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A common misconception is that if you are at your job and get injured, you have a case. You might, but still have to show that something about your job duties contributed to you getting injured or that your job put you at an increased risk of injury. So if you slip on a wet floor in the bathroom, that’s likely a case. If you are just walking and your knee gives out for no reason, you might not have a case.
Some injuries don’t seem like they’d be a case, but can be. For example, everyone who drives a car has to use a seat belt. That’s not a risk associated with just your job. If you hurt your arm putting on your seat belt at work, a bad lawyer would tell you that you have no case. A good one would explore to see if your job increased your risk of injury.
This is exactly what happened in a recent claim involving a bus driver. She was getting ready for her route when she reached up with her right arm to pull down her seat belt. In doing so she felt a pop which turned out to be a torn rotator cuff.
She won her case at trial because as a bus driver, her seat belt was positioned at a greater height than that of a typical car seat belt. There was also a unique design in that it was a farther distance away which caused the driver to have to reach more. Both of these things put her at a greater risk of injury.
Beyond that, the employer of course benefits from her buckling up and it’s expected she’d do so. It’s part of her job duties and she was instructed to do it.
So while a basic description of how she got hurt doesn’t sound like much, when you dig further you see that this is clearly a strong case. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission agreed and found in her favor even after the company appealed the Arbitrator’s initial ruling that also went for her.
The bottom line is that any attorney who knows what they are talking about would have taken the time to properly interview this worker and discover that it was really a great case. Of course it also takes a lawyer who knows how to win trials and is willing to do the work to make that happen. Fortunately for this driver that it exactly what happened.