You can get workers’ compensation benefits in Illinois even if you get hurt doing something outside of your job description. Don’t let your employer or the insurance company tell you otherwise. There are some exceptions, but for the most part you are covered for any injury that arises out of and in the course of your employment.

If a cashier stops to help a stockroom employee move some boxes and hurts their back, it’s most likely covered. It comes down to whether they were doing something to the benefit of their employer. The cashier was, even if they weren’t supposed to be doing it. The cases in which an employee can’t get benefits is when they are doing something so far outside their work duties that it’s no longer considered work related. Examples: Goofing off at work, doing something dangerous just for fun, etc.

Don’t let your employer tell you that your injury is your fault and therefore you can’t file a claim. Even if it’s partially your fault, because you lifted the box wrong, or whatever else, it doesn’t matter. Workers’ compensation in Illinois is a “no fault” system. You are entitled to benefits regardless of fault.

And don’t simply accept a denial by the insurance company. They deny claims all the time, even when it’s a long shot. They hope you’ll get frustrated and go away, or that you’ll fail to hire an attorney and learn that you really do have a good case.

As an employee, it’s your job to do whatever your employer needs. You can’t just stand there and refuse to do something because it’s not in your job description. And most people help their co-workers out if they need help. It would be crazy to not allow benefits to these employees, who were simply being good employees. And the law doesn’t deny benefits in these cases. The insurance company might try to, but you can fight back.

It’s not ideal that you have to hire an attorney and request a hearing before an arbitrator in order to receive the benefits the law entitles you to, but that’s the reality. Hire someone who knows what they’re doing so that you can get your case on track quickly, get your benefits, and hopefully get better and back to work.