Most Illinois work injuries happen to your back, arm, hands, legs, feet, head or neck. But not every work accident fits nicely into a traditional box and just because it’s not typical, does not mean it’s not a case.
Under Illinois law, any injury that develops from a work related injury, is also a part of the case. So if you hurt your knee and then get an elbow injury when using crutches, they have to cover the elbow too. Or if you are prescribed a lot of medication, and it eats up your insides and causes a gastric injury, they have to pay for that treatment too.
That’s exactly what happened in a recent case. A firefighter badly hurt his back when he fell 16 feet at work. He was eventually placed on a lot of pain medications and ended up in the hospital with gastrointestinal bleeding and possible iron deficient anemia.
The insurance company, of course, disputed that his problems were related to the meds, but the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission found that based on the chain of events (e.g. no problems before this), the credible testimony of the injured worker and the medical records that these problems were a part of the work comp case.
A situation like this really does sum up what happens in a lot of Illinois work comp cases. The insurance company is going to try and get out of paying for anything it thinks it can get away with not paying for. To win a case, you need a good (not perfect) fact pattern, an honest worker and most importantly, medical records that support your position.
When you have these things it’s not a guaranteed win, but in my 21+ years of experience, I find that more often than not you will win. In this case the insurance company was ordered to pay for all of the medical expenses related to the GI problems. We’ve seen in other cases where injured workers become addicted to pain meds and their lawyers have been able to successfully argue that the work comp insurance should have to pay for rehab.
Bottom line is that if your problem stems from the work injury, it should probably be covered and in the very least needs to be talked about.