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Injured coming to work: Can you collect workers' compensation?

Many workers in and around Illinois have a general understanding of what workers' compensation is and when it may be available. People know that if they get hurt or get sick on the job, they can typically pursue workers' compensation benefits to cover some of the costs of being unable to work and seeking medical care.

However, there are some specific situations that can be much more complicated to understand, and it can be difficult to determine whether workers' compensation is, in fact, available. For instance, in one of our recent articles, we explored when or if employees who suffer injuries coming to or leaving the workplace can collect workers' compensation. 

In that article, which can be read here, we looked at a specific case involving a car accident during a long commute and why the case ended with the denial of workers' compensation benefits. 

Unfortunately, commuting to or from work generally is not considered to be in the "scope of employment" so an accident or injury that happens during a commute often will not result in workers' compensation benefits. 

In Illinois, a worker must be able to prove that an injury or illness was suffered in the course of a person's employment. This means that if, for example, a person is required to travel a particular route in a particular vehicle as part of his or her job, that person may be eligible to collect workers' compensation benefits while someone simply driving into work on their own may not.

But there are many other factors that could affect a potential claim. Did an accident happen in an employer-owned parking lot? How soon before or after work was an injury suffered? Was the travel that led to the injury required by an employer or the result of an employee's preference?

Answering these and other important questions can have a significant impact on whether a person will be awarded workers' compensation.

It can be very difficult to support a claim for workers' compensation if you or a loved one has been injured going to or leaving from work. Trying to do so on your own can make things even more complicated. In order to avoid costly missteps, it may be wise to work with an attorney familiar with the limits and exceptions of Illinois workers' compensation laws to pursue a successful outcome.

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