A statement I will hear a lot from potential clients is “I know that my job caused this.” It’s one thing to know in your head and your heart that a physical problem is related to your job. It’s another thing to prove it and be entitled to Illinois workers compensation benefits. You need actual evidence which is usually best shown by a medical doctor. They are considered experts and independent which leads to credibility in their opinions.
A great example of this is when Illinois workers get the infection Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus or MRSA. It’s a staph infection from bacteria.If you work in a hospital, there’s a great chance of getting exposed to MRSA, but just because you have it doesn’t mean you got it there. MRSA is in a lot of places like gyms, public transport, etc.
In a recent Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission case, a housekeeper at Our Lady Of Resurrection Hospital alleged she got MRSA from cleaning infected rooms. She began to notice bleeding blisters on her arms, legs and face after cleaning a room. She did the right thing and got treatment which confirmed the MRSA diagnosis. These problems continued for a couple of years.
The smartest thing she did for her case and more importantly, her health, was she began treating with an infectious disease doctor. He testified that hospitals are the number one place where these infections take place and found it significant that her problems began after cleaning a room that had been occupied by infected patients. The worker testified that she regularly worked cleaning isolation and ICU rooms.
This isn’t a lot of information that was presented, but it was enough to make the Commission find that it’s more likely than not that she got MRSA from her place of employment. There was no other evidence that the infection came from anywhere else and her doctor was very credible as this is his area of expertise and he’s been treating her.
You’d think that any hospital worker who got a staph infection and was exposed to those infections would automatically get work comp benefits, but that’s not how work comp insurance companies work. They make you jump through hoops to get the benefits you are legally entitled to. It’s a shame because it can really put your long term health and recovery at risk, not to mention that it can cause you financial harm and potentially put you in a position where you might have to expose others.
These cases are slightly tricky because you can’t usually pinpoint the exact moment a problem occurred like you can if you slip and fall and hurt your back. But one thing the legal system tries to use is common sense. That combined with good, credible testimony is usually enough to carry the day.