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.

1 Lawyer Answer
Charles Candiano
Charles Candiano
  • Workers' Compensation Lawyer
  • Chicago, IL
  • Licensed in Illinois

A: 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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