I was flipping around the television the other night and stopped on an episode of Pawn Stars.  They have a trivia question every show, usually related to their business.  But this question had to do with work injuries.

The answer is slip and fall accidents.  Apparently there are more than one million such accidents every year at work in the United States.  Certainly it happens a ton in Illinois as we’ve dealt with hundreds of those cases over the years.

Sometimes a slip and fall at work is a workers’ compensation case.  Other times it’s a premises liability lawsuit.  And still other times it can be both or neither.

For it to be a workers’ compensation case, it generally has to happen while you are performing an activity that benefits your employers.  In addition, you have to be either on your company premises (e.g. the lobby of an office building doesn’t cut it, you’d have to be in your office area) or you’d have to fall on property owned by your company.  The most common example is if you fall in a parking lot that your employer owns.  If they didn’t own it, if wouldn’t be a work comp case.  There are exceptions to all of this, the biggest one being for traveling employees, but hopefully you get the gist.

For it to be a personal injury case, you can’t get injured on the property of your employer because under Illinois law, you are not allowed to sue your company for negligence.   That’s the tradeoff for the great work comp system that we have.  But if you work at a mall and fall in a common area or in the lobby of an office building or somewhere else, a slip and fall lawsuit is possible.  Now whether or not you meet the strict criteria to win one of these cases is another story, but that’s a topic for a different blog.

For it to be both, typically this will happen to a traveling employee.  We’ve helped lots of truckers, for example, who stopped at a gas station and were hurt when they slipped on oil.  They can for sure bring a work comp case and may have a need for a personal injury attorney too depending on whether or not there is liability.

For it to be neither it would have to be an accident that happened away from the office space such as a parking lot and would also be the result of something you can’t sue for like the natural accumulation of snow and ice.

Does this sound confusing?  It can be and I’m not sure I made it 100% clear for you.  So if you have any questions about what happened to you (and remember, every case is different) please call us at (312)346-5578 to talk for free and in confidence with an attorney.