One of the principles of Illinois workers’ compensation law is that if you get injured doing something that most people in Illinois have to do every day, it’s not a case. So if you are walking and your knee just gives out for no reason or your feet hurt from standing all day, that’s usually not covered.
Of course there are exceptions and the big one is when you have to do something excessively. So walking and getting knee pain isn’t a case. But if your job requires you to walk most of the day, then you’d probably win. We’ve had clients wear pedometers to determine how far they walk in a given day. Many end up walking 6-8 miles or more which is a lot and certainly more than most people walk in a given day.
Another example is tripping on curbs. Most of us at some point in the day will step up on to a curb or down from one. It’s an “act of daily living” and as a result if you trip doing that while working, we’d normally have a hard time getting Illinois work comp benefits for you.
If you have the type of job where you are required to deal with curbs a lot and you trip on one, it will be considered a work related injury. How many times is a lot? It’s not defined other than having to do it to a greater degree that the general public. Just like with walking, the more you have to do it, the better your chances are.
In a recent case, a City of Chicago plumbing inspector won benefits when he tripped on a curb while walking back to his car at a job site. You can imagine that he goes to a lot of buildings and job sites every day and has to deal with curbs well more than most people. So while it’s not clear how many times he dealt with this, it clearly was a lot.
If you get hurt tripping on a curb you can bet that the insurance company will deny your case. They have nothing to lose because whether you do more than the general public is often open to interpretation. So if that happens to you, you need an experienced attorney who is willing to take your case to trial. And they should know about this recent case (Nee v. City of Chicago) because it’s a weapon that needs to be used to win the case.