While Illinois work comp laws are very friendly to the worker, one of the truest things about them are that if your injury is due to the repetitive nature of your job, the insurance company is going to try and look for a way to fight your case even if it’s painfully obvious that the job is what caused your problems.
Case in point, imagine you are a delivery driver and you jump two plus feet off your truck 100-200 times a day because you worked on crowded city streets where there was not room for a ramp. You do this job for years and begin to notice that your left hip is hurting and that’s the leg you usually land on first. You go to the doctor and he diagnoses you with avascular necrosis of the femoral head which is medical jargon for saying your hip is messed up. This doctor tells you that you need a hip replacement.
Most people would say it’s obvious that the continuous jumping gradually made the worker’s hip injury worse until it became so bad that he sought medical care. Well, it wasn’t so obvious to the insurance company because they fought the case that had these very facts. Fortunately the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission did have common sense and believed his testimony that he had no prior problems with the hip and that the 14 years of doing this same activity over and over clearly aggravated and accelerated any underlying arthritic condition.
That’s usually how the insurance companies fight these cases. They’ll say that you had some “underlying condition” that is the true source of all of your problems and that stuff like hundreds of thousands of work related jumps over the years have nothing to do with the problem. It’s really pathetic, but this is what you are dealing with if you get hurt at work.
It’s really no surprise that a case like this got fought. Hip replacement surgery is expensive and a case like this has a lot of settlement value. So for the insurance company to roll the dice and hope that you don’t have the desire to hire a lawyer, that your lawyer will sell you out or that you’ll testify poorly and they will win is a worthwhile gamble. It might only work one out of ten times, but that one time saves them enough money that they can mess with the lives of people like you.
Big picture is that common sense usually prevails and Arbitrators are not dumb. If you have questions about a claim and want to speak to one our lawyers for free, call us any time at 312-346-5578.