Driving to and from the job is just part of the workday for most people. If someone gets injured during that commute, the guidelines on whether workers’ compensation benefits will cover their medical expenses are currently unclear, according to some officials. They say a bill being considered in Illinois could be the solution.
The proposed legislation is based on a recent decision by the state’s Supreme Court. In that case, a man was working on a construction site roughly 200 miles away from his residence. He and a coworker were traveling to the job site when their car encountered ice on the road. The two men crashed, and one was seriously injured.
Officials with the state’s Worker’s Compensation Commission ruled that the man’s situation should fall under the umbrella of what is covered. They said he deserved compensation for the injuries he had suffered. The state’s Supreme Court did not agree.
Justices ruled that the man was not considered a traveling employee. They argued that he knew the risks of commuting when he accepted a job that was a considerable distance from his home. Only one justice offered a dissenting opinion.
The proposed legislation piggybacks on that decision. The bill outlines that workers are eligible for recompense only if their injury happens while they are actually at work. Injuries that happen during the travel time to and from the job would not be considered work-related.
All Illinois workers are affected by the state’s workers’ compensation laws and regulations. These can oftentimes be confusing and hard to understand for many people. If someone is injured and thinks it may be work-related, and therefore eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, it could be in their best interest to seek counsel from a qualified legal representative.
Source: The Southern Illinoisan, Injured while going to work? Legislation aims to clarify who pays, Kurt Erickson, Jan. 6, 2014