I hate gotcha type headlines, but am going to excuse myself on this one since it’s April 1 and it’s interesting, at least to me.
We were involved in a case for a client whose case settled this year for over $100,000.00 after she had a traumatic wrist injury following a fall at work.
What was unique about this case other than the severity of the injury and the size of the settlement was that our client was injured in Poland.
You don’t see a ton of Illinois workers’ compensation cases for international injuries, but I’d estimate there around 250 of those a year. Most are like our client where they work for an Illinois company, but were hurt while traveling for their job.
The law in Illinois is pretty crystal clear. Almost any injury which occurs while you are traveling for work is covered under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. If you were hired in Illinois or primarily work out of Illinois, where you get hurt does not matter.
The most famous case of this is a guy who was working in Hawaii and in his free time got injured when riding a bicycle in a volcano. It’s seen as “reasonably forseeable” that while traveling for work you’ll do something in your free time and since your employer gains a benefit by you traveling, these accidents are covered.
The biggest exception to this is if you get drunk or are engaging in illegal activity. If you get robbed while walking home from dinner and are stabbed, that case would be covered. If you get stabbed while using the services of an escort, that case would not be covered.
In general the work comp laws in Illinois make a ton of sense and it’s certainly the case for traveling employees. If only the other aspects of our Government were so logical.