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‘Through the course of employment’ not always so clear

On behalf of Jeffrey Frederick of Frederick & Hagle posted in Workers’ Compensation on Friday, April 19, 2013.

Workers’ compensation provides that an individual that incurs injury or illness through the course of their job can see financial coverage for their medical expenses and the time needed for recovery away from work. However, “through the course of employment” is not always easily defined.

For commercial vehicle drivers, there are risks beyond just motor vehicle accidents associated with this profession on the road. Many of these drivers suffer from neck and back injuries. An Illinois driver that hauls trucks for a living was preparing for an overnight delivery when it appears that he injured his back.

He pulled his back as he was lifting his suitcase into his vehicle in preparation for his overnight journey. The man filed a claim to collect workers’ compensation benefits for the medical expenses and time off from work for recovery, but his claim was denied.

Unfortunately for this injured employee, the ruling worked against him because he was still at home when this injury occurred, therefore the court did not view the injury as happening through the course of his employment. Instead of deeming this injury resulting from work-related risks, the court felt that this man’s injury arose out of person risk.

This ruling could be significant for other professional drivers of varying capacities in Champaign and elsewhere across Illinois. This case indicates that an injured employee in Illinois will be unable to collect workers’ compensation benefits if he or she suffers an injury occurred at home in preparation for a work trip. Collecting workers’ compensation benefits is not always as straight forward as it might appear. Accordingly, it is always in an individual’s best interest to seek the assistance of a skilled attorney in this pursuit.

Source: Risk and Insurance, “Hauler’s injury in preparation for work trip falls outside of his employment,” April 18, 2013

  • Our firm has experience handling similar cases. For more information, please refer to our page on being injured driving for work.

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