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A wrinkle on workers’ comp injuries: aggravation and exacerbation

On Behalf of | Jun 21, 2021 | Workers' Compensation

Perhaps you are an Illinois worker in seemingly perfect health who suddenly begins experiencing serious shoulder and back injuries that are unquestionably related to on-the-job lifting activities. Your pain is persistent, ongoing and materially debilitating. In fact, it flatly prevents you from working.

Or maybe it’s the case that long exposure to confirmed toxic substances at your worksite is medically connected to cancer you were recently diagnosed with.

Both of those scenarios – or hypotheticals closely similar to them – are near textbook examples of job-tied injuries and illnesses that qualify a compromised employee for workers’ compensation benefits.

Not all cases are so clear, though. Consider the matter of an individual who enters the workforce with a preexisting health condition or previously sustained injury. What if a work-related accident or injury renders that malady more severe, to the point where he or she needs to seek workers’ comp benefits?

Spotlighting aggravated and exacerbated injuries

That last scenario sketched above spells the type of situation where employer and/or insurer blowback can often be expected. A proven Illinois legal source addressing workers’ compensation benefits duly notes that company managers and coverage providers “often claim that an injury or illness is due to a pre-existing condition or injury and is not work-related.”

Yet is often is, though, and courts recognize that a qualifying workers’ comp injury can indeed occur when an on-the-job accident permanently aggravates a preexisting condition or temporarily exacerbates it.

Securing legal counsel against a claim challenge or denial

Denial of a worker’s comp claim citing aggravation or exacerbation is certainly disheartening for an injured employee, but it is far from automatically being an irreversible outcome. An experienced and empathetic legal team can provide diligent representation that the above-linked source underscores “can often make the difference between a claim denial and a settlement.”