The Chicago Employment Law Blog

60 Ill. Prison Guards Awarded Settlements For Trauma Claims

One in every 10 guards at the Menard Correctional Center in Chester was awarded a workers' compensation settlement for repetitive trauma blamed on locking and unlocking cells, according to the Belleville News-Democrat.

Also, 35-year-old warden David Rednour received $75,678 in June for repetitive trauma he claimed to have suffered during his earlier career as a police officer. In addition, he received $9,196 in paid time off last year to recover from corrective surgery.

Illinois Sen. Kyle McCarter, R-Lebanon, believes the Menard settlements are just one example of widespread workers' compensation abuse in the state:

"We have to take a strong stand against this while helping out workers who are legitimately hurt on the job. The fraud and the abuse has to go. It's driving business out of the state."

David Rednour's Illinois workers' compensation attorney, Thomas Rich, cited the so-called "last employer" clause in the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act allowing state employees to claim compensation for an accumulated injury. In this case, David Rednour claims his repetitive trauma began with his prior employer.

Public records show that all of the 60 guards' cases, claiming roughly $1.75 million in settlements since 2007, involve repetitive trauma from locking and unlocking cell doors such as carpal tunnel syndrome.

In contrast, records show that there were no repetitive trauma injury claims at maximum security prisons in Pontiac and Stateville and that the overall number of claims are just a fraction of those at Menard. Those facilities, however, use electronically controlled cell doors.

Workers' compensation insurance is paid by employers, employees and taxpayers and reimburses workers who are injured on the job. Speak with a Chicago workers' compensation attorney if you have any questions about filing a claim.

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