What Do You Think: Did Blight Inspector’s Fall on Way to Car Arise out of His Employment?

15 Apr, 2024 Chris Parker

                               

Cicero, IL (WorkersCompensation.com) – An injury is compensable if it arises out of and in the course of employment. To “arise out of” employment, an activity which causes an injury must be connected with or incidental to the job.

A case involving a blight inspector for the town of Cicero, Ill., addresses whether an injury occurring while an employee descends a staircase to get to his employer-provided vehicle arises out of his employment.

The inspector was required to report to work at 7:30 a.m., go to his office to get his work phone and download his assignments, and then go down to get his town vehicle. To do that, he had to walk down a staircase. Then he would drive around town inspecting properties for blight.

One day, after getting his phone and assignments, he fell down the stairs and injured himself. The Workers’ Compensation Commission found that the injury arose out of and in the course of her employment. The town appealed, arguing that the inspector’s injury did not arise out of his employment.

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Generally, an injury arises out of employment when the injury had its origin in some risk connected with, or incidental to, the employment so as to create a causal connection between the employment and the accidental injury, the court stated.

An injury to a traveling employee arises out of his employment if he was injured while engaging in conduct that was reasonable and foreseeable by his employer. 

If you selected B, you agreed with the court in Town of Cicero v. Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission,  No. 1-23-0609WC (Ill. Ct. App. 04/05/24), which held that the inspector’s injury arose out of his employment.

First, the court rejected the town’s arguments that the inspector was not a traveling employee. Traveling was an essential component of his job, which required the claimant to drive around inspecting properties.

Next, the court found that the inspector was engaged in a work activity when he fell. The inspector's conduct in descending the stairs after retrieving his phone and downloading his assignments and while he was on his way to his assigned vehicle to conduct inspections was reasonable, foreseeable, and incidental to his job as a blight inspector, the court wrote.

The court affirmed the Commission’s decision that the inspector’s injuries arose out of his employment.


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