Springfield Urban League v. Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission, No. 4-12-0219WC (Ill. App. Ct. 04/23/13, unpublished).
Ruling: In an unpublished opinion, the Illinois Appellate Court held that a driver's accident, when she tripped on a mat while leaving a work meeting, arose out of her employment.
What it means:
In Illinois, when an employee trips and falls in an area that is the usual route to exit the employer's premises, and on the route is a special hazard, the hazard becomes part of the employment.
Summary: A bus driver claimed that she injured her left leg while attending a mandatory meeting at school for 200 employees. She said that at the end of the meeting she walked toward the door leading to the parking lot when she tripped on a bunched-up or kinked edge of a carpeted mat, resulting in a left knee injury and left distal fracture. The driver sought workers' compensation benefits. The employer did not dispute that the driver was in the course of her employment at the time of her injury but asserted that her injuries did not arise out of her employment. The Illinois Appellate Court held that she was entitled to benefits.
The court found that the driver proved that she was required to be in the place where the accident occurred and that she was injured in a place controlled by her employer or while performing tasks that were mandated by her job. The court rejected the employer's argument that the case involved the risks inherent in walking on a mat that confront all members of the public. The driver's accident occurred in an area used by the employer's employees to access its facility.
The court concluded that the bunched or kinked mat presented "a dangerous condition of the premises." The court explained that special hazards or risks encountered as a result of using a usual access route arise out of the employment.
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September 16, 2013
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