UPS Drivers With Pre-Existing Conditions
Chicago Attorneys for Injured Delivery Workers
As a UPS driver, your body is regularly placed under strain and pressure. It can take significant force to maneuver a large truck. You also face the risk of repetitive stress injuries and musculoskeletal injuries. Additionally, you face the risk of catastrophic injuries in a crash. Sometimes, injuries sustained in an accident are more severe because a worker has a pre-existing condition, such as a disc herniation or carpal tunnel syndrome. You might assume that you’re not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits because you have a prior injury or medical condition. To protect your rights, UPS drivers with pre-existing conditions should consult with an experienced Chicago workers’ compensation attorney at Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca.
UPS Drivers With Pre-Existing Conditions
A pre-existing condition is any injury or medical condition that arose in the past, or that is chronic, such as high blood pressure. If your job with UPS aggravates a prior injury or condition, you may be able to obtain workers’ compensation benefits. Sometimes insurers improperly deny claims, citing pre-existing conditions. However, under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, you are entitled to benefits for work-related injuries if your job duties aggravated or exacerbated a pre-existing condition. You should not assume that a denial of your claim on the basis of your pre-existing condition is valid.
Suppose, for example, you are in an accident while driving for UPS and sustain a ruptured disc. Even if you had a pre-existing degenerative back injury, you may be able to recover benefits for the ruptured disc, because it is an aggravation. These benefits could include medical care, temporary or permanent disability pay, and vocational rehabilitation.
Benefits for UPS Drivers
If you are unable to perform your job as a UPS driver anymore due to the aggravation of the pre-existing condition, you may be eligible for permanent disability benefits and vocational rehabilitation. There are different ways that partial permanent disability benefits can be calculated. It may be a bit of an uphill climb to obtain benefits that would allow you to retrain and obtain education to compete in a different job market. However, an experienced lawyer may be able to present your situation persuasively to the workers’ compensation insurer or an arbitrator at the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission.
It is critical to be clear with your treating physician about what caused your injury and how it impacted your pre-existing condition. For example, you should mention whether your pain has worsened or your range of motion has become more restricted due to a job-related injury. In situations where there is objective evidence such as MRI results and x-rays, these may be used to establish to an arbitrator or insurer that a pre-existing condition has worsened due to the job.
Independent Medical Exam Related to Preexisting Condition
Sometimes, insurers require a UPS driver who is injured on the job to submit to an independent medical examination (IME) in order to figure out the extent of injuries. The purpose of the IME may be to determine whether the injury is work-related, rather than arising solely out of a pre-existing condition. The IME doctor may look at the extent to which the pre-existing condition was exacerbated or aggravated by a pre-existing condition.
After the IME, the doctor retained by the insurer will prepare a report to document the pre-existing condition, the mechanism of the injury that aggravated it, work restrictions, and reasonable and necessary medical treatment for the aggravated condition. You’re entitled to a copy of the report at least 48 hours in advance of an arbitration.
After a UPS truck accident caused by someone else, you may be able to sue for damages, which are typically more substantial than what is recovered in workers’ compensation benefits. In most cases, you’ll need to establish another party’s negligence. This means you’ll need to prove: (1) you were owed a duty of care by the defendant, (2) the defendant breached the duty of care, (3) causation, and (4) damages.
Retain a Chicago Attorney
UPS drivers with pre-existing conditions should meet with the experienced Chicago lawyers of Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca to evaluate their claim. We also represent UPS drivers in Rockford, Champaign, Quincy, and Aurora, as well as Cook, Sangamon, Winnebago, Adams, and Kane Counties. Call us at 312-724-5846 or complete the form on our website.