There’s a requirement that a work injury must arise out of and in the course of your employment in order to be covered by workers’ comp. In other words, just because you’re at work doesn’t mean you can get benefits for an injury there. You have to be doing something related to your job. But what happens when it’s work-related but not something your employer asked you to do? What if you were doing something other than your assigned work duties?

The answer is that you should still be covered, as long as the work you were doing was for the benefit or your employer. If you were helping a co-worker with a job on their machine and got hurt, you should still be covered. If you saw something on the floor and decided to pick it up and put it away, and hurt your back lifting it, you should still be covered.

In Illinois workers’ compensation law, fault does not matter. If you were being careless, that alone will not disqualify you from receiving benefits for your work injury. However, if you were doing something for your own benefit, it may fall outside the “scope” of your employment. For example, if on your lunch break you decide to do a quick work out, or climb up to the roof to check out the view, those things are probably not within the scope of your employment. If you get injured while doing something along those lines, your claim will likely be denied.

It’s important to know that insurance companies often deny claims that end up being perfectly valid, because it’s their job to minimize what they pay out. So don’t assume that because your claim was denied that you have no chance. Ask an experienced attorney who can accurately tell you if you have a claim worth pursuing.

The main thing to remember is that when you are engaged in an activity that is for the benefit of your employer, or in the furtherance of their business, even if it wasn’t specifically assigned to you or expected of you, any resulting injury should be covered by their workers’ compensation insurance.

We are workers’ compensation attorneys who 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.

By Michael Helfand