What Injuries are Covered Under Workers’ Compensation in Illinois?

Sustaining a workplace injury can be detrimental to a victim. Not only does a work injury victim have to deal with incoming medical expenses, but they may not be able to work and earn an income to support themselves or their family. There are various types of traumatic injuries and illnesses covered under the Illinois workers’ compensation system.

Often, people think of specific incident injuries when they hear about work incidents. This includes broken or dislocated bones, concussions, lacerations, herniated discs, slip and fall injuries, etc. However, there are other types of injuries and illnesses that can occur in the workplace. The Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys at Horwitz Horwitz & Associates are dedicated to helping injured workers secured the compensation they deserve.

What Injuries Are Covered Under Workers’ Compensation in Illinois?

The Illinois Workers Compensation Act is pretty open-minded when it comes to work injuries that are covered under workers’ compensation. If you suffered an injury as the direct result of a work-related accident this is known as a specific incident, it is the most common type of work injury. However, this is not the only type of injury that is covered. If a work accident was a contributing factor (not the only cause) to an injury, then it still should be good enough to be covered in workers’ compensation. For simplicity, let’s cover specific incidents, aggravated pre-existing conditions, repetitive stress injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome, and weakened condition and subsequent conditions.

Occupational Illness

An occupational illness is a chronic ailment that arises due to prolonged exposure to workplace hazards or work activities. There are various types of occupational illnesses that a worker in Illinois could potentially suffer from. This can include:

  • Noise-induced hearing loss
  • Occupational dermatitis
  • Occupational respiratory illnesses
  • Occupational cancers
  • Stress and mental health illnesses
  • Musculoskeletal disorders
  • Repetitive stress injuries
  • Chemical poisoning

Workers’ Comp for COVID-19 Illness

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or tested positive for COVID-19, it may be possible to secure workers’ compensation benefits. These cases can become complicated, and it will need to be determined whether the employer was operating under the Illinois Worker’s Compensation Act (“IWCA”), and the illness must have arisen out of and in the course of the employment.

The Illinois legislature recently passed HB 2455, which includes a provision that creates a rebuttal presumption for various essential workers who contract COVID-19. This makes it easier for them to obtain workers’ compensation should they become ill with the virus.

Specific Incident Injuries

When a specific event causes an injury, this is known as a specific incident injury. A worker who is in good health is going about their job and suddenly slips causing a broken leg. Broken bones, herniated discs, slips, trips, falls, concussions, and torn ligaments are all generally covered by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, as long as they arose out of and in the course of employment. Read our previous blog post, with good quotes from our Chicago workers’ compensation lawyers on what it means to have a work injury in Illinois.

Pre-Existing Conditions Made Worse By Work

It is easy to understand that a specific incident injury is compensable through workers comp, but many times a worker has a pre-existing condition. Let’s say you had a bad back, and then you get an on the job back injury? Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates, Chicago work injury lawyer, Mark Weissburg says, “The employer has to take the employee as it find him or her. If the employee has a bad back, bad knees, bad shoulders, and an eggshell skull, so be it.” Tyler Berberich, another Chicago workers compensation lawyer at Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates added, “If an on the job injury aggravates a pre-existing condition, it should be covered under Workers’ Compensation.” If a work accident accelerates the need for treatment that would have been needed in the future anyway, it could still be covered under workers’ compensation. In some situations, a doctor may label an injury as temporary aggravation. If you have had pain for a significant amount of time (more than a month) that is greater than or different from how you felt before the work accident, then it is likely not temporary aggravation.
The most important thing to take away here is this: if you had a pre-existing condition that was made worse by a work injury, then make sure to have the doctor note in their treatment records that the work accident worsened your condition, or accelerated the need for treatment!

Repetitive Stress Injuries

Repetitive stress injuries are commonly overlooked in workplace injuries. Repetitive stress injuries are work-related when the day-to-day requirements of your job continually wear down the body to the point of injury. These stress injuries are compensable under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. To strengthen your claim, it is important that your doctor has noted in the treatment record that the type of work you do is a contributing factor to the development of your injury. Even though repetitive stress injuries are generally compensable, the difficult part is determining the date of the accident.

How do you determine the date of the accident for a repetitive stress injury?

To answer this question, I consulted with my brother, Mitchell Horwitz. Mitch heads the worker’s compensation lawyers here at Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates and has over 35 years of experience in handling workers’ compensation claims throughout Illinois. According to Mitch, “The date of manifestation is the date on which both the fact of the injury and the causal relationship of the injury to the injured worker’s employment would have become plainly apparent to a reasonable person.”

Pain & Suffering Due To Work-Related Injuries

Pain and suffering, which refers to the physical and emotional stress caused by an injury, are not covered under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. This is one of the main differences between a workers’ compensation claim and a typical personal injury lawsuit. In most cases, work injury victims are not able to file a personal injury lawsuit against an alleged negligent party to recover compensation. There are some exceptions to this, so you need to speak with a workers’ compensation attorney about your case moving forward.

What Injuries Are Not Covered By Workers’ Comp

There are various types of work injury claims that are not covered under workers’ compensation in Illinois. This typically includes:

  • Most injuries that occur on a non-paid break
  • Commuting to and from work if not performing work-related duties
  • Recreational activities such as social events, company picnics, work happy hours
  • Injuries that occur if the employee was under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Injuries that occur when the employee was fighting or horseplaying at work

If you believe you have suffered a work-related injury, please do not hesitate to call and consult with one of our experienced lawyers. Our consultation to determine whether your claim is compensable is free of charge! Please call (312) 372-8822 to speak with one of our attorneys or (815) 723-8822 to speak with one of our Joliet personal injury lawyers. If either of these locations is too difficult to reach, please call us Toll-Free at (800)-985-1819 and we can work to meet with you as we have a number of locations throughout the state to help better serve our clients.