There are exceptions to everything in the legal world, and Illinois workers’ compensation is no different. Each case has its own unique facts. Even two claims that might seem identical at first glance can become very difference once the entire situation comes to light. For example, imagine two separate car accidents during an evening commute. Both happen after work as the employees are driving home for the night, both drivers get hit by a truck that blows a red light, and both suffer serious back injuries.

At first glance, neither employee would appear to be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits (which include payment for lost wages and medical bills). Accidents that occur during a worker’s commute to and from home generally aren’t considered work injuries for the purposes of getting benefits through an employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. In order to be considered a work injury, it must “arise out of and in the course of” one’s employment. Commutes are generally outside the scope of employment.

Now, imagine that one worker was driving from the restaurant where he worked, back to his home, like he did every day when his shift was over. The other worker, however, was driving home from a location where his employer specifically required him to work that day, a location that was not his usual work site. These additional facts would potentially make the second employee a “traveling employee” and entitle him to benefits for his injuries.

Traveling employees are not only those who travel routinely but those who are required to travel, close or far, frequently or infrequently, for their employer. The rationale is that these employees would not have been where they were if their employer hadn’t required it. So, while a daily commute generally doesn’t count, the rules might be different for traveling employees.

The main point in all this is that you can’t assume your case fits the general rule. There are often several exceptions that might apply in any given situation. Don’t assume you shouldn’t file a claim just because you heard that injuries during a commute don’t count. Your Illinois workers’ compensation attorney’s job is to get you all the benefits you’re entitled to under the law.

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