The common assumption that most people in Illinois regarding workers’ compensation is likely founded on the notion that one sustains an injury at work, approaches their employer for assistance and applies for compensation for their medical expenses. Yet what about those cases where one cannot trace their injury back to a single incident?
Many live with the burden of chronic pain, turning everyday tasks into arduous difficulties. Treatment for chronic pain is often costly (due to its protracted nature). Should one’s pain be the result of years of repetitive action at work, receiving workers’ compensation may help relieve some of the financial burden. Yet are such benefits available?
Distinguishing between chronic and acute pain
Many may express confusion over different classifications of pain. Yet in general, clinicians group manifestations of pain into one of two categories: acute and chronic. The former refers to pain immediately following trauma (an accident) linked to an injury; the latter refers to pain that manifests over time that endures for three months or more.
Linking chronic pain to workplace activities
Qualifying for workers’ compensation due to chronic pain, however, often presents difficulties. According to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, the qualification for benefits due to any long-term disability depend on the following:
- An impairment report prepared by a physician
- One’s occupation
- One’s age at the time of injury
- One’s future earning capacity
- The evidence of disability corroborated by medical records
The trouble comes from tying chronic pain to a single injury. This becomes easier if documentation clearly links one’s chronic pain to an underlying condition (such as fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, or temporomandibular joint disorder). Yet if one does not also suffer from such conditions, then clear and concise documentation by one’s doctor identifying the assumed causes of one’s chronic pain.