We have been helping injured workers in Illinois since 1997. If you would like to speak with a lawyer for free, please call us at 312-346-5320. We cover all of Illinois.
One of the first things I was taught about Illinois workers’ compensation law is that “employers take you as they find you.” In other words, if a company hired a person who has a history of back trouble, if the job makes the condition worse, they can’t get out of paying workers’ compensation benefits just because there was some pre-existing condition. If a worker could get healed by a surgery, but can’t have it because they have a heart condition, if this prevents them from ever returning to work again, the insurance company can’t get out of paying benefits. Workers in Illinois aren’t presumed to be in perfect condition nor are they expected to be.
In the same way, if a personal condition makes a minor injury a major one, you will be compensated by work comp for a major injury, not a minor one. This happens all of the time to Illinois workers who have diabetes.
The biggest way we see this is in a worker who hurts their foot. Maybe the types of boots you have to wear cause a blister on your foot. For most people this would recover quickly and not even lead to a work injury case. You’d put on a band-aid and maybe some Neosporin and move on with your life. But if you are diabetic, blisters can be harder to recover from and lead to prolonged medical care. In the worst case scenario it could lead to a foot amputation. If that were to happen, work comp insurance would be on the hook for everything.
We also see diabetic workers with foot contusions that don’t heal and lead to fractures when non-diabetic people would recover rather quickly. Again, they must take you as they find you so if your diabetes or any other underlying condition makes your situation worse, that won’t be punished.
Unfortunately, of course, some insurance companies are less than honest about how the law actually works and will deny treatment that they shouldn’t or say something isn’t covered when it is. Like any other case, you can’t assume that the insurance company is being truthful nor can you expect them to look out for you and your well being. Never assume that they know the law or that they aren’t ignoring it. You should get a free consultation with an experienced attorney whether that is us or someone else you find that you feel comfortable with.
And the bottom line is that having diabetes is not something that the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission is going to punish you for. And if it ends up making your case more valuable, that is how that law was intended to work.