Insurance companies who handle Illinois workers’ compensation claims LOVE LOVE LOVE to deny cases. It’s how they make so much money. The little secret is that it’s very common for them to deny a claim and try and take away your rights when they know they are doing so wrongly. They hope that you will just go away.

As part of this, we see insurance companies all the time telling injured workers things that aren’t true as the basis for denying their case. A prime example of this is saying that an injury isn’t covered because it happened when the worker was off the clock.

Here are some cases I’ve been called about in the last year where accidents happened off the clock. See if you can guess what they all have in common.

  • A worker went to use the bathroom before she clocked in and slipped on a wet floor, resulting in a torn ACL.
  • While getting coffee before starting a shift, a worker injured his back while lifting a box that was on the break-room table.
  • While leaving for the day, a worker fell in the employee only parking lot on ice and hurt their back and hip.
  • Before punching in, a factory worker was asked by a co-worker who had started their day to help them move some overflow items and tore their rotator cuff.
  • During a lunch break while off the clock, a worker was assaulted by an angry customer and suffered an orbital fracture.
  • While at home after a work day, a salesman who had taken boxes home of inventory smashed his hand while carrying one in to the house.

Do you know what they all have in common? It’s two things actually. First, every example I listed involved someone whose case was denied by an insurance company for being off the clock. The second thing they have in common is that they are all great cases.

It’s a myth that you have to be “on the clock” in order to get Illinois work comp benefits. If you are doing an activity that benefits your employer and get injured, it’s likely a compensable work comp case. All of the examples listed benefit the employer. Even going to the bathroom does as it’s expected that workers will need to use the bathroom and this worker was doing it in a way that didn’t disrupt work.

And yes, even being at home can be work comp if you are doing something for the employer such as bringing work home with you. You are essentially “on the clock” when you are at your place of employment or doing actions for the employer. You stay on the clock until you do something that clearly takes you away from that. An example would be a bartender who finishes their shift and sticks around to drink after and gets drunk and then falls down. Or someone who leaves their place of work to meet friends for lunch and gets in a car accident on the way to the restaurant.

Bottom line is that you shouldn’t trust the insurance company when they say you don’t have a case. You are always welcome to call us for a free consultation with a lawyer to see if you have one. We cover all of Illinois and can be reached at 312-346-5578.