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Continuing Workers' Compensation After a Recurring Injury

Posted on in Workers' Compensation

Continuing Workers' Compensation After a Recurring InjuryWorkplace injuries often take time to heal, and the effects can linger for years. You may take enough time off to completely recover, only for you to reaggravate your injury once you return to work. Now, you are facing more medical treatment and time away from work. Rather than refiling for workers’ compensation, you can extend the benefits of your previous claim if you can prove that your new injury is a continuation of your previous injury.

Recent Case

Whether a workplace injury is a continuation of a previous injury can determine which employer is liable for an employee’s workers’ compensation. In Par Electric v. Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, an Illinois appellate court ruled that the respondent electric company must continue to cover an electrical line worker’s medical expenses after he reinjured himself while working for another employer. The worker cited three separate injury incidents, for which he filed separate claims:

  • On June 16, 2014, the worker suffered a labral tear in his right shoulder when he caught himself after slipping in a bucket lift. He had surgery on Sept. 26 and did not return to work until he was hired by another employer on March 23, 2015; and
  • On April 1, 2015, the worker claimed he felt his right arm pop out of his socket after tossing an item to a co-worker. A similar incident occurred on April 3. A doctor confirmed that he had suffered another labral tear, which required a second surgery.

Causal Connection

In his compensation claims, the worker stated that the injury he suffered from his second and third work incidents was separate from his original injury. Conflicting testimony from two doctors complicated the case because:

  • The doctor who performed both surgeries said that the second injury occurred because the first injury had not completely healed; but
  • The doctor in charge of the worker’s recovery said that there was no evidence that a pre-existing weakness caused these new tears.

The arbitrator agreed that the second injury was separate from the first and ordered both employers to provide workers’ compensation benefits. However, the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission modified this ruling, stating that there was a causal connection between the two injuries. Because the second injury was a continuation of the first injury, the first employer was still responsible for the medical expenses.

Contact a McHenry County Workers’ Compensation Attorney

Regardless of whether your second injury is related to your first, you are entitled to workers’ compensation when you are injured at the workplace. A Crystal Lake, Illinois, workers’ compensation attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, can help you file a new claim or continue your previous claim. Schedule a free consultation by calling 815-338-3838.



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