If you are considered a “traveling employee,” injuries away from your workplace or work site can still qualify as a work injury for the purposes of getting Illinois workers’ compensation.

In order for any work injury to be covered, it needs to happen in the course of your employment. For most employees, once they are no longer at work, they are no longer within the course of their employment, unless they are running an errand for their boss or something similar. Generally speaking, you aren’t considered in the course of your employment when you are commuting to or from your job.

However, that changes if you are considered a traveling employee, which is a broader category than you might think. You don’t have to be a flight attendant or a traveling salesman to qualify. If you are required to drive around during the day as part of your work, then you’re likely a traveling employee in the eyes of Illinois workers’ compensation law.

In a recent case, a cleaning person was at home during her break between cleaning jobs. She fell on her way back to her car after her break was over. She slipped on the public sidewalk outside of her home, next to her driveway. She was not paid during her time at home and she was not at a job site, but the court found that she was still in the course of her employment because she was walking to the van that took her to work. Had she not been a traveling employee, it would not have been a work injury.

Each case is different. The key things here were that the cleaning person was a traveling employee, that she was on her way to her next job, and that in order to do that she needed to walk to the van. Although anyone can slip on the sidewalk, the court said her risk was greater because she was a traveling employee.

If you have a question about your work injury, or what it means to be a traveling employee, please contact us.

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