Although Illinois workers’ compensation laws are very fair for workers, the simple act of being at work when you get injured is not enough to have a case. You have to show your job duties exposed you to an “increased risk” of getting injured. So if you walk down the hallway and slip on a wet floor, the wet floor is the increased risk. On the other hand if you are walking down the hallway and the next thing you know you are on the ground and don’t know why, you wouldn’t have a case because you can’t show something about the job caused you to get hurt.
We see this a lot with people who call us after getting a back injury from bending over at work. Our backs can be funny and we all have a lot of wear and tear on them. Simply bending over itself or feeling pain when straightening back up isn’t enough to win a claim. This was shown in a recent Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission decision in which benefits were denied when a packer hurt her back while bending over to look at a box.
She testified that she wasn’t in an unusual or stressed position and she didn’t have anything in her hands when it happened. Had she lifted up the box, that probably would have been enough to win the case even if her back would have gone out on her anyway.
I didn’t handle this case, I just read about it. That said, I do wonder if the injured workers’ attorney got testimony about what her job duties were and asked her doctor if the job put so much stress on her back that this was bound to happen. It’s not a slam dunk win, but it’s certainly something that should be explored.
The bottom line is that something about your job duties have to play a part in you getting injured. You can sneeze and blow out a disc in your back and it can be not a case at all or a great case because you do heavy lifting all day and this was bound to happen. It’s easier if you are lifting something or have a specific accident, but not impossible if you don’t.
Is this confusing? It can be. Call us for a free consultation any time at 312-346-5578 or fill out our contact form and we’ll call you right away. We don’t promise a result, but do promise to give you direct, honest advice.