Under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, if you are injured driving your vehicle to or from work, you don’t have a case unless you are traveling to some place that is not your normal work location. For example, if you live and work in the City of Chicago, but were driving to a meeting in Schaumburg when you got in to a car accident, that would be a case. If you were driving to your office in Chicago that usually would not be a case.
Like everything, there are some pretty big exceptions to these rules. The biggest is when you are driving a vehicle that your employer gives you.
The famous case on this law involves a Polish cleaning lady. She fell while walking to her van in the morning and broke her wrist. But in this case it was a van provided to her by her employer to use to travel to their various cleaning assignments. Since she fell on a public sidewalk while walking to her van, the Court ruled that this was part of her journey as a traveling employee, even though the van was parked outside her house.
Her employer received a big benefit by her taking the van home every day. They don’t pay for storage and it allows the workers to start their day faster and avoid the need to report to a central office location. It saves them money.
Because the employer gets this benefit and because her traveling had started, she became a traveling employee. Most accidents that happen to traveling employees are covered and this one was no exception.
So you’d think that walking to your car and falling on ice wouldn’t be a case, but when you look deeper at where she was walking to, why she was walking there and what she was going to do with the vehicle it makes more sense.
It’s really not much different than an employee who is driving to a meeting and stops at a gas station where they slip and fall.
Bottom line is that this is why we ask you a lot of questions so we can have the full story. We wouldn’t expect you to know little quirks in the law like this case. It’s also why you should only hire an experienced attorney who is up to date on case law. It can literally be the difference between winning and losing.
Would you like to ask a question about this or anything else? Call us any time at (312) 346-5578. We cover all of Illinois.