Typically, yes. As long as your employer has workers’ comp insurance covering you, you can probably get coverage for this. When your work activities aren’t the original cause of your medical condition but they have made it substantially worse, a workers’ comp claim can be appropriate.
That said, you should contact a workers’ comp lawyer about your issue. Aggravation or exacerbation of an existing medical condition is covered by workers’ comp, but these claims are sometimes hard to navigate without help.
Aggravation/exacerbation is a work injury
It doesn’t matter if your pre-existing medical condition was not caused by work, If your work aggravated or exacerbated an existing injury, medical condition or mental health condition, it is still considered work-related in Illinois.
It will be covered by workers’ comp if you can show that working has accelerated the condition beyond its normal progression.
For example, you might already have been suffering from low back pain for non-work-related reasons. If an injury at work exacerbated that pain to the point it became disabling, you would generally have a workers’ comp claim.
Your claim would typically cover any necessary medical care, partial wage replacement if you miss work, and disability benefits, in some cases.
Another good example is a repetitive stress injury like carpal tunnel or cubital tunnel syndrome. These painful and debilitating conditions can be caused by repetitive motions at work. In some cases, medical treatment and ergonomic changes can allow the person to continue working. In others, a repetitive stress injury can be disabling.
In either case, repetitive stress injuries can be the basis for a workers’ comp claim.
These claims are often denied, but you can appeal
Unfortunately, employers and insurers can be prone to doubt aggravation and exacerbation claims. They may deny your claim initially, claiming it is not work-related or that the condition is pre-existing.
It can help to have an experienced workers’ comp lawyer help with your initial claim. Even if you didn’t, you can still hire one to help appeal the denial.