UIC Study: Chicago Workers Often Stiffed on Workers Comp Benefits, Minimum Wage

A new study released by the University of illinois at Chicago shows that wage theft is rampant among low income workers in the nation’s most populous county.

Wage theft has been a problem for a long time in Cook County, which encompasses Chicago. Experts say illegal immigrants, women, and minorities are particularly susceptible to wage theft. Employers often do not pay minimum wage, and deny workers’ compensation benefits.

The new study from University of Illinois at Chicago studied more than 1,000 workers. It shows the count loses $7.3 million each week in numerous industries because of violations of minimum wage and workers’ compensation laws. The study is called “Unregulated Work in Chicago.”

Researchers say wage theft affects at least 145,000 people in Cook County in industries like retail employees, child care, and housekeeping.

If you or someone you love has been injured at your job, you may be entitled to compensation from your employer to help cover the costs of your losses. To learn more, contact the Raleigh workers’ compensation lawyers of Scudder Seguin, PLLC at 919-851-3311.


Former Pfizer Employee Awarded $1.37M in Lawsuit

A former bio-technical scientist for Pfizer was awarded $1.37 million after being infected by a virus while working at the company and being refused workers’ compensation.

The former Pfizer employee contracted a experimental virus in the company’s laboratories. After the drug manufacturer denied workers’ compensation claims filed by the employee, the case went to court.

An intentional tort claim was dismissed by the presiding judge, and the injured worker was forced to proceed under the theory that the company had violated whistleblower laws. The ex-sceintist also alleged, in the lawsuit, that The Occupational Safety and Health Administration failed to throughly investigate the matter and take action.

If you or someone you love has been injured at your job, you may be entitled to compensation from your employer to help cover the costs of your losses. To learn more, contact the Raleigh workers’ compensation lawyers of Scudder Seguin, PLLC at 919-851-3311.


Court Approves $6.2M Sears Workers’ Comp Settlement

A court has approved the distribution of a $6.2 million compensation fund after Sears, Roebuck & Co. was found to be in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

In the lawsuit, the United States Equal Employment Opportunities Commission accused Sears of maintaining an inflexible workers’ compensation leave policy. The company was terminating employees instead of providing them with reasonable accommodations as required by law. The $6.2 million settlement is the largest Americans with Disabilities Act Lawsuit in Equal Employment Opportunities Commission history.

The terms of the accord asked that employees terminated by Sears under the workers’ compensation policy to report the extent of their impairments, their ability to work, and whether Sears made any attempt to return them to work. The EEOC determined that 235 individuals were eligible to share in the settlement. The average award was just above $26,000.

In North Carolina our workers’ compensation program is based on the belief that employees should be able to receive full medical treatment for their injuries. If you or someone you know has been injured on the job, the Raleigh workers’ comp lawyers of Scudder Seguin, PLLC can help. Please call our offices at 919-851-3311.


“Chimp Attack” Workers’ Comp Bill Moves to Senate

A workers’ compensation bill spurred by a chimp attack on a police officer is moving to the Senate floor.

The bill, which passed the Public Safety and Security Committee on Thursday, stems for the highly publicized case of Frank Chiafar, a Stamford Police Officer who was forced to shoot a rampaging chimp last year. Chiafari claims he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder because of the incident, but his claim for workers’ compensation coverage was denied because he shot an animal and not a person.

The bill, if passed, would allow police officers to seek workers’ compensation coverage for stress after using deadly force on animals. Current law provides coverage only for officers who use deadly force on humans.

Committee members said they expect the bill to be amended in the Senate to tighten the language and ensure the provision cannot be abused.

In North Carolina our workers’ compensation program is based on the belief that employees should be able to receive full medical treatment for their injuries. If you or someone you know has been injured on the job, the Raleigh workers’ comp lawyers of Scudder Seguin, PLLC can help. Please call our offices at 919-851-3311.


Officer Chiafari Testifies in Workers’ Comp Legislation

The Connecticut police officer that was denied workers’ compensation for the post traumatic stress he suffers following a chimp attack testified Thursday to amend the current law in his favor.

Officer Frank Chiafari responded to a call of a chimp attack last year. When he arrived at the scene the chimp, named Travis, attacked the officer and attempted to pull him out of his squad car. Chiafari was forced to shoot the animal. Chiafari’s superiors filed a claim on his behalf for workers’ compensation for the post-traumatic stress that still affects him. The claim was quickly rejected five days later because state workers’ compensation law does not cover police officers claims if they shoot an animal.

Chiafari testified before the legislature’s Labor and Public Employees Committee, hoping to persuade members to vote in favor of an amendment that would permit police officers who shoot attacking animals to submit workers’ compensation claims. “I came this close to getting ripped apart myself, and I can’t get that out of my head – seeing [Travis’] face coming at me with bloody teeth…” Chiafari told the committee.

If you or someone you know has been injured on the job, please contact a Raleigh workers’ compensation lawyer of Scudder Seguin PLLCby calling 919-851-3311.


Wal-Mart Ordered to Pay Workers’ Comp to Injured KY Man

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has lost a bid to deny workers compensation benefits to an employee who received a $900,000 award in a civil lawsuit.

Donald Greg Wells filed a lawsuit against Wal-Mart after suffering injuries from exposure to carbon monoxide while working in a freezer for the Wal-Mart Distribution Center. Wells was awarded benefits and Wal-Mart subrogation credit in the ruling, but the company appealed the decision. The company’s stance was that the hired contractors who renovated the freezer, Atlas and Unarco, were at fault.

Wells filed civil actions against Atlas and Uarco which resulted in $900,000 settlements.

Wal-Mart claimed that Wells should only be allowed to collect from the civil suits or a workers’ compensation claim, not both. The Administrative Law Judge presiding over the case stated that Kentucky law requires that an employee’s legal expenses be deducted from the employer’s or insurer’s portion of any recovery. Wells received $126,811 Wal-Mart subrogation credit.

If you or someone you know has been injured on the job, please contact a Raleigh workers’ compensation lawyer of Scudder Seguin PLLCby calling 919-851-3311.


Settlements Possible for 9/11 Rescue Workers

Thousands of lawsuits filed by 9/11 rescue workers against New York City are moving closer to settlements, according to a federal judge.

Close to 11,000 September 11 rescue workers have pending lawsuits against responding agencies and the city, litigation has been going since 2004. The judge who is presiding over the matters mentioned that the parties are looking toward possible group settlements while some lawsuits may still be settled individually.

The cases deal with rescue and cleanup workers who suffer from illnesses they claim stem from working at Ground Zero after the terrorist attacks of 2001.

If you have been injured in the workplace, please contact a Raleigh workers’ compensation attorney of Scudder Seguin PLLCby calling 919-851-3311.


Man Stages Robbery to Collect Workers’ Comp

A Philadelphia man has pleaded guilty in Maryland toconspiracy to commit insurance fraud after he staged a fake robbery and shothis own cousin as part of an elaborate conspiracy to help the cousin collectworkers’ compensation insurance.

46 year-old Joseph Francis Brooks, of Philadelphia, wasgiven a five-year suspended sentence and 18 months probation.

In August while working for UPS, Brooks’ cousin PierreLamont Taylor, was “robbed” by Brooks and shot in his right leg. Taylor soonfiled a workers’ compensation claim with Liberty Mutual Insurance.

Judge Michael J. Algeo said the incident “ranks as one ofthe dumbest things” he has seen anyone do.

If you have been injured in the workplace, please contactthe Raleigh workers’ compensation attorneys of Scudder Seguin PLLCby calling919-851-3311.


OSHA Releases Information About Workplace Injuries and Illness

Each year, more than 80,000 employers submit information about illness and injuries in the workplace to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). While the administration has collected data every year since 1996, the information was not available online until now. OSHA has now revealed a new searchable online database that has information from 1996-2007 so the public can look at data for an establishment or specific industry.

Workplace injuries can have a serious effect on your life and ability to support yourself and your family. If you are injured in an accident at work, contact the Raleigh worker’s compensation attorneys of Scudder Seguin PLLCat 919-851-3311 today.


Injury, Illness, and Work-related Deaths Declined in 2009

The North Carolinia Department of Labor released preliminary figures that show that workplace deaths declined from 54 in 2008 to 35 workers in 2009. In addition, the rates of non-fatal injuries and illnesses dropped for the second-straight year to an all-time low of 3.4 per 100 full time employees. Sources say the decline in injuries and illness may result in a 9.6 % drop in worker’s compensation rates in the new year.

If you have been injured in a workplace accident, contact the Raleigh worker’s compensation attorneys of Scudder Seguin PLLCat 919-851-3311 today.

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