Imagine this scenario:
You’ve worked the same heavy duty job for 20 years, but have never missed a day of work. You’ve had aches and pains, but don’t complain and take Tylenol when you are feeling especially sore. You get promotions and raises and the owner of the company says he loves you. One day you pull on a jammed machine and you feel a pop in your shoulder and instant pain. You’ve never gone to the doctor in your life for shoulder pain.
You get treatment, the doctor says your shoulder popped out of place and puts it back in. After that your arm strength is bad and you have trouble doing your normal job. Work comp paid all of your medical bills and lost time, but then they sent you to an IME doctor.
That hired gun tells the insurance company and the injured worker that he doubts that the shoulder was really popped out of the socket and says any problems are probably “degenerative arthritis.” Next thing you know is you are told that you don’t need any more treatment even though your doctor is discussing surgery and you aren’t working, but don’t get paid.
How does this happen?
Insurance companies in Illinois work comp claims try to fight cases any way they can. One way is to say that even if you are hurt, the job had nothing to do with it. If you are older they will find a doctor to state that any problems you have are “degenerative” and will throw out terms like degenerative arthritis to make it sound as if this is something that has happened over time because you are older.
The problem with this defense is it ignores the fact that you were fine before the job issues. In this case, a really loyal worker didn’t ever have shoulder trouble until he did something to hurt it while working. This is a slam dunk, definite case.
So the good news is that if something like this happens to you, I think you will win and often a good Illinois work comp attorney can get benefits going with a trial motion or a phone call. The bad news is that they are fighting it at all and delaying your recovery.
Everyone has degenerative conditions, but if your job aggravates or accelerates those problems it’s a valid work comp case. It’s a pretty settled Illinois law. So don’t panic, don’t get frustrated, just get someone in your corner who knows how to push back and deal with this nonsense.
And as always, if you want to talk with one of our lawyers for free, contact us any time. We help all over IL.