There’s a famous Illinois workers comp case where an employee from Illinois went to Hawaii on business.  During that business trip they went on a bike ride through a volcano and were injured.  Nothing about that bike ride was part of the job duties of this worker.  It was purely a side trip and had nothing to do with the conference they were there to attend.

The case is famous because the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission ruled that as a traveling employee they were at an increased risk of injury and it was reasonably foreseeable that they’d take a side trip that involved going to a volcano.  So getting hurt at the volcano was ruled to be a work related injury.

In plain English this ruling means that when you travel for business, you aren’t expected to only do work the whole time.  It’s expected you will go out for a meal or do touristy things. Your employer benefits by you being there so if you get hurt at any point while away on business, it’s usually a good Illinois work comp claim. The big exception is if you get drunk or high and that’s why you get hurt.

We usually think of traveling for business to mean going out of town.  It also means traveling around town.  If you have a central office, but go off site for meetings or to see patients/clients or even to run a work errand, you are a traveling employee.

When you do travel, you are given greater protections under IL work comp law.  A recent case shows how this is true.

Under the law, typically if you are hurt in a volunteer, recreational activity, it’s not a case.  The best example is a teacher who gets hurt in a teacher/student basketball game at school. This exact scenario recently happened and the Courts ruled that it was in fact a case.  A woman worked as a counselor for a college access program. Her job involved going to public schools and putting on work shops and providing support through engagement activities.

She was at one of her schools when someone asked her to join in a basketball game. Her leg got fractured and she ended up with surgery. She didn’t have to play in the game, but because she traveled for her job it was ruled that it’s expected she’d be involved in activities that aren’t directly involved in her normal duties.

It was foreseeable that she’d try to play in a game and reasonable to do so.  So it was a win for the good guys.

Bottom line is that if you are injured while away from your normal work location, you most likely have a good case even if it wouldn’t have been a case if it happened at your normal work place.