Falls in parking lots and Illinois workers' compensation

In general, accidents on the way to work or home after work are not covered under Illinois workers' compensation law.  In other words, if you are riding the train or driving in your car and get in to an accident, you can't successfully file a claim (note there is a big exception to this rule which would be a whole other post so call us if this has happened to you).

When you arrive to work or leave at the end of the day and are in the parking lot, however, you can technically be considered to be working.  If you have an accident from a slip and fall or anything else, you might be able to make a workers' compensation claim.

There are two key points to consider:

First, does the employer provide the parking lot for the employees?  If they restrict where you can park (e.g. an employee designated lot) then an injury from a fall is probably a case.  On the other hand, if it's a big public lot and you can park wherever you want, you are probably at no increased risk to that of the general public.  If so then the chances of prevailing are tougher.

The second point is do they maintain the parking lot?  If they own it and have to clean it or are responsible for the upkeep of the lot (even if they just contribute to it through rent payment) then accidents will probably be held to be work injuries.

This is all a very generalized statement of the law.  It's also important to know that any accident that is personal to you would not be covered.  In other words if you slam your hand in the car door that will never be an Illinois workers comp claim unless something about the job made that happen.  Most of the cases we are able to succeed on involve slipping on something icy or wet.

Does this sound confusing?  It can be.  If you have questions about parking lot accidents do not hesitate to contact us.

We are workers' compensation attorneys that help people with Illinois work injuries anywhere in IL via our statewide network of attorneys.  Contact us and we will answer your questions or find the right lawyer for your situation.

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Comments (2) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
B Doyle - March 13, 2010 11:14 PM

There are an amazing number of people who end up walking away from perfectly good worker's comp cases because they were not technically "on the clock" when the accident happened.

My own practice is based on doing personal injury and third party liability cases, and I discovered early on in my career about how people can be covered when they were not on the clock.

The client had clocked out and stopped in the bathroom on the way out to her car. The janitorial staff was in the bathroom mopping the floor, but did not have "wet floor" signs out. She stepped in the bathroom and slipped, suffering a serious knee and back injury. She contacted a lawyer only after her comp claim was denied.

We decided that the best course of action for us was to file suit on the case since she was not covered by worker's comp. Getting served with a lawsuit caused her employer to change their tune about whether she was covered by comp or not. In the end, they ended up covering it, which was the right result.

Jan - December 10, 2012 5:17 PM

The employee was running to the building and tripped on the curb, it was not wet or slippery, just his own clumsiness. He stated it was his own fault and that he would pay his own medical bill (he complained of back pain). Do we let him take responsibility for this or would it seem that we were avoiding a workers comp claim.

WE REPLY: We don't represent employers, just injured workers. That said, you should report this to your insurance company. Odds are that if he wasn't doing anything for work it won't be a case, but I'm not really in a position to advise employers. Good luck.

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