Nanete Schroeder v IWCC

Nanete Schroeder v. Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, 2017 IL App (4th) 160192WC (May 31, 2017) McLean Co. (HUDSON)



Claimant’s surgeon recommended a lumbar fusion, but the claimant declined and instead returned to work.  Nine months later, she sustained an accident at work.  Diagnostic testing showed no change from her pre-injury condition.  In reversing the arbitrator who found no causal connection, the Commission considered claimant to have satisfied the chain of events theory of recovery, despite the fact that she did not present with a previous condition of good health.  Rather, her previous “relative good health” followed by an accident and a subsequent injury resulting in disability was sufficient evidence to prove a causal nexus between the accident and her injury.  The Court held that a chain of events theory does not require an “absolutely good condition” before the accident.  Rather, “the salient factor is not the precise previous condition; it is the resulting deterioration” from the previous condition.  While a significant back condition undeniably existed before the accident, it was also undeniable that claimant’s ability to work “completely deteriorated” after the accident.  (HOLDRIDGE, HOFFMAN, HARRIS, MOORE, concurring).

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