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Asthmatic worker exposed to gases denied compensation



An Illinois appellate court on Monday upheld a previously overturned ruling denying workers compensation for a gas companion with pre-existing asthma exposed to toxic fumes.

Ricky A. Duncan, an employee of Ameren Corp. Springfield, Illinois, was diagnosed with a "permanent and irreversible state" of "severely irritating induced workplace-associated bronchial reactivity" after inhaling gas fumes in 2013, according to documents in Ricky A. Duncan v. The Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission et. al. filed in Appellate Court of Illinois & # 39; Fifth District of Mount Vernon.

Mr. Duncan sought medical treatment after the first exposure in September 201

3 and returned to work two days later. In May 2014, he was diagnosed with a bronchial condition in connection with irritants in the workplace and was advised to take disability leave, according to documents.

Mr. Duncan returned to work in September 2014 and experienced a second work-related exposure on October 8. Examination of his claim claims that medical records show that Duncan's respiratory problems and pre-existing asthma were temporarily exacerbated by the two gas exposures, according to court documents.

An arbitrator for the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission found that he had not been able to prove any permanent negative effects of the exposures and denied his claim. Ameren paid for medical treatment and other benefits for what the arbitrator found to be these temporary exacerbations.

Duncan appealed and the Commission's decision was changed in the district court. Ameren appealed and disputed Duncan's burden of proof. Records were introduced in the Court of Appeal that revealed 15 or 16 different occasions from May 1999 to August 2013 where Duncan complained of lung symptoms, including shortness of breath, cough, chest tightness and wheezing.

Judges of the Fifth District agreed that the method of the chain of events to prove causation is not applicable because in this case there was no previous state of good lung health. The court decided to set aside the judgment of the district court and reinstate the Commission's decision.


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