You probably bend, kneel, reach and turn a few hundred times a day — both on and off the job — so why should workers’ compensation pay you for an injury that occurs when you’re doing such an ordinary thing?
If that’s how things worked, you can bet employers and their insurers would deny many more workers’ comp claims than they do now — and they have tried.
The Illinois Supreme Court gives clarity — and hope for injured workers
That was basically the position of the employer and insurer for one Illinois native who injured his knee while working as a sous-chef in a restaurant. While kneeling down to pick up some vegetables, the employee’s knee popped and locked up. After a convoluted claims process that went through several reversals of fortune, he was ultimately denied benefits because they said that the risk of injury he faced while standing up from a kneeling position wasn’t distinctly work-related — even though it happened at work.
Ultimately, the Illinois Supreme Court got involved and clarified that even ordinary injuries from ordinary movements are still covered under workers’ compensation whenever:
- The injury occurred during the course of the workers’ employment
- The injury originated from a risk that is either connected to the worker’s employment or is incidental to that employment.
For example, a sous-chef may need to bend down to pick up a tray of vegetables from the bottom shelf of the kitchen cooler — and that could cause his knee to pop out.
When a workers’ compensation claim doesn’t get approved
Cases like this show you just how finely insurers and employers will try to draw distinctions in claims that will allow them to avoid payment. If you’ve been injured on the job, don’t take less than you are due. Talk to an experienced legal advocate today about your claim.