When people call us about their Illinois workers’ compensation questions, we hear a lot of great ones. Sometimes people want to know what happens if they have a new injury. This could mean that they re-injure a body part that they already have a case on or if something new arises. It’s a really good question.

When you settle an Illinois workers’ compensation case, it typically closes your rights to that case forever. That means you won’t get any more compensation or payment of medical bills for anything that is related to that case.

But sometimes you settle a case, go back to work, and hurt that same body part again. That happens a lot, especially with back problems. If it’s more than a temporary aggravation or you can prove that it’s to a new part of your back (or whatever part is injured), you would have a brand new case. That means you’d get payment for those medical bills, for time off work, and of course, a second settlement when you are all better.

As you can imagine, some insurance companies get upset when someone files a second case related to a body part they’ve already given you compensation for. But again, if it’s really a new problem with the same body part or a situation where it’s gotten worse, then you are entitled to do this under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. And if it makes an insurance company mad well then that’s too bad.

Another scenario that happens is that someone gets hurt at work (let’s say it’s a knee injury), returns to work while still getting medical care, and then has a completely different and unrelated injury that is due to work. For example, you hurt your knee, eventually return to work, and then smash your hand in a machine causing a fracture and a need for surgery.

In that case, you’d have two cases going on at the same time. That is actually way more common than most people think. It happens a lot on heavy-duty jobs like construction sites or places where accidents frequently occur like warehouses. The only difference is that you’d have two claim numbers and likely two different doctors who are treating the two different problems. When it comes time to settle, insurance companies often only want to offer a settlement when they can settle both cases at once. Sometimes we can get around that and sometimes we can’t.

As we said, this was a great question. If you have anything you want to know about Illinois work comp law or need help with a case, please call us any time at 888-705-1766.