While every Illinois workers compensation case is different, a lot of them are similar. Someone types all day and gets carpal tunnel. A truck driver slips exiting their cab and hurts their shoulder when they try to catch themselves.  A factory worker feels a pop in their back when lifting a box. Their individual experiences such as their prior health or when they reported the claim will shape their case, but I get a call with one of those three versions of events usually multiple times a week.

I like those cases, but I also enjoy hearing new stories. I heard one recently which was kind of a doozy.  A home health aide was at a client’s apartment as she had been doing for a while.  The client had a cat that is very affectionate.  Meanwhile, down the hall lived another family who also had a cat.  That family was out of town so they hired a pet sitter.  The pet sitter left the door open and scurried down the hall.

The home health aide heard scratching at the door and the patient asked her to open it up because she didn’t see her own cat and was worried it had gotten outside. When the door opened, the neighbor’s cat freaked out and clawed the aide.  She was bleeding a bit, but it seemed mostly like a bad scratch and it was treated at urgent care.  Fast forward a couple of days and the scratch is now badly infected which requires a hospital stay and is causing damage to other parts of her body. She’ll be out of work for a while.

It’s clearly a workers’ compensation case. The client asked her to open the door and the client benefited from her doing so.  So the good news is that all of her bills will be covered and she should be paid for her time off of work. She might also have a lawsuit against the pet sitter because it was from a company that does this type of work and surely they have insurance.

Now nobody shows up to work expecting to get her, but plenty of workers know that certain activities put them at risk, some more so than others. But certainly this very nice woman didn’t think that the act of opening a door would lead to a cat attack and serious infection that would have her hospitalized.  I’ve heard plenty of other unique stories this year, but so far that is by far the most unlikely one and probably one of the most unusual ones I’ve heard of in 25 plus years of doing this.