If you have been injured at work, you may be experiencing significant pain and discomfort, and need to see a doctor. However, you may be unsure about how to address the costs of medical care or whether your income could be affected by the requirement to take time off while you are recovering. While workers’ compensation benefits are available for injuries that occurred in the workplace, you may also be wondering if your workers’ comp claim will be affected by any pre-existing conditions you have. The answer is not always simple, but in general, you should still be eligible for benefits even if you have a pre-existing condition. By understanding how the workers’ compensation laws in Illinois address pre-existing conditions, you can make sure you receive the benefits you deserve.
Workers’ Compensation and Pre-Existing Conditions
In Illinois, as in most states, workers’ compensation is a no-fault system. This means that regardless of who was at fault for your accident or how your injury occurred, you should still be eligible for benefits, as long as your injury is work-related. Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance should cover you regardless of whether you had any pre-existing conditions.
However, there are some circumstances in which a pre-existing condition can affect your workers’ compensation claim. If you have a pre-existing condition that is similar to the symptoms of your work injury, the insurance company may deny your claim based on the argument that your symptoms are actually due to the pre-existing condition and not the work injury. For example, if you have carpal tunnel syndrome and experience numbness and tingling in your hands, and you then injure your hand at work, the insurance company may try to deny your claim based on the argument that the symptoms you are experiencing following your injury are due to the carpal tunnel syndrome rather than anything that happened to you in the workplace. In these cases, you may need to work with an attorney to demonstrate that your injuries are, in fact, work-related.
On the other hand, if you have a medical condition that has been aggravated or accelerated by your work injury, then you may be entitled to receive benefits for the aggravation of your condition. For example, if you have arthritis in your knee and your job requires you to stand for long periods of time, an injury to your knee at work may entitle you to receive benefits for the aggravation of your arthritis.
Because the law surrounding pre-existing conditions and workers’ compensation claims can be complex, it is important to speak with an experienced attorney before filing a claim. A skilled work injury lawyer can help you understand how your particular circumstances may affect your claim and ensure that you receive the full extent of the benefits to which you are entitled. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be able to receive medical benefits that cover the costs of treatment for your injury, as well as disability benefits that repay you for some of the income lost while you were recovering.
Contact Our Springfield Workers’ Compensation Lawyers for Pre-Existing Conditions
If you have been injured at work and have a pre-existing condition, it is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible so that an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can evaluate your claim and determine whether you are entitled to benefits. The Peoria workers’ compensation attorneys at Kanoski Bresney have extensive experience handling workers’ compensation claims in Illinois, and we are ready to help you with your case. To set up a free consultation, contact us at 888-826-8682.