Rep lands benefits for trip-and-fall accident while heading to lunch
Case name: Thompson v. Bank of Pontiac, 20 ILWCLB 58 (Ill. W.C. Comm. 2012).
Ruling: The Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission held that a bank employee was entitled to benefits for the injury she sustained in a trip-and-fall accident while leaving work to attend lunch with a salesperson.
What it means: In Illinois, where it is reasonable to infer that the claimant's presence at a lunch event was required by her supervisors, and her presence would be a tangible benefit to the employer, her injuries sustained while leaving work and going to the restaurant for the lunch arises in the course of her employment.
Summary: An accounts representative and online banking coordinator for a bank attended a meeting with bank employees and a salesperson who represented the online banking product. The representative was in charge of the product. After the meeting, and at the request of her superiors, she took the salesperson to lunch. As she exited the bank, she tripped on an uneven public sidewalk and fell, injuring her shoulder. In awarding benefits, the arbitrator found that although the sidewalk was public, the representative's employment occasioned her to cross the sidewalk as it was the most direct route to the restaurant. She did not regularly cross the sidewalk. Therefore, the representative's actions presented an increased risk of injury.
The arbitrator found that the accident occurred in the course of employment, explaining that the bank was going to pay for the lunch, business was to be discussed, and she was invited by her superiors.
The commission affirmed, noting that the representative was running the project which was the subject of the meeting, so it was reasonable to infer that her presence was required at lunch. The representative's presence was a tangible benefit to the bank.
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July 2, 2012
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