When you think of a work injury in Illinois, most people will imagine someone hurting their back from heavy lifting or slipping on a wet floor and twisting their knee. We of course help many people with those types of situations, but also help a lot of workers who have unexpected or atypical work injuries. This includes filing workers’ compensation claims for some victims of sexual assault.
Although fortunately it doesn’t happen very often, if being around a sexual offender is a risk associated with your job, if you are sexually assaulted while working, you likely have a good work comp case. And you don’t have to be a victim of a known sexual predator, just a victim of someone who does this to you.
A good example of this involves a recent case where a woman worked as a juvenile support specialist for the Illinois Youth Correctional Facility. One day she was in her office when he supervisor came in and began to sexually assault her. She asked him to stop and he left the office. She had no prior relationship with this scum bag and his actions weren’t in any way consensual.
As a result of this she became embarrassed and developed acute anxiety and reactive depression. None of that would have happened without the assault. Under Illinois law, physical assault by a co-worker can be considered an accidental injury covered by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. It’s logical that such an act would cause trauma. Because it happened during her employment hours at a place she would be expected to be and it’s expected she’d interact with her supervisor, the Court awarded her benefits.
The same would be true if you work in a store and a customer off the street did this to you or in her case, if one of the juvenile offenders did this to her. In her case, she was entitled to compensation for her time off of work while she underwent psychological treatment and of course all of her medical bills got paid.
So while a sexual assault isn’t what you typically think of when you hear the words “workers compensation,” it certainly can be a work comp case. We’ve seen cases where a worker felt pressured to go to a dinner with a co-worker or boss under the guise that they’d be discussing work, only to be assaulted. Even in that off site scenario, we think that a work comp case would be appropriate, on top of calling the police and these offenders hopefully going to jail.
The bottom line is that if this were to happen to you, we want to help if we can. We promise a free, sensitive and confidential consultation. Call us any time at 312-346-5578 to speak with an attorney.