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As I approach 50, I can attest that even in a relatively fit person, your body breaks down as it gets older. I used to stay out until 2 a.m. when I was 23 and then wake up five hours later and run 20 miles. Now I’m in bed at 9:30 p.m. most nights and it takes me about 30 minutes to get loose in the morning. Even when I have a good run, I feel it the next day.
For most people, this phenomenon is called arthritis. Whatever you refer to it as, it happens.
Illinois workers are of course not immune to getting arthritis. And it causes some insurance companies to try and deny their work comp benefits in bad faith.
For example, a while back I talked to a guy who has been working a heavy-duty labor job for quite some time. He bends. He crawls in tight spaces. He is on his knees a lot. He carries heavy equipment. He works on uneven ground. His job often places him in tight spaces. And he’s been doing this for over 20 years.
If it isn’t clear, all the work he does puts a lot of stress on his knees. He needs a knee replacement and his doctor says it’s due to the repetitive nature of his job. It should be approved, right?
In a normal world, the surgery would have been paid for by work comp. But of course, the insurance company found a hired gun IME doctor to state that the real problem is arthritis and the fact that he’s a bit overweight. Well, where do they think the arthritis came from? Perhaps it’s from the bending, kneeling, uneven ground, etc.
Common sense tells you that it’s a work comp case but that doesn’t stop some insurance companies from trying to screw you over. It works enough that they keep doing it, but usually, it only works when legitimately injured workers roll over. The good news is that in most cases similar to this one we are able to eventually prevail and get all of your bills paid, all of your time off paid, and significant compensation due to how serious of an injury a knee replacement is. This includes compensation in the likely event you have to change careers.
It all comes down to the fact that pre-existing problems do not strip away your rights to work comp benefits in Illinois. And your employer “takes you as they find you” which means that even if you are heavy, if your job contributed to your problems, then you still get benefits.
It can be frustrating, but I promise that we will try to help and make sure you have an attorney in your corner who will fight for you and only gets paid if they win.