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Study shows drop in workers’ compensation benefits paid in Illinois versus the rest of the country

According to a study released by the National Academy of Social Insurance (the Academy) and republished by the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, there was a significant drop in workers compensation benefits paid in Illinois, especially when compared with the rest of the country. The study indicates that there was a 19.3% decrease between 2011 and 2015 in Illinois, while the rest of the country actually experienced a 2% increase over the same period. The total workers’ compensation benefits paid in Illinois in 2015 totaled $2.4 billion (for reference).

According to researchers, the decrease was likely caused by a series of alterations to the medical delivery system in 2011, which included a reduced medical fee schedule and the institution of a preferred provider program. Other changes included changes to the disability rating standards and legislation that changed the statutory benefit levels, which likely contributed to the drop in payment over the years that followed.

In addition, the growth in employers’ workers’ compensation costs (3.8%) failed to grow at the pace experienced by the rest of the country (21.6%).  To read more about this study, read the story here. If you or a loved one has been hurt at work and has been wrongly denied workers’ compensation benefits, contact the team at Spiros Law, P.C. at (815) 929-9292 to discuss your legal options.


Spiros Law Senior Associate Patricia Gifford Interviewed on WIVR “River Country” and WVLI “The Valley”

Spiros Law Senior Associate Patricia Gifford was interviewed on WIVR “River Country” and WVLI “The Valley” in Kankakee this week. Listen to the interview (above) in which Patricia discusses the prevalence of nursing home abuse and what to do if you suspect a loved one has suffered abuse while in an elder care facility.

Listen to the interview with Patricia and if you believe that someone you love has been the victim of nursing home abuse, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us immediately for help. You can reach an experienced member of our team by calling (815) 929-9292, filling out a contact form on this website, or chatting with us live.


Federal Report: Illinois leads nation in nursing home abuse cases, while far too many still go unreported

According to a report released by the Department of Health & Human Services, an audit recently faulted the Medicare system for failing to enforce federal laws requiring immediate notification of possible sexual and physical abuse. In the report, Illinois had the largest number of incidents (at 17 overall) during the two year-span of the audit, from 2015-2016. Michigan followed with 13 incidents, Texas had 9, and California had 8, according to the inspector general’s auditors, who used investigative data analysis techniques to identify the cases through hospital emergency room records.

The HHS audit revealed a total of 134 cases in emergency room records that indicated possible abuse, yet in 28% of the cases (38 total incidents), there was no evidence that law enforcement had been notified of the incident, according to hospital records. Nursing homes are required by federal law, as well as certain state and local laws, to report any incidents of a suspected crime promptly. If there is bodily injury, the facility must notify law enforcement within two hours. If there is no serious bodily injury involved, they are required to report the suspected crime within 24 hours. What’s more, of the 96 cases that were reported to law enforcement, the investigators were not able to clearly define if they were reported within the federally mandated “prompt notification” windows.

For the families of the 1.4 million people in the U.S. who are living in nursing homes, this report is yet another indication that we should be concerned about the treatment of our loved ones who are in elder care facilities. Despite the laws requiring immediate notification of abuse, it is clear that not all facilities are following the rules, and residents are suffering as a result.

Based on the results of this audit, the inspector general has urged Medicare, which covers medical care and doctor’s services for the disabled and elderly, to review computerized billing records to identify more instances of abuse and to take immediate steps to remedy its procedures to identify and report incidents within the federally mandated windows.

To learn more about this audit and the findings of the Department of Health & Human Services audit, read more at the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin. If your loved one has suffered abuse in a nursing home, or if the abuse was not reported in a prompt manner according to federal law, you do not have to let these failures stand. An experienced nursing home abuse lawyer of Spiros Law, P.C. can help you take action to hold the nursing home staff and facility accountable for their actions and can help you seek the compensation your loved one deserves.

 


Miranda Soucie to Speak at AAJ Education Webinar

We are proud to announce that one of Spiros Law’s attorneys, Miranda Soucie, will be participating in a national webinar hosted by the American Association for Justice. The title of the talk is Slip & Fall Webinar Series Part III: Discovery & Deposition Tactics. Join Soucie as she talks with Ken Levinson, Mike Neff, and Dan Chamberlain about building a discovery plan, working with depositions, and how to prepare a client. The talk will begin at 2:00 pm for those of you on the East Coast, on Tuesday, August 22. Join Soucie and her co-hosts as they discuss preparing your client, and yourself, for depositions!


Four-vehicle wreck injures sixteen people near Manteno

A four-vehicle wreck on Friday around 6:00 p.m. north of the Manteno exit on Interstate 57 injured sixteen people. Authorities say that none of the injuries are life-threatening and three individuals were treated and released on the scene, while the remaining injured individuals were transported to Riverside Medical Center and Presence St. Mary’s.

The northbound lanes of I-57 were shut down for about an hour while authorities cleared the scene and investigated the accident. The crash is still under investigation. To learn more about this story, visit the Daily Journal for updates.


Kankakee group home resident found dead in facility van

In a tragic developing news story, authorities in Kankakee are investigating the death of an elderly group home resident who was found in a facility van at 5:15 on Monday. Kankakee County sheriffs are investigating the cause of death, but initial reports indicate the individual may have passed away from heat exhaustion.

While details of the case are still being reported, early news indicates that the resident was a 69 year old who was in the care of Good Shepherd Manor at the time of the incident. The individual was a part of a group that went on a shopping trip on Monday.

Our thoughts are with the family of the victim. To learn more about this developing story, you can follow it here or read more at The Daily Journal here.


As farming remains a deadly career, experts urge the use of ROPS and a seatbelt

The risks of farming have decreased significantly over the past 50 years, dropping from 60 to 18 deaths per 100,000. Even so, farming lags behind similarly dangerous jobs, where recent technology has allowed their mortality rates to reach even lower. In 2015, 11 Illinois residents died while working the land, and as temperatures rise, more people are expected to be farming.

However, such unnecessary deaths can be prevented with basic tractor safety, such as the installation of a rollover protection system (ROPS). The system gained popularity between the 70’s and 80’s, and experts say the system, when paired with a seat belt, has a nearly 100% rate of effectiveness. On the other end of the spectrum, the likelihood of living through an accident without the protection of ROPS plummets to 20%.

The largest number of rollover accidents occur for farmers over the age of 55, who are often using outdated equipment. Farm safety instructors try to combat this trend by informing children about new techniques at their schools. Amy Rademaker, a farm safety specialist working for the Carle Center for Rural Health and Farm Safety said, “We often think that kids and younger folks are a way to their parents.”

In teaching a fourth-grade class of more than 200 students, Rademaker found a large discrepancy in children who wear seat belts in a car and those who wear seat belts in a tractor. It’s a common belief that a tractor accident would be less dangerous, due to their slow speeds, but sometimes a rollover can happen before anyone is able to react. Rademaker would like to see wearing a seat belt in a tractor become as critical as wearing one in a car.

David Newcomb, a farm worker himself and the manager of the Illinois Fire Institute’s Ag Rescue Program, teaches firefighters how to respond to farming injuries. He says there are several reasons a farmer may get into a deadly accident, even with ROPS installed. One of those reasons is that the system can be folded to fit into small spaces and just never get unfolded. He urges farmers to take care of themselves this season.


48 students and teachers sent to hospital for possible carbon monoxide poisoning

Fears of possible carbon monoxide exposure sent 48 students and teachers from Noel LeVasseur Elementary School in Bourbonnais to local hospitals on Thursday. Authorities believe that a boiler-room ventilation issue may have been the cause. The entire school was evacuated after students and teachers complained of dizziness and nausea, two major signs of carbon monoxide exposure.

To learn more about this story, read the Daily Journal article here. Our thoughts are with all of the affected students and teachers.


Two-car accident leaves Monticello teen with serious injuries

A two vehicle accident on the DeLand-Monticello blacktop, caused serious injuries to several individuals, including life-threatening injuries to one 16-year old Monticello teen. The accident occurred at 3:40 p.m. on Piatt County Route 5, according to news reports.

Police believe that the teen was driving a 2000 Chevy Malibu heading southbound, when the vehicle navigated a curve in the road and went into a gravel area, causing the tires to spin out and the driver to overcorrect, causing a collision with a northbound 2009 Chevy Impala. Authorities believe the Malibu may have flipped several times in the accident.

The teen driver was airlifted to Carle Foundation Hospital, while the other three teenage occupants in the vehicle were driven to the hospital with minor injuries. The driver of the Impala was also transported to the hospital with minor injuries.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families during this trying time.


Childcare facility reprimanded by state after drowning death

The Illinois Department of Child and Family Services reprimanded the Shawnee’s Little Shadows Daycare Center just south of Danville for neglect following an incident where a four year old drowned in a pool at the facility last fall. According to the allegations, the daycare failed to properly supervise the child at all times.

Parents have a reasonable expectation that their children will be properly supervised when in a daycare facility, and any failure on the part of the staff should not be tolerated. In the event of an accident, serious injury or as in this case death may occur, and that should never happen. The childcare neglect attorneys of Spiros Law are here to help you if a daycare facility fails to responsibly care for your precious child or children.

To learn more about this tragic story, read here. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the victim.