Q: Can I sue my employer after developing chronic degenerative orthopedic diagnosis that was likely caused by my job?
I, 33 year old female, was recently diagnosed with lower lumbar facet arthrosis. I was told by my chiropractor that this typically isn't seen in patients my age, this is something that occurs in older patients. I have been working at a factory for over 12 years and believe this diagnosis was brought on by the nature of my work.
First of all, when you are injured at work, you can never sue your employer. Your sole remedy is to file a claim with the Illinois Worker's Compensation Commission. To succeed in a Worker's Compensation claim, it is essential that you provide a sound causation opinion from a credible source. In your case, an orthopedic surgeon (not a chiropractor) would need to testify about the precise nature of the work you performed for your employer and how that work resulted in your current state of ill-being.
You're definitely in for a fight. To determine whether it makes sense for you to fight that fight, you need to address such questions as these: What if any restrictions do I have as a result of my condition? Do I require surgery or other medical care as a result of this condition? What impact if any does this condition have on my ability to earn a living?
Consult with an orthopedic surgeon to learn whether they are able to provide a causation opinion. If they are and you answered yes to any of the questions above, you need to consult a local experienced Worker's Compensation attorney. Good luck!
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