We’ve been involved in a lot of AT&T workers’ compensation cases in Illinois over the years. They use a company called Sedgwick to administer their claims and in our experience they fight cases whenever they can. Even if the adjuster you talk to “seems nice” they are looking for a way to deny or limit your benefits. The more money Sedgwick saves AT&T, the better it is for both of them even when it’s at your expense.
In a recent Illinois work injury case that went all the way to the Appellate Court (this is unique in work comp), a worker was injured when she tripped going up the stairs because the non slip strip was missing.
What made this case unique was the fact that the worker had clocked out for the day. She was almost out of the building when she realized she left her cell phone at her desk and headed back to the area where she sat. In doing so she caught her foot on the defective step and fell, injuring herself.
AT&T through Sedgwick fought the case and tried to make the ridiculous argument that since she had clocked out and was only returning to her desk to get a personal item, it wasn’t work related. The reality is that she had been only off the clock for minutes and was still on company property. She hadn’t left the building yet which meant her work day wasn’t over. Can you imagine if when she went back upstairs if her boss asked her a question she refused to answer because she clocked out? Of course that wouldn’t happen.
Punching out doesn’t mean the day is over. Beyond that, there was a defect in the stairs which were on company property. Clearly the bad stair contributed to her falling which is all she needed to prove to win her case.
Interestingly enough, one of the reasons this case was fought was because the worker’s supervisor didn’t think the missing strip was enough reason to fall. Of course it turned out that was just his opinion and he never examined the bad step until it was repaired.
The bottom line is two fold in this case: 1. Don’t be surprised if Sedgwick gives you a hard time. Just make sure you are educated on your rights and have a lawyer who knows how to push back. 2. Being “off the clock” doesn’t end your work day or take away your chances at winning a work comp case in Illinois.
And as always, if you have any questions or concerns, you can call us for a free consultation any time at 312-346-5578.