Wintertime presents many challenges for employees throughout the state. Ice and snow make driving more tedious at the very least. At the very worst, roads can become dangerous, making the odds of an injury far more likely. Even when exercising caution while driving, walking, or performing work-related duties, an injury can still occur.
If you slip and fall in the course of fulfilling employment obligations, you may be able to recover worker’s compensation benefits for any injuries you suffer. Here, we’ll go over the rules to take into account when filing a work injury claim for a slip and fall accident.
Illinois Laws for Ice
First off, it’s important to note the rules Illinois has in place governing ice and snow. Property owners are not held liable for natural accumulations of snow and therefore cannot usually be sued for slip-and-fall accidents arising out of winter weather. The exception is where ice and snow accumulation are unnatural, such as from leaks, spills, or snow removal efforts.
In a case where one slip and falls on the job, this means there are likely no third-party claims that can be filed. This would apply if, for instance, you slipped in the lobby of a client’s office and injured your lower back. They are not held liable for the wet floor if it resulted from natural snowfall and therefore cannot be sued, so your only path is to file a workers’ compensation claim.
Workers’ Compensation Rules
In order to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, one must simply have been injured in the course of performing job-related duties. This can range from operating machinery in the workplace to traveling to appointments. The matter of fault or liability is not taken into account. Your employer may not be at fault for the injury, but since it occurred while you were on the job, you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.
This means that even though no one is liable for natural accumulations of ice and snow, you can still recover compensation for slipping on the ice this winter if the injury is work-related. You might slip on a wet floor from people tracking snow into the workplace or fall outside while getting into a corporate vehicle. Since these can be traced back to fulfilling work-related obligations, they would likely be considered eligible for compensation.
On the other hand, if you slipped and fell while getting ready to commute to work or while on break, you likely cannot receive compensation since those are typically not considered to be work-related.
Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim
When filing a claim for a slip and fall accident at work, you will want to make sure you file promptly, have a written note from a doctor, and enlist the aid of an experienced attorney. Each claim is unique, and it will be important to take the specific elements of your injury into account when determining your eligibility for benefits.
Often, an employer will try to minimize your claim or deny you benefits altogether. If this is the case, you need legal assistance. Hart David Carson, LLP, can guide you on the best course of action when filing a worker’s compensation claim.