I love to run. I’m also a klutz so I get injured a lot. I’ve had problems with my foot, ankle, knee, thigh, calf, hamstring and back, all from running. It sounds like I need a new hobby, but I’m addicted to exercise. Whenever I’ve gone to a doctor about the problems I get the same advice that I can’t take. They tell me to stop doing the thing that is hurting me.
So what does this have to do with Illinois workers’ compensation law? Actually a lot.
Many Illinois workers have pre-existing conditions. I’ve had leg pain on and off for 20+ years. Stopping working out is not an option for me just like for most people not working isn’t an option if they are in pain now and then on the job.
Most workers figure out how to manage their pain and get by. I do the same with running. I cross train, I don’t sprint as hard as I used to, I don’t stay out until all hours and then get up early to run. Making adjustments allows me to get by and it allows many workers to get by.
The reality though is whether you are a runner or a worker, it’s very realistic that doing the same activity over and over will eventually wear you down. The problem for workers who have toughed it out for years is that when you do finally break down, often the insurance company will try to fight your case by saying your problems aren’t from work, but are instead degenerative or pre-existing.
We saw this strategy in a recent case where a woman didn’t deny prior wrist pain, but said she was able to work through it just fine until one day her wrist bent backwards and her pain became way worse.
The insurance company did fight her case, but because she hadn’t been receiving medical care for her wrist for over three years, she was able to successfully prove that her job aggravated any pre-existing problem she had and she won her case.
Sometimes it’s a one time accident that pushes you over the edge from manageable pain to pain that stops you. Other times it’s a ramp up in the frequency of an activity or the number of hours worked. Whatever it may be, just because you’ve had problems in the past that you’ve lived through does not mean your job can’t somehow make it worse to the point that you have an Illinois work comp claim.
Is this confusing? It can be. If you want a free consultation to discuss it, call us any time or fill out our contact form and we will get hold of you right away.