When a worker is hurt and wants to receive workers’ compensation benefits, the first question he or she should ask is, “Did the injury happen ‘on-the-job?'” In other words, in order for a worker to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, the injury needs to have happened within the course and scope of his or her employment — i.e., the worker needed to get injured while he or she was performing an action on behalf of his or her employer.

This does not mean that the injury needed to have happened on workplace property. It means that the worker needed to be doing a specific action that he or she was contracted by the employer to carry out. This means that an injury at a company party, or at a different social event that the employer sponsored, can still qualify the injured worker to receive benefits.

Even if an injury happens as a result of “horseplay,” or workers who were playing around on the job and not paying attention to workplace safety rules might be able to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits if the injury happened during normal working hours, but this issue is often debated by different courts. Similarly, an injury that happens during lunch hour might be deemed as a work-related event if the injury takes place in the workplace cafeteria or on work property.

No two Illinois workers’ compensation cases are the same, and sometimes it is difficult to predict whether benefits will be awarded. However, the general rule of thumb to determine eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits is to ask whether the worker was hurt while performing his or her job duties. When the answer is yes, it could be a sign that benefits will likely be awarded.

Source: FindLaw, “What Types of Injuries are Compensable Under Workers’ Compensation?,” accessed Oct. 07, 2016