The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act covers injuries that occur in the course of employment, including those caused by the aggravation of a pre-existing condition. As long as the aggravation of a prior injury is work-related, the injured employee may be entitled to medical payments and temporary or permanent disability benefits. Unfortunately, seeking workers’ compensation for a prior injury can make the claims process more complicated.
Pre-Existing Injuries May Be Covered by Workers' Compensation
Workers’ compensation laws operate on the policy that an employer agrees to take an employee as he or she is. If an employee has a pre-existing condition, the employer assumes responsibility for the aggravation of this condition sustained at work. However, this does not mean that the employer is responsible for paying the costs to correct the original injury.
Workers’ compensation benefits may be available for prior injuries such as:
- Aggravation of a non-work-related condition. If you suffered from an injury in the past (such as a slipped disc) that was made worse through the course of your current employment, you may be able to collect benefits to treat the aggravation, but not for the previous injury’s damage.
- A second work-related injury. If you collected benefits in the past for an injury at your current employer, then reinjure the same part of your body, you can still receive workers’ compensation for the second injury. You are entitled to payment for your new medical costs, but the amount of disability you receive may be adjusted based on your previous awards.
- Diseases. Certain workplace conditions can adversely affect an employee’s health, especially if he or she is already suffering from a disease. If an employee has a breathing condition (such as asthma or emphysema) and normal workplace conditions make symptoms unbearable, the employee may have a claim for workers’ compensation.
Your employer’s insurance company is unlikely to pay for an injury that could possibly have been caused outside of work. If you are seeking to claim workers' compensation benefits for an aggravated injury, our workers’ compensation attorneys can gather evidence to strengthen your claim and advise you on your next steps at no cost to you. Contact Tapella & Eberspacher today at (217) 394-5885 or fill out our online contact form to schedule your free consultation.