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Usually the most straight forward Illinois work comp cases are ones that happen in a single instance. For example, you are walking down the hallway at work and slip on a wet floor. You put your arm out to catch yourself and break your wrist when you hit the ground. That is a hard case for the insurance company to fight (not that they won’t look for reasons to deny your case. They will).
Not every case is like that of course. Quite often the bodies of injured workers break down due to repetitive work over time. You can lift something once and throw out your back, but more often it’s the act of lifting heavy stuff day after day that causes an injury. In general, when an employer has you doing the same thing over and over, especially if it can put stress on a body part, this puts you at risk.
This is really common for factory workers in Illinois. When you are an assembler, unless you have a smart and caring employer, you are often doing the same activity thousands of times. Over a period of months or years, it’s not uncommon at all to have a serious injury from those job duties.
In a recent case decided at the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, an assembler had to regularly lift, carry, push and pull up to 50 pounds as well as handle and grip tools to assemble products. He developed elbow and wrist pain that he thought was due to repetitive lifting, twisting and turning at work. He sought medical care and was diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome and elbow arthritis.
The insurance company fought this case because there wasn’t a specific injury. It’s typical insurance company BS. The Arbitrator found in his favor because he had consistently done the same work of large valve assembly for seven years.
The lesson to learn from this and other cases is that your case will likely be fought, but it’s winnable. The way this worker one was through medical evidence and credible, detailed testimony. He didn’t just say that he was an assembler at a factory. He gave a very detailed description of what his job duties were both to the Arbitrator and his doctors. This knowledge made the opinion of the treating doctor that the injuries were work related much more credible. He then backed it up by having a senior supervisor testify as to what the job duties were. Essentially he created irrefutable evidence.
The bottom line is that you need a trial attorney who is experienced and has a track record to win these cases. They will prepare you and put you in a position to win. In this case, getting the right attorney was literally worth tens of thousands of dollars.
If you have questions about Illinois workers’ compensation law or want an attorney recommendation, please contact us at any time.