Can a Pre-Existing Condition Affect My Workers Compensation Claim?

Work Accidents | June 1, 2021

Work injuries occur all the time in and around the Chicago area. The reality is that no workplace is going to be 100% safe for an employee. The good news is that most people who sustain an on-the-job injury in Illinois should be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.

But what happens if a person has a pre-existing condition and then sustains a workplace injury? Will they still be able to recover compensation through the workers’ comp system?

Here, our experienced Chicago workplace injury lawyers want to discuss how a pre-existing condition can affect a workers’ comp claim in Chicago and throughout Illinois. Hint – those with pre-existing conditions should still be able to recover compensation.

What Does a Pre-Existing Condition Mean?

When we are discussing pre-existing conditions in relation to a workplace injury claim, we are talking about any injury or illness that a worker has previously sustained that could be aggravated by a workplace incident. In reality, this could be any injury or illness that a worker has had in the past.

Some of the most common examples of pre-existing injuries or illnesses include the following:

  • Previous back problems
  • Joint conditions
  • Previous or ongoing chronic respiratory conditions
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • …and more

To give you an example of how a previous condition could flare up on the job, let us say a person suffered a back injury in a vehicle accident five years ago. Now, let’s suppose that they are lifting a box at work and re-injure their back in the same area that was injured in the car accident. If a person cannot work for months and ends up needing surgery, they should still end up receiving workers’ compensation benefits because the aggravation of the injury occurred due to workplace activity.

When a person sustains an injury or illness, there is always a chance that that injury or illness could be aggravated due to some future event. However, this should not keep a person from confidently working and expecting to receive benefits in the event they sustain an on-the-job injury.

Why Would a Pre-Existing Condition Affect a Claim?

Unfortunately, there are times when employers and workers’ compensation insurance carriers attempt to reduce the amount of workers’ compensation insurance a person receives or deny the claim altogether because they discover that the injured worker has a pre-existing condition.

We want to point out that insurance carriers will do what they can to limit how much money they pay in a claim, and employers, in general, do not like when work injury claims go through. Even though workers’ compensation is required by law, that does not mean that the insurance carrier or employer is going to fork over the money easily, particularly if they think they can get out of paying it.

Fighting Back and Securing Compensation

If a person aggravates an injury from a previous injury, they should still be able to recover workers’ compensation benefits. This is true even if the injury that was aggravated is a previous work-related injury.

Many employees think they will not be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits because a pre-existing injury has flared up due to on-the-job conditions. We want you to know that, in almost all circumstances, you will be able to receive compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and even possible disability benefits.