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​Experienced ILLINOIS Workers’ Compensation Lawyers
& CHICAGO Injury Lawyers

City of Chicago Workers With Pre-Existing Conditions

Lawyers for Injured Employees in Chicago

The City of Chicago is self-insured. Workers’ compensation benefits may be available to City of Chicago workers with pre-existing conditions. Under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, benefits that may be available to those injured on the job include medical expenses, lost wages, and permanent or temporary disability payments. The types of injuries that the workers’ compensation law covers are workplace injuries, meaning those that arise in the course of employment. The City may deny your valid claim, arguing that you have a pre-existing condition. However, you are still entitled to benefits so long as what happened at work aggravated that pre-existing condition. A dedicated Chicago workers’ compensation attorney can help you assert your claim for benefits.

City of Chicago Workers With Pre-Existing Conditions

You should not necessarily accept as valid the City of Chicago’s denial of your claim for workers’ compensation benefits due to a pre-existing condition. You can obtain benefits for a work-related aggravation or exacerbation of a pre-existing condition under the Illinois Workers Compensation Act. In other words, the aggravation should be traceable to a particular time and cause within the workplace, even if the original pre-existing condition was the result of an accident that occurred years ago, or due to wear and tear from recreational activities.

The reasoning behind the rule related to pre-existing conditions is that an employer takes a worker as it finds him. It can’t limit its duty to pay benefits simply because the worker once suffered a prior injury. Even so, many employers deny claims in which they see there was a pre-existing condition. The City of Chicago may issue a denial on this basis. Accordingly, you’ll need to show that the aggravation can be traced to a time and place on the job. For this reason, it is especially important to provide timely notice of the aggravation to the City of Chicago when it occurs.

Pre-existing conditions can vary dramatically. They could include a herniated disc you suffered in a car accident years ago. If you are a maintenance worker for the City who suffers a ruptured disc, and the City claims it was the result of your prior herniated disc, you will need to show the rupture was due to your job. Similarly, if you sustained mild cartilage injuries playing basketball ten years ago, but the harm to your knee was exacerbated by your job as a paramedic such that you suffered a torn meniscus, you may be able to show an aggravation that is compensable, and a knowledgeable worker injury lawyer can help.


As stated above, the City of Chicago is self-insured. However, this doesn’t change its obligations under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. It has an obligation to pay workers’ compensation benefits to you if your pre-existing condition is aggravated while in its employ.

Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system. This means you won’t need to prove The City of Chicago or a supervisor there was at fault for the aggravation of your pre-existing condition. Likewise, the City of Chicago cannot avoid paying benefits by showing you aggravated your own pre-existing condition through negligence. For example, if you aggravated your herniated disk by lifting a patient incorrectly, your employer must still pay you benefits based on the aggravation.

Workers’ compensation benefits to which you may be entitled can include medical benefits, disability benefits, and vocational rehabilitation. Disability benefits can be temporary partial disability benefits, temporary total disability benefits, permanent total disability benefits or permanent partial disability benefits. For example, if you had carpal tunnel syndrome that was aggravated by your job as a secretary for a city official and you are unable to work for six months, you may be able to obtain temporary partial or total disability benefits.

Consult a Skillful Workers’ Compensation Attorney in Chicago

If you are a City of Chicago worker with a pre-existing condition that was aggravated by your job, you can talk to a workers’ compensation lawyer regarding your rights. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca, we handle claims for injured City of Chicago workers in Champaign, Quincy, Rockford, and Aurora, as well as Sangamon, Winnebago, Adams, Cook, and Kane Counties. Contact us at 312-724-5846 or by completing our online form.