Aggravation of Pre-Existing Conditions for City of Chicago Workers
The City of Chicago is self-insured for workers’ compensation benefits. This means you won’t deal with a separate insurer if you are injured on the job, but instead deal with the City. Therefore, if workers’ compensation benefits are unfairly denied to you because of an aggravated pre-existing condition you have suffered as a City of Chicago worker, you will need to go up against the City rather than a private insurer to try to get the benefits. It’s advisable to seek out an experienced Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer under these circumstances.Aggravation of Pre-Existing Conditions for City of Chicago Workers
You should be aware that you can’t be legitimately denied workers’ compensation benefits only for possessing a pre-existing condition. The City may cite this as the reason for the denial, but it’s not valid. You are allowed to obtain benefits from an aggravation of your pre-existing condition where that aggravation arose from your job. You shouldn’t assume the City’s denial is appropriate, and it is wise to consult an attorney if your claim for benefits is rejected in this context.
When a pre-existing condition has been aggravated or exacerbated by your work tasks, you are likely able to receive workers’ compensation benefits. There are situations in which a pre-existing condition is expected to get worse over time. However, even if you would have needed to obtain treatment at some point in the future, you can obtain workers’ compensation benefits so long as your need for treatment is accelerated.
To obtain benefits, you will need to show that the exacerbation of your condition is job-related. If you had a disc herniation before you became a City maintenance worker, for example, and later your disc is ruptured and you require a spinal fusion due to the lifting and mopping work you’re doing, you would be eligible to get workers’ compensation benefits for the aggravation.Benefits
If you are eligible for temporary total disability benefits, these may be the same whether you suffer an entirely new injury or your pre-existing condition was exacerbated. You may be able to recover benefits for a permanent total disability where the aggravation of your condition makes it so you can’t perform the same duties you could perform before, or you can’t work at all. However, the amount you can recover will be less if your employer is able to prove that your permanent injuries exist in part because of a pre-existing condition. Sometimes employers argue that the exacerbation of your pre-existing condition is only temporary, not permanent. In this situation, it may be important to retain seasoned counsel that can show that the condition is permanent.
The City must cover your medical bills if your pre-existing condition was aggravated on the job. However, if you’ve experienced a work-related injury in the same spot repeatedly, the employer may get a credit for prior workers’ compensation payments.
Because workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, you don’t need to show that any particular event caused the aggravation, and you don’t need to show that the aggravation is the fault of your employer. Likewise, the City can’t avoid paying benefits by showing that you are responsible for the aggravation of your own pre-existing condition. You only need to show that the aggravation of your pre-existing condition was work-related.
The City may be suspicious about a pre-existing condition, and may conduct surveillance to determine whether you engage in any other activities that could have aggravated your condition. It’s important to be aware that this type of monitoring may occur, and to act accordingly. For example, if there are restrictions on your lifting and movement, you should abide by those rules, and avoid posting anything on social media that could be misinterpreted by an insurer looking at your feed or posts.Speak With a Seasoned Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Chicago
If your ability to work has been impacted by the aggravation of a preexisting condition you sustained as a City of Chicago worker, you can talk to a work injury attorney regarding your rights. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca, we represent workers in Quincy, Aurora, Rockford, and Champaign, as well as Sangamon, Winnebago, Cook, Kane, and Adams Counties. We look closely at our clients’ situations to determine whether there are any other grounds for relief in addition to workers’ compensation benefits. Contact us at 800-444-1525 or at 312-263-6330 or by completing our online form.