No matter what your work related injury in Illinois is, there is one thing you must do to win your claim for benefits. You have to show that your job duties at least contributed to you getting your injury.
This is easy to do if you slip on a wet floor and tear your ACL. It’s harder but still common to do if you are alleging that a repetitive activity like typing all day caused your problem. Where it can be very difficult is when you know in your heart you likely got a disease from working. This is very true when it comes to proving that your job contributed to you being diagnosed with cancer.
The standard for winning your case is having a doctor credibly testify that your employment contributed to your cancer. There is no hard and fast rule to how much exposure you need, but in general it helps if you’ve been working the same job for a long time and can offer proof of what chemicals you were exposed to. One way to do that is through a report from OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. They will examine job sites and make rulings as to what dangerous exposure workers are facing.
Another way to do it in some cases is your own testimony. You can talk about the materials you’ve worked with over the years, how often you worked with them, the protective equipment you did and didn’t wear, etc. Taking that information to a reputable oncologist for their opinion is the first step in winning a case.
This is exactly what happened in a recent case of a Springfield firefighter who brought a case for renal cancer. Aside from establishing that he was fit, didn’t smoke and had no history of hypertension, this first responder gave a great description of his job duties which added credibility to his treating doctor stating that more likely than not the job contributed to the development of cancer.
Be warned, there aren’t a lot of cancer work comp cases. So it’s important to know two things: 1. There are few attorneys with a track record of winning those cases. It’s almost guaranteed that a cancer case is going to trial. You don’t want their first time doing a work comp trial on a cancer case to be with you. 2. There are some cancer doctors who don’t know the standard for offering an opinion in a medical report when it comes to work comp because it’s never come up for them. It’s important to make sure that not only are you giving your doctor accurate job details, but also asking them about work comp in the right way. We can of course help with that.
We are lawyers who will talk to you for free about any Illinois work comp case. If you want our help call us any time at 312-346-5578 to speak with a lawyer.