injured on the job may be able to file a workers' compensation claim with their employer's insurance carrier. Through such a claim, they may recover the costs of their medical and treatment expenses as well as a percentage of any wages missed during the time that they were unable to work.

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