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Archive for the ‘traveling employee’ 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.

Illinois Bill Would Limit Employer Liability for Travelling Employee Injuries

August 27th, 2014 at 10:34 am

employer liabilityA bill currently pending in the Illinois legislature would put limitations on an employer’s liability for injuries an employee receives while traveling on the way to work.

Senate Bill 2622, introduced by State Sen. Kyle McCarter (R, Lebanon), would not require employers to provide workers compensation benefits for an employee who becomes injured if the employee was not traveling for work purposes when the injury occurs.

The bill is aimed for employees who are required to travel in connection with their job. It says compensation for an injury that occurs while traveling will only be provided “if the injury arises out of and in the course of employment while he or she is actively engaged in the duties of employment.”

If it passes, the proposed law would cover incidents such as a recent workers’ compensation case that was appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court. The court ruled that just because a worker accepts a job that is a distance away from his or her home that does not mean the employee automatically becomes a “travelling employee”, nor is the employer is automatically liable for any injuries the employee may incur while traveling to and from work. The new bill was introduced a month before the court’s ruling.

Bill 2622 is part of a package of workers’ compensation bills, including Bill 2623, which addresses new injuries to previously paid body parts; Bill 2625, which addresses temporary disability payments for employees who have been terminated for just cause; and Bill 2626, which addresses wage calculations for employees who work less than 52 weeks per year.

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

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