Frosty winter weather brings an increased danger of slipping and falling on icy sidewalks. Many of these falls cause nothing more than momentary embarrassment, but unexpected contact with the pavement can also lead to head injuries, broken bones and other life-changing traumas. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 5 percent of work-related fatalities in America are caused by falls. This quick guide from a worker compensation lawyer can help employees learn more about these common injuries and their eligibility for compensation in the state of Illinois.
Why are icy sidewalks so hazardous for employees?
Slip-and-fall incidents are common among Illinois employees during the cold season. Many hazards contribute to their frequency, but the following are some of the most typical:
- Improper maintenance of sidewalks and outdoor staircases
- Employees wearing dress shoes or high heels that are unsuitable for icy surfaces
- Coming and going in the dark because of shorter daylight hours
- Rushing because of hectic work schedules around holidays
- Increased alcohol use during the festive season
Any of these risk factors can lead to falls and employee injuries.
What does Illinois workers’ compensation law say about slip-and-fall injuries?
Speaking with a worker compensation lawyer will reveal that many slip-and-fall injuries are eligible for benefits in Illinois. According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, an injury is work-related if it is directly caused by events or conditions in the workplace. This rule, as interpreted by Illinois workers’ compensation law, includes accidents that happen on the employer’s premises while the employee is arriving, performing work duties or leaving. Even if the worker has not yet clocked in or has already clocked out, the injury is considered work-related if it happens on site.
When is a slip-and-fall injury not covered by workers’ compensation?
If an Illinois employee slips and falls while off work premises and not working, even on a paid break, the injury is generally not covered. A worker compensation lawyer can help explain the handful of exceptions to this law, which include injuries suffered by pilots, flight attendants and employees without a fixed site of employment. Workers may not claim compensation for injuries that occur while they are present at their place of employment as a customer or visitor.
One wrong step on the ice can lead to weeks or months of disability. Speak with a Chicago worker compensation lawyer today to learn more about your rights and options.