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As farming remains a dangerous career, experts urge the use of ROPS and seatbelts on tractors

This week, The News Gazette released an investigative report on reducing deaths on farms by improving tractor safety. According to studies discussed in the story, farming has experienced significant increases in safety over the past 50 years, improving from 60 to 18 deaths per 100,000, but falls 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 the temperatures become warm, more people are expected to be farming–the time of the year where most of these deaths occur.

However, deadly accidents can be prevented with basic tractor safety, such as the installation of a rollover protection system (ROPS). The systems attained popularity between the ‘70s and ‘80s, and experts say that the system, when paired with a seatbelt, 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The largest number of rollover accidents occur in farmers over the age of 55, who are often using outdated equipment. Farm safety instructors try to combat this trend by informing children 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 seatbelts in a car and those who wear seatbelts in a tractor. It’s a common belief that a tractor accident would be less dangerous, due to their slow speeds, but a critical point between a rollover accident and safety can happen before anyone would be able to react. Rademaker would like to see wearing a seatbelt 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 that there are several reasons a farmer may get into a deadly accident, even with ROPS installed, one of those reasons being 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.

The team at Spiros Law know all too well the dangers of farm equipment and the serious accidents that can occur when a tractor is involved in an accident. If you or a loved on has been hurt in a tractor accident, we know that speaking to a lawyer may be the last thing on your mind, but keep in mind we are here to help relieve you of the burdens that you may be facing. Contact a compassionate, experienced attorney at Spiros Law to let us fight for the compensation you deserve if you were hurt in an accident.


Spiros Law in the Community: Illinois Marathon Runners!

Illinois MarathonCongratulations to the following members of the Spiros Law team who competed in races at the Illinois Marathon this past weekend. We’re proud of you and your achievements!

Sandy Loeb- Half
Bill Schmitz- Half
Matt Duco- 10K

We are proud of Sandy, Bill, and Matt, and the entire Spiros team was proud to be a sponsor of such a great event!

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Watch Now: Miranda Soucie discusses the Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon Race App presented by Spiros Law

Spiros Law attorney Miranda Soucie was featured on The Morning Show today, a visit in which she discussed the Illinois Marathon Race App that is being sponsored by the law firm. This app will allow friends and family to track their favorite runner along the course as well as provides a course map and other valuable information! Click the link below to watch Miranda on the news and download the app before this weekend’s race!

Miranda on the Morning Show

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Spiros Law team sponsors Illinois Marathon app and will participate in Presence Illinois 5k

Spiros AppThis week, elite athletes and casual runners will hit the course in Champaign-Urbana for the Illinois Marathon. This year, the team at Spiros Law, P.C. are proud sponsors of the Illinois Marathon mobile race app! This free mobile app features maps of the course, race info, and live-tracking so you can follow your family and friends as they complete the race. Tune in to WCIA  on Friday morning at 7:30 a.m. to hear our own Miranda Soucie discuss the mobile app.

In addition to sponsoring the marathon’s app, members of the Spiros team will be participating in the Presence Illinois 5k Run/Walk on Friday, April 21st.  We are proud to run and walk alongside our friends and family in the community and we encourage you to come join us this week!

Click here to download the mobile app and follow your favorite runners through the race.


Governor Rauner proposes measures seeking to improve business

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner recently presented proposed amendments to the state’s workers’ compensation system that aim to “rebalance the fee schedule to find savings while protecting access to quality care and still compensating providers fairly.”

This has spurred the state House of Representatives Democratic Caucus to draft specific resolutions to make this possible. “While we are not proposing to reduce benefit levels, we have asked lawmakers to address circumstances for which the system was not designed,” Rauner said.

In line with this, legislators pushed forward a measure that seeks to bestow the Illinois Department of Insurance the authority to assess insurance rates before they are implemented and reject rates the agency finds unreasonable. This reform is already implemented in 25 other states, including Indiana, Iowa, and Wisconsin.

According to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, injuries that qualify for compensation occur at a rate of 2,883 per 100,000 workers in Illinois, which is lower than the national average of 3,279 per 100,000 workers. This rate is much lower than the rate of Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Michigan.

Contact our Champaign-Urbana workers’ compensation lawyers at Spiros Law, P.C. by calling our offices today at (217) 328-2828 if you were injured in a workplace accident and you need legal help with filing a workers’ compensation claim.


Florida workers’ compensation panel asks for creation of drug formulary

A state workers’ compensation advisory panel, called the Three-Member Panel, voted on Wednesday, January 4 to ask the Florida Legislature to look into creating a drug formulary to keep medical costs in check.

The panel lays down policies on reimbursements and payment levels for health care providers, pharmacists, and medical suppliers who work with workers’ compensation claimants. Even though Florida law lays down guidelines for carriers to respond to treatment requests, it in no way defines “respond,” Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation Assistant Director Andrew Sabolic said. He noted, “We can do better. Providers can do better. Carriers can do better. They both can be held more accountable for their actions.”

Florida lays down maximum reimbursement allowances for hospital outpatient services and services performed in ambulatory surgical centers. This process helped minimize costs, the document said, but the allowances are not applicable to every procedure, and there was no way to tell whether the outlier procedures were being billed appropriately.

If you are feeling helpless after experiencing a workplace accident, don’t lose hope. Our Champaign workers’ compensation attorneys at Spiros Law, P.C. can help you obtain the workers’ compensation benefits you need in times like these. Call our offices today at 217-328-2828 to discuss your options.


Obamacare’s ‘Cadillac tax’ can bring about health savings – study

University of Illinois tax expert Richard Kaplan, in a new paper, said that the President Barack Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)’s “Cadillac tax”, “which isn’t scheduled to take effect until 2020, was enacted to fulfill two related but distinct purposes: to raise revenue to offset the subsidies [that Obamacare] provides to low-income people who buy health insurance on the open market, and to discourage employers from providing particularly generous health insurance plans with low or no deductibles and minimal co-pays.”

These plans materialize because the tax code subsidizes employer-provided health insurance, which makes employees want to trade in a higher salary for an all- or most-expense paid coverage on health insurance, with Kaplan noting, “Such insurance is very expensive, but employers can deduct the premiums while employees need not report this benefit as income. The Cadillac tax was aimed at curbing this sort of compensation, which some argue leads to wasteful spending and overconsumption of health services.”

Kaplan said employers have been gradually shifting the burden of paying for health insurance to their employees “to reduce the cost of health insurance to employers’ bottom line. Second, to allow for wage increases, which resonate with employees more than increased health insurance benefits.”

He added that Obamacare is actually leading to former President George W. Bush’s health care policy by passively encouraging health care accounts “in which you could set money aside for medical expenses, and balances remaining at the end of the year could be rolled over to the next year, unlike with a flexible spending account.”

Our attorneys at Spiros Law, P.C. can be counted on to help people who have been denied their rightful compensation through their insurance. Insurance companies are businesses more interested in their profit than protecting their beneficiaries, failing to pay the full amount deserved every time. Get in touch with a qualified member of our legal team by calling our Champaign offices today at (217) 328-2828.


Madigan shares thoughts on state workers’ compensation status

Illinois House of Representatives Speaker Michael J. Madigan’s spokesperson, Steve Brown, has repeatedly said that insurance companies in the state are hoarding cost savings. There has yet to be concrete proof of anti-trust violations, including violations of provisions of the Sherman Act of 1890, the Clayton Act of 1914, and the Federal Trade Commission Act of 1914.

However, according to Illinois Policy Institute—Chicago-based non-profit think tank—vice president, Michael Lucci, these statements are not possible because Illinois has a competitive workers’ compensation insurance market, with 332 insurance companies currently operating in the state.

Lucci added that the profit drives insurance companies to compete, not price-fix. Also, he said that trial attorneys would absolutely file lawsuits against companies if price-fixing was indeed happening in a $3 billion/year industry such as the workers’ compensation insurance business.

Our attorneys at Spiros Law, P.C. believe that all humans have a basic responsibility to ensure the safety of those around them; this philosophy extends to employers in the workplace. Workers are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits should they get hurt while doing their job. If this happened to you and you failed to receive your needed amount or any compensation at all, seek our legal help when it comes to applying for such benefits by calling our Champaign offices at (217) 328-2828.


TV and movie sets prone to workplace accidents

John Suttles, a truck driver, is one person unrecognized on the list of people who made The Avengers possible. Suttles died in an accident during shooting the $1.5 billion movie.

Yearly, workers on both sides of the camera are exposed to injuries as they try to deliver quality entertainment that also seeks high ratings on the big screen. Many of these injuries come from explosives and dangerous stunts, but even more result from accidental falls, falling equipment, and machines without safety guards. According to research conducted by The Associated Press, at least 43 individuals have died and 150 others have incurred serious injuries on movie and television sets in the United States since the 1990’s.

Our attorneys at Spiros Law, P.C. provide legal services to our clients in Champaign-Urbana and other areas in Illinois. We handle workers’ compensation cases as well. Get in touch with a qualified member of our legal team today by calling our offices at (217) 328-2828 to take charge of your life now.


More Bad News for the Illinois Business Scene

According to the 2016 Oregon Workers’ Compensation Premium Rate Ranking study, Illinois was ranked as the most expensive state in the Midwest in terms of workers’ compensation costs, and is tied with Oklahoma as the seventh-most expensive state in the United States.

Aside from that, the study reveals that Illinois is not an attractive site for firms looking to start blue-collar companies within the state.

Furthermore, the study says that just because a state has higher wages, that does not mean it should apply to have higher workers’ compensation premiums, as a premium rate of $2 per $100 of payroll on an $80,000 worker produces twice the amount of premium as the same premium rate does on a $40,000 worker.

On the other side of the fence, Illinois insurers saw their profits increase by 1.7% in 2015—better than the national average—as per the Illinois Department of Insurance’s 2016 Workers’ Compensation Insurance Oversight Report.

Our attorneys at Spiros Law, P.C. work together toward a noble end: providing a favorable result to our clients’ case and, in this case, helping them obtain their much-needed workers’ compensation benefits. Get in touch with a qualified member of our legal team by calling our Champaign-Urbana in Illinois offices today at (217) 328-2828.