In Illinois, any injury that arises out of the performance of your work-related duties is considered to be a work injury. That may seem straightforward on the surface, but there are many instances where an injury can be covered by workers’ compensation that you might not typically expect. In this article, we’ll go over exactly what qualifies as a work-related injury in Illinois.
Work Injury Criteria
To qualify as work-related, an injury must result from your work duties in some way. That could mean an injury directly caused by a workplace accident, but it could also include repetitive strain injuries from typing or lifting, exacerbation of prior injuries/existing conditions, or any other injury that wouldn’t otherwise occur were it not for your job.
A good rule of thumb is if you’re engaged in a task that would in some way benefit your employer, any injuries you sustain as a result would qualify for workers’ compensation.
Injuries Disqualified from Workers’ Compensation
While it’s typically the case that an injury arising from the course of your employment would qualify as a work injury, there are some exceptions to the rule. These include:
- The “going-and-coming” rule, which prevents workers’ compensation for injuries sustained during a regular commute to or from work.
- Self-inflicted injuries.
- Injuries resulting from starting a fight at work.
- Accidents arising from violations of company policy.
- Injuries sustained while committing a serious crime.
- Injuries that occur while on the premises as a member of the general public.
- Accidents that occur while performing solely personal tasks outside of working hours.
If your injury meets any of these criteria, you’re not likely to be able to collect workers’ compensation benefits. However, in the first example involving injury during a commute, personal injury damages may still be a possibility depending on the circumstances of the accident.
Common Work Injuries
To better understand what qualifies as a work injury, it helps to look at some common examples. The most common work injuries include:
- Slips and falls
- Lifting injuries
- Repetitive strain injuries, including back pain and carpal tunnel
- Vehicle accidents (excepting commutes, of course)
- Harmful contact with equipment or objects
Each of these injuries can occur while performing job-related duties, and they would all warrant workers’ compensation as long as no disqualifying factors apply.
Proving an Injury Occurred at Work
Even if your injury technically qualifies for workers’ compensation, it may not always be clear to those who pay for work injuries. Your employer and their insurance provider may try to demonstrate that your injury doesn’t qualify for compensation, even when it actually does.
Proving that an injury is work-related can sometimes be difficult, which is why it’s so important to document everything surrounding your injury. Visiting a physician is also vital, and it’s best to do so promptly in order to make your claim as credible as possible. Your doctor’s assessment of your injury can help your case a great deal.
Finally, a workers’ compensation attorney can help you in the event that your workers’ compensation claim is disputed. In order to prove that your injury was related to your job duties and to secure the benefits you need to carry on forward, contact Hart David Carson LLP today.