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Archive for the ‘fall injuries’ tag

Police Officer’s Injuries Fall under Traveling Worker Doctrine

February 12th, 2015 at 7:00 am

Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer, Traveling Worker DoctrineUnder most circumstances, employers are not liable if an employee is injured while traveling to or returning home from work at the end of a required shift or commitment. However, there are several jobs which require employees to travel during work hours in order to fulfill the duties of their job. Hence, many states have adopted some variation of the traveling worker doctrine.

In an appeal of a case heard before the Illinois Workers Compensation Board, the board agreed with the original arbitrator’s ruling that the traveling worker doctrine was correctly applied in an original ruling which favored a claimant.

The claimant, a police officer with the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, had testified that he was driving in his assigned patrol car when he received a call from district headquarters. He was asked to drive to one office to pick up requested documents and to then drive to another office to deliver the documents.

The officer drove his vehicle to the first location and parked it in a parking lot owned by the district. The claimant testified that he was aware that it was getting close to the end of his shift. Therefore, he only had so much time to complete his assigned task. He left the vehicle and walked toward the building. While doing so, he checked his watch and then tripped on an elevated sidewalk which was located in the front of his vehicle.

The fall resulted in injuries to the claimant’s right knee, should and arm, as well as injuries to his left knee. The arbitrator who heard the original case awarded the claimant benefits under the traveling employee doctrine. The arbitrator based the finding on the following facts:

  • The arbitrator determined that because the officer had been assigned a patrol car for his job, as well as the required duties of patrolling various locations both on and off district-owned property, this confirmed that the claimant was indeed a traveling employee.
  • Regarding the “reasonableness” of the officer’s claim, the arbitrator determined that the act of the officer walking across the parking lot in order to complete the assigned task was a “reasonable” action. The arbitrator further stated that because the claimant was only given a certain amount of time to complete the task, the act of checking his watch—although a distraction which resulted in him missing the sidewalk and falling—was also a “reasonable” act.

The board agreed with the original findings of the arbitrator and agreed that the claimant’s injuries fall under the traveling worker doctrine.

If you or a loved one has suffered a workplace injury, please contact a knowledgeable and experienced Chicago workers’ compensation attorney to represent you and make sure you receive the compensation you are entitled to under the law.

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