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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CARPAL TUNNEL SETTLEMENTS IN ILLINOIS

It can start as a dull pain and morph into a medical condition that requires intensive medical intervention. On the other hand, carpal tunnel syndrome can come out of nowhere to cause excruciating pain that at times, can require immediate surgery.

What happens is the median nerve passing into the hand becomes painfully compressed. The median nerve generates the touch sensation for the thumb, long finger, index finger, and a section of the ring finger. Swelling that produces the compression of the median nerve of the hand can lead to several symptoms.

Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

One of the common symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome is one or both of your hands “fall asleep.” Although the “fall asleep” condition is a temporary phase that typically affects the arms and legs, when it becomes one or both of your hands, then the numbness is probably the result of carpal tunnel syndrome.

Here are the other symptoms of the medical condition:

•    Tingling of the hand

•    Intense pain in the thumb and the largest three fingers

•    A burning sensation that moves up one or both arms

•    Nighttime wrist pain that disrupts sleep

•    Hand muscle weakness

How is Carpal Tunnel Treated?

You can treat mild carpal tunnel syndrome on your own by stopping the activity that causes the symptoms. A splint stabilizing the hand can reduce the nerve pressure causing the compression along the wrist. In many cases, your physician should examine the extent of the condition to determine the best course of medical action.

Doctors implement two strategies for treating mild to severe carpal tunnel syndrome. Medication is prescribed to mitigate the painful symptoms, such as swelling and inflammation. Your physician might recommend surgery that requires cutting the ligament touching the affected median nerve. However, surgery comes with risks, including scarring, infection, and/or nerve damage.

If you contracted carpal tunnel syndrome at work, you might be eligible to recover monetary damages to cover lost wages and medical bills.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Injuries Caused by Work

Carpal tunnel syndrome impacts one out of every 20 American workers. According to the United States Department of Labor, the medical condition is the number one reason why American employees miss work. Carpal tunnel is most often connected to repetitive on the job functions, such as typing, screwing nails, packaging materials, and lifting heavy objects into a truck.

Here are the industries with the highest incidence of carpal tunnel syndrome:

•    Administration

•    Apparel manufacturing

•    Food processing

•    Textile

•    Fabric finishing

•    Animal slaughtering

If you are employed in any of the listed industries, it is essential to take frequent breaks to avoid suffering from a repetitive motion injury. Otherwise, you might place enough pressure on the median nerve to set the pain train rolling. Consult with a doctor first, before seeking legal help from an Illinois licensed workers’ compensation attorney.

Compensation for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Although you cannot sue your employer for contracting carpal tunnel syndrome, you might have a valid claim for receiving compensation from the Illinois workers’ compensation program. The process for seeking financial relief from the Illinois workers’ compensation program differs significantly than the process for seeking monetary damages from a civil court.

Companies are responsible for funding workers’ compensation insurance. You do not have to prove your company acted negligently, just that your carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms are directly related to your job functions. It might seem like a straightforward legal process, but many companies like to derail claims by implementing different tactics.

Speak with an Illinois licensed personal injury lawyer to level the legal playing field between you and your employer when it comes to proving carpal tunnel symptoms on the job,

What Determines the Value of a Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Claim?

How much Illinois workers’compensation pays out for a claim depends on several cost factors.

•    Number of doctor visits

•    Prescriptions

•    Rehabilitation

•    Lost wages

•    Surgery

•    Supportive medical devices

Sometimes, carpel tunnel cases can be severe enough to warrant payment for a permanent disability claim. Such a claim also requires the legal counsel of an accomplished personal injury lawyer.

Two Illinois carpal tunnel syndrome lawsuits since 2010 have ended in settlements for the plaintiffs that exceeded $1 million. Both plaintiffs worked closely with highly rated personal injury attorneys to present their claims.

Take the same road taken by the winning plaintiffs by scheduling a free initial consultation today with our team of personal injury attorneys. You have nothing to lose; you’ll pay nothing out of pocket for our services. If we don’t get you compensation, we don’t get paid.

Frederick & Hagle serves people throughout Central Illinois, including Champaign-Urbana, Kankakee, Danville, Decatur, and Mattoon, Champaign County, Vermillion County, Macon County, Kankakee County, and Coles County.

How much is my case worth?

A common question we hear when talking to clients is, “how much is my case worth?”  But if you are hurt on the job in Illinois you are going to hear terms like PPD or “percentage loss of use,” and they can be confusing.  Hopefully, we can clear that up a bit.

Almost every Illinois work injury has some settlement value.  When you are done with your medical care is when it’s time to start thinking about a settlement which, if you aren’t permanently disabled or in a situation where you have a significant wage loss, is called PPD or permanent partial disability.

In plain English, PPD is compensation for how your injury is likely to affect you in the future.  You get compensated for the diminished nature of whatever body part was injured.  It’s a myth.  If you break your hand, usually it will grow back stronger so in theory there is no PPD.  In reality though if you hurt your hand at work you will be entitled to some settlement or if the insurance company won’t pay, an award from an Arbitrator after a short hearing.

So how do you figure out what your case is worth?

First, we need to know your average weekly wage. To determine your PPD rate for settlement, we take your average weekly salary (gross not net) and multiply it by 60%.  If you grossed $1,000 a week, your PPD rate would be $600.  There is a cap on this amount.  The highest PPD rate you could have if you were injured today is $790.64.  So for anyone making $68,522.13 a year or more, $790.64 would be your PPD rate.

The second thing we need to know is what body part is hurt.

The third thing to know is what percentage loss of use did you sustain to that body part.  This is determined mostly by looking at your medical records, the treatment you have had, any restrictions you might have, need for future treatment and what complaints you currently have.  As lawyers, we would compare what you are going through to other cases that have been decided at the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission.

We then take your PPD rate and multiply it by the number of weeks associated with your injured body part. The table below is the maximum value for any body part.

Part of Body And Maximum Number of Weeks Paid

Man as a whole (neck, back) 500

Hand 205

Thumb 76

Index finger 43

Middle finger 38

Ring finger 27

Pinky finger 22

Arm 253

Arm amputated above elbow 270

Arm amputated at shoulder joint 323

Foot 167

Big Toe 38

Any non-big toe 13

Leg 215

Leg amputated above knee 242

Leg amputated at hip joint 296

Loss of sight in one eye 162

Loss of one eye 173

Hearing loss in one ear due to occupational disease 100

Hearing loss in one ear due to accident or trauma 54

Loss of hearing in both ears 215

Kidney, spleen, or lung removal 10

Loss of one testicle 54

Loss of both testicles 162

If you tore your ACL and were determined to have a 40% loss of the leg.  40% of 215 (see the chart, a leg is worth up to 215 weeks) is 86.  So if you were making $1,000 a week, your PPD rate would be $600.  $600 x 86 means the case would be worth $51,600.00

If you lost 100% sight in one eye and you were making $1000/week before the injury, you would multiply $600 (60% of your average weekly income) times 162 which would net a permanent benefit of $162,000. This number, of course, would change if losing your vision made you permanently disabled or caused a significant wage loss.

If you were disfigured due to your on the job injury, like a scar on your face, the parties involved would need to agree on a number of weeks of compensation that injury is worth and then apply the same amount of weeks to 60% of your average income, with a maximum of 162 weeks.

Does this seem confusing?  It can be, but hopefully, this clears things up a bit.

Bonus tip.  Beware insurance companies who try to base what your injury is worth solely off an AMA rating.  It would significantly undervalue what your case is worth.

And of course, if you have any questions or concerns, you can call us any time at 217-367-6092 for a free consultation.

Truck Accident Statistics in Illinois

Over the past several years, The Weather Channel has expanded its programming options to present reality shows that demonstrate the awesome power of Mother Nature. One such show is called Highway Thru Hell, which chronicles how a commercial towing company handles the vehicle crashes caused by the slick road conditions present in Canadian mountain passes. What is interesting about the show is how seemingly countless 18-wheeler’s find their way into deep, snow covered ravines.

The more alarming fact about truck accidents is that many of the crashes result in severe injuries and unfortunately, an alarming number of fatalities. Millions of delivery trucks ranging from the trucks owned by UPS to the BP monsters hauling fuel cross the United States have to meet extremely tight delivery deadlines. The rush to get to a destination on time places both truck drivers and operators of other types of vehicles at a high risk of truck accidents.

In fact, the prevalence of truck accidents has prompted many trucking companies to assemble an in house team of attorneys to counteract the legal actions taken by personal injury lawyers.

Truck Accident Statistics in Illinois

With Chicago as one of the major commercial transportation hubs and destinations in the United States, it is not surprising to learn Illinois ranks high in the number of accidents involving commercial trucks. In 2014, which is the latest year for which statistics were released, the Illinois Department of Transportation made public a report that listed the following statistics.

Semi trailer trucks were responsible for more than 11,000 accidents, which accounted for more than 10% of all fatal vehicle crashes. Ninety-five people lost their lives because of truck accidents, leaving 1,902 motorists and pedestrians injured. The Illinois truck accident statistics released in 2014 confirmed a trend that should make the owners of other types of vehicles think twice about passing a big rig or even saddling up to the side of an 18-wheeler.

Primary Causes of Truck Accidents

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has reviewed more than 120,000 accidents involving at least one truck and the federal agency has come up with one compelling statistic.

Driver negligence causes about 87% of all truck accidents. What are some of the reasons causing truck driver negligence?

  • Distractions
  • Driver fatigue
  • Speeding
  • Making bad decisions
  • Drug and/or alcohol use
  • Jackknifing
  • Not familiar with area

The FMCSA discovered 10% of truck crashes involved some type of vehicle defect and the remaining three percent of truck accidents were directly related to poor road conditions.

Another reason plays a role in truck accidents that occur in greater Chicagoland. Six federally sanctioned interstates cross through the heart of The Windy City. Whether you commute every day on the Kennedy Expressway or leave for a weekend in the country by taking Interstate 55, chances are you will encounter numerous commercial trucks on the road.

Types of Truck Accidents

According to the FMCSA, four types of truck accidents encompass more than half of all crashes involving a semi and at least one other vehicle.

Rollovers

Several different scenarios can cause rollover accidents. Rollovers can happen because a truck driver tries to avoid contact with another vehicle or hit another vehicle and then the truck ends up on its side or worse, rolling over more than one time. Driving too fast for the conditions and not applying enough brake pressure on steep inclines cause the majority of truck rollover accidents.

Jackknifes

When truck’s axel brakes suddenly lock, the trailer can skid for dozens of yards, depending on the speed of the vehicle. The trailer can stop only if the driver angles the trailer to be 90 degrees with the cab. During the time a truck jackknifes, the driver loses complete control of the truck and typically a rollover unfolds.

Under Ride

As one of the most dangerous types of truck accidents, an under ride appears similar to a rear end collision. However, an under ride collision involves a smaller vehicle hitting the back of a truck at the point where the smaller vehicle makes impact at the top of the vehicle. The reason for the dangerous nature of an under ride is the possibility of the driver of the smaller vehicle receiving life threatening head injuries.

Rear End

Trucks carry considerable weight, which makes stopping the vehicle difficult to perform over short distances. The most common type of truck accidents can be either the fault of the truck driver or the driver of the other vehicle for not maintaining the proper distance for applying the brakes. Trucks weighing 8,000 pounds and moving at 60 miles per hour need 426 feet to stop.

Here are a few other types of truck crashes:

  • Road construction
  • Brake failure
  • Improper braking technique 
  • Blind spot
  • No zone accidents 
  • Turns taken too wide

Serious Injuries Caused by Truck Accidents

Weighing several tons and applying incredible force at high speeds, semi tractor trailers and even the smaller trucks driven by delivery companies can cause significant injuries. Many of the following injuries requires months, if not years of physical therapy to overcome.

  • Whiplash
  • Fractures
  • Brain swelling
  • Herniated discs
  • Internal organ damage
  • Joint contusions

If you suffer from one or more injuries caused by a truck accident, you should work with a highly rated team of personal injury lawyers to ensure you receive the monetary damages you deserve for long term physical and emotional harm. A majority of truck accidents in Illinois take place on the roads and highways covering the Chicago metro area. Each of the personal injury lawyers at our firm has amassed years of experience representing clients that have undergone the ordeal of a life changing truck crash.

Proving Negligence is the Key

As legal experts that often prosecute truck accidents causing personal injuries and fatalities, our team of attorneys understands how to get to the bottom of a personal injury case. We thoroughly investigate every truck crash incident to determine liability. Our strategy typically involves establishing whether a truck driver violated one or more state and federal regulations.

Here are some of the tools we use to ensure trucking companies have followed state and federal regulations:

  • Review time log books
  • Determine level of truck maintenance
  • Drug and alcohol tests
  • Confirm adequate insurance coverage
  • Examine truck safety markings
  • Weight restriction compliance
  • Adherence with loading procedures
  • Fulfilled safety inspection requirements

When our team of accomplished personal injury attorneys files a lawsuit against a trucking company, we have to present evidence that proves the truck driver in question caused an accident. Referred to as negligence, the key to helping you seek justice for the physical pain and emotional duress caused by a truck accident involves proving reckless conduct by the driver and/or trucking company.

Hire a Highly Rated Personal Injury Lawyer

Many of our clients feel acute anxiety after dealing with truck accidents. However, you cannot afford to wait for the stress to diminish. You should contact one of the accomplished personal injury lawyers at our law firm to seek swift justice for the negligence that caused the truck crash.

Call our office at 217-367-6092 or complete the convenient online form today to schedule a free initial consultation.

Who is responsible for paying medical bills after a traffic accident?

Have you been injured in a traffic accident in the state of Illinois? If so, you might find yourself wondering exactly who is responsible for the resulting medical bills. Let’s take a look at what to expect below, and don’t forget that you can reach out to the professionals at Frederick & Hagle for a free consult at 800.642.1227!
Common Misconceptions
First of all, it’s important to understand up front that the responsible party’s insurance company won’t pay for your medical expenses until after your case has been settled. We know that’s not what you want to hear right now, especially if you’re also dealing with lost wages on top of steep medical bills. You need to keep this information in mind, however, so that you understand that your medical expenses will likely be sent to collections if you tell the medical professional in question to “bill” the responsible party’s insurance. You’ll most likely have to pay up front and seek reimbursement after the fact.
With that said, keep in mind that this doesn’t mean insurance won’t cover your bills at all. It just means that you’ll have to pay them before your case is settled and take reimbursement out of the compensation secured on your behalf by an experienced attorney.
Check in with Your Health Insurance
When you go in for medical treatment, make sure to tell the provider that they should bill your health insurance agency. Many of the larger agencies will have special rates with certain facilities, so they’ll end up paying less than you might. Note that you might still be responsible for things like deductibles or the like require upfront payments. Additionally, your health insurance will likely expect their reimbursement to come from any compensation you receive from your injury case.
Medpay
Many car insurance policies contain a clause with medical payment coverage, also known as medpay. If it is present in your insurance policy, then you’ll likely have a set amount of money they will pay out of pocket. Once they meet that threshold, you’ll have to look elsewhere for expense coverage. This can be a great option to look into before worrying about other payment methods; however, you should keep in mind that this clause is optional. It might not be a solution for you, but it doesn’t hurt to check with your insurance company.
Liens
Another option to consider – or one that might be utilized whether you’re aware or not – is that of a “lien.” A lien is put in place to ensure that once you recover compensation, you pay off your medical bills. Some medical establishments will file for a lien on their own and others will enter into that agreement with you in exchange for providing treatment without billing you until your lawsuit has been settled.
For more information about your specific case, reach out to the skilled attorneys at Frederick & Hagle today!

How to Handle an FCE

Workers’ compensation claims are notoriously complex to settle fairly. It’s really no surprise, then, that almost anything related to them is seen in a rather negative light. Functional capacity evaluations (FCEs), for example, are often viewed with much mistrust on the part of patients completing them. And while that’s understandable, it’s important to note that there’s nothing inherently bad about the process. Infact, FCEs can work to prove your claim and help you receive the compensation and work restrictions necessary for your health.

What is an FCE?

An FCE is a type of test where patients demonstrate their capacity to do various tasks related to their daily lives and their work lives. It is designed to simulate activities that they might run into in their workplace or during the course of their work day in order to assess how well they can reasonably be expected to perform them. If the patient works as a construction worker, for example, but was injured while working and can no longer use their hands effectively for manual labor, an FCEto determine their exact capacity might be ordered.

These exams are generally overseen by a neutral physician or healthcare specialist who has specific activities they’ll ask patients to complete.

Why do I need an FCE?

If you’ve been injured at work and are in the midst of a workers’ compensation suit, you might wonder why you’re being asked to undergo an FCE in the first place. Keep in mind that,depending upon the injuries in question, the stakes for both you and the business in question could be pretty large. Even specialists might not be able to give a definitive answer about how your injuries would impact you at work, especially if they aren’t familiar with the industry. An FCE, then, is conducted to allow a professional to assess how the injuries you’ve received will impact your ability to do your job.

In addition to the above, keep in mind that an FCE is often highly valued in workers’ compensation cases because they are used by the people hearing or reviewing your claim to determine what accommodations or compensation you should be awarded.

How should I approach an FCE?

Your first instinct might be to try and appear as injured as possible during the examination, but this is not a good option for the long haul. If the exam administrator notices that you’re purposefully not giving your all, they will make note of that in the report and it could significantly negatively impact your case. At the same time, you shouldn’t strain yourself and overexert yourself during the exam. Just give your best effort without straining your ability – that’s all anyone expects.

If you’re facing a workers’compensation claim, it’s important to have experienced attorneys on your side.The professionals at Frederick & Hagle can help! Reach out to us today for a free consultation to see what we think about your case and how we can help.

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