If you sustained an injury at work, your employer or its insurance company cannot deny you Workers’ compensation benefits based solely on a pre-existing condition. If you had a pre-existing condition and a work injury contributed to, aggravated, or exacerbated that condition, then your injury is compensable under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. If the work accident makes your pre-existing condition worse, then you may be entitled to benefits for care and treatment of that condition and disability payments while you are off work.
If your work accident aggravates or exacerbates the condition and as a result you require treatment that you otherwise would not have needed, then your treatment must be provided by the employer, and the employer must also compensate you for medically necessary lost time.
Pre-existing conditions also raise problems in injury cases that are not work related. Evidence of pre-existing conditions may be relevant in determining the cause and extent of your injury and damages. In a civil case, like a car accident or premises liability case, evidence of prior injuries can be relevant to show that a condition was not caused by the accident. However, evidence of that pre-existing condition must relate specifically to the injury claimed; a pre-existing condition will not be considered unless there is evidence of a causal connection between the pre-existing condition and the current injury.
If you feel that an insurance company is attempting to diminish or deny recovery based on some pre-existing condition, talk to your lawyer about your rights.