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Workers' compensation for woman injured in car accident

In an interesting case, an Illinois woman was awarded workers' compensation after a car accident. At the time of the accident, the woman was driving from her place of employment to a retail store at the end of the workday. This case is unusual because while she was not injured while physically at her workplace, she was running a work-related errand. She was awarded workers' compensation because she was within the normal duties of her job.

This ruling sets an interesting precedent regarding the boundaries of normal job duties. There are an incalculable number of people that must drive in order to perform their job duties throughout the day. One interesting aspect of this workers' compensation case is that this woman was injured in an accident that occurred after the work day had ended.

What this means for future workers' compensation cases is that injuries that are sustained in car accidents after work hours may still qualify for workers' compensation benefits. Obviously, sufficient evidence would be needed to prove that it was a work related accident. Nevertheless, this may set an interesting precedent for Illinois employees and employers.

The arbitrator ruled in the woman's favor because it was determined that she was undertaking a task well within the scope of her normal job description. She left her office after closing time and drove to a retail store. She received workers' compensation because she was injured in the accident while going to purchase a rug for her employer. She was not on her normal route home nor was there any evidence that she was purchasing anything for personal use.

The ruling in this case could be useful to employees filing workers' compensation claims in the state of Illinois. Fortunately, this woman was able to establish before the arbitrator that she was on an errand that was for the benefit of her employer. As such, she will now be entitled to receive benefits payments to cover her medical expenses as well as lost income from her employment for the period of time needed to recover from her injuries and get back to work. With the amount of work-related driving that is done throughout our state, those workers that are injured in a car accident may gain by exploring their rights to pursue benefits under workers' compensation law.

Source: riskandinsurance.com "Comp covers director's injuries while driving from work to store," April 1, 2013

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Hannigan & Botha, Ltd.
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