Worker's injury while battling vending machine merits benefits
Case name: Circuit City Stores, Inc. v. Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission, No. 2-08-0722WC (Ill. App. Ct. 05/21/09).
The Illinois Appellate Court held that an employee who was injured when he pushed his body into a vending machine to obtain a product for a coworker sustained an injury arising out of and in the course of his employment.
What it means:
In Illinois, an employee's injury sustained while assisting a coworker who is seeking personal comfort may occur "in the course of" employment under the "good samaritan doctrine," where the employee's conduct was reasonably foreseeable.
The employee injured his hip when he lunged at a vending machine with his right shoulder and hip. The employee was helping a coworker whose purchase got stuck in the machine. The facts did not fit squarely within the personal comfort doctrine because the employee was not seeking refreshment for himself and he was not on a break. However, the Illinois Appellate Court found the injury was compensable under the good samaritan doctrine.
The court explained that when an employee leaves his work duties to render aid to a third party the "in the course of" determination hinges on whether the employee's departure was reasonably foreseeable. The vending machine was provided for the use and comfort of the employees and the products were known to get stuck in the machine. The employee's manner of rendering aid -- lunging at the vending machine to dislodge the product -- did not cross the line of foreseeability so as to take him outside the scope of his employment.
Read more at the WORKERSCOMP ForumTM homepage.
August 10, 2009
Copyright 2009© LRP Publications