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Illinois Workers’ Compensation and Repetitive Stress Injuries

Workers Compensation LawyerMany workers suffer from back pain, knee pain, prostate issues, and other illnesses related to repeated bending, stooping, or lifting heavy objects. These problems are not limited to warehouse and construction sites. Many office workers have issues with repetitive stress injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome.

Repetitive stress injuries often create unique job injury situations. Most people do not run to the doctor when they feel a twinge in their knees. So, their workers’ compensation claims are often delayed. Furthermore, many people have pre-existing injuries, and are uncertain as to their rights in these situations.

Illness-Related Time Deadlines in Rockford

Many repetitive stress injuries develop extremely slowly. Commonly, a worker’s knee feels achy after a January work shift, and the worker takes a couple of analgesic pain relievers. The problem then goes away for several weeks. By June, the worker is taking more and more Advil, yet the pills work for less and less time. Finally, the worker goes to a doctor, who diagnoses a repetitive stress injury.

Generally, the workers’ compensation claim deadline begins running on the date of injury. But in the case of Illinois repetitive stress injuries, a variation of the discovery rule delays the deadline until the workers understand:

  • The nature of the problem,
  • The seriousness of the problem, and
  • The probable right of compensation.

In other words, the initial discomfort does not trigger the 45-day notice requirement. In the previous example, even the June pain may not start the clock ticking. The worker must also understand that Illinois workers’ compensation benefits are available. That could be from a mandatory poster that the employer is supposed to display in a common area.

Repetitive Stress Injuries and Pre-Existing Conditions in Rockford

The discovery rule comes from civil negligence cases. Another civil law doctrine — the eggshell skull rule — applies in many pre-existing condition matters.

Many workers have old illnesses or injuries that make them susceptible to certain medical problems. For example, the above hypothetical worker could have a “bad knee” due to a previous injury.

Workers’ compensation insurance companies are quick to deny coverage based on such pre-existing conditions. But the law states otherwise. Job injury victims receive full benefits if the illness, the injury, or the aggravation was work-related. There is no need to delve into percentage causation or other complicated inquiries. The Illinois workers’ compensation pre-existing coverage law is one of the most worker-friendly in the nation.

Compensation Available in Rockford

Generous benefits are available, but an injured victim should partner with an aggressive attorney to obtain these benefits. Money is available for:

  • Lost Wages: Typically, injured workers receive two-thirds of their average weekly wage for the duration of their temporary disabilities. Victims who are permanently disabled and no longer able to work are entitled to an alternative form of compensation.
  • Medical Bills: In most cases, workers’ compensation insurance pays all medically necessary medical expenses, from the ambulance ride to the hospital to the last day of physical therapy.

Injured workers do not have to prove fault to obtain these benefits. They must only prove a work-related cause.

Reach Out to Tenacious Attorneys

Repetitive stress injury claims often present unique legal challenges. For a free consultation with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer in Rockford, contact Fisk & Monteleone, Ltd. We routinely handle matters in Winnebago County and nearby jurisdictions.