Under Illinois workers’ compensation law, an employer through their insurance company is required to compensate you and cover your medical bills from any injury that stems from the original injury. So if you break your leg and are on crutches and the crutch use causes a shoulder problem, that’s part of the original case.
Or as in the case of a forklift driver at a major company who recently contacted me, you can scrape your heel accidentally while walking in a tight space and end up with a long hospital stay and your foot being amputated. This unfortunate worker didn’t know he was diabetic until this happened. When you have diabetes, simple cuts that are not much more than a scratch for most people have potential to get badly infected and cause a major problem.
Because his foot amputation can be traced back to the original scrape, 100% of his long hospital stay should be covered under Illinois work comp laws. So too should his subsequent care which could include prosthesis treatment for life. And of course he’s entitled to TTD benefits for all of his authorized time off work per his doctor and a settlement or arbitration award when he’s all better.
And if he can never return to driving a forklift which is highly likely, if he suffers a permanent wage loss, the insurance company will have to cover 2/3 of the difference for life, tax free. All over a table being placed too closely to boxes in his work area.
Of course this worker would prefer to have a foot, not a work comp case, but if he’s going to get hurt, it’s at least comforting to know that he won’t go bankrupt because he couldn’t make a proper recovery. And he won’t have to worry about getting the best medical care possible for himself. When it works well, that is what the Illinois Workers’ Compensation system is all about.
And while it’s not the fault of his employer that he has diabetes, he also won’t get punished because of it. The employer “takes you as they find you” which in plain English means they don’t get out of following the law because some underlying condition made your injury much worse.
As you can expect, insurance companies will fight these cases until you get proof that connects the major problem to the original injury. Fortunately that’s not usually that hard to do, especially if your attorney knows the right questions to ask. If you’d like to speak with an attorney for free, please call us any time at 312-346-5578.