Truck driver delivers compensable claim for injuries due to syncopal episode
Sledd v. Sharkey Transportation, 21 ILWCLB 114 (Ill. W.C. Comm. 2013).
Ruling: The Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission reversed the decision of the arbitrator and awarded benefits to a driver, finding that his injury arose out of and in the course of his employment.
What it means: In Illinois, compensation is awarded for idiopathic incidents when the worker's employment places him at a significantly greater risk of injury.
Summary: An over-the-road truck driver was driving his truck when he suddenly became ill. He attempted to pull off the roadway and quickly lost consciousness. He was involved in an accident and sustained injuries to his neck, back, and left leg. The arbitrator denied benefits.
In reversing, the commission noted that the driver was a traveling employee, and there was no dispute that the accident occurred during the course of his employment. The test for determining whether an injury to a traveling employee arose out of his employment is whether his conduct at the time of his accident was reasonable and might normally be anticipated or foreseen by the employer.
An idiopathic incident can be compensable where the worker's employment placed him at a significantly greater risk of injury. In this case, the commission found the driver's employment placed him at a significantly greater risk of injury during his idiopathic incident and resulted in him losing control of his truck.
Evidence indicated that the claimant had no prior syncopal episodes or similar incidents of sudden dizziness and nausea in his medical history. Also, the commission noted that the claimant acted reasonably in preparing to pull off the roadway at the approaching rest stop as he felt suddenly ill. The commission awarded benefits.
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October 21, 2013
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