We are Illinois attorneys with over 25 years of experience helping people with work injury cases. Call us at 312-346-5320 any time to speak with a lawyer for free. We help with work injuries everywhere in Illinois.
One thing that most people don’t know is that just because you are injured while at work doesn’t always mean you have a good workers’ compensation claim. You have to prove that something about the job increased your risk of injury.
For example, if you slip on a wet floor at work, the job increased your risk of injury. On the other hand, if you don’t tie your shoes and trip over your own two feet, it’s likely not a case because the job didn’t contribute to your accident.
Sometimes it’s clear that an injury is work related, other times a real analysis is needed. One area in which this is especially true is when an injured worker falls in a parking lot.
Typically if a worker is in a parking lot, they either haven’t started their work day, just finished their work day or are coming back from a break. But you don’t have to be clocked in to have a valid work comp case. What you do need is to show that the job increased your risk of getting hurt.
The number one thing that Illinois workers compensation attorneys look for when a worker falls in a parking lot is who owns the parking lot. If your employer owns and maintains the lot, it’s highly likely that a fall in that lot will be covered by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. In other words, a slip and fall on an icy lot owned by your employer is similar to falling in the office on a wet floor.
The other thing we look for if your employer doesn’t own the lot is did you have to park in a certain spot and/or was that area open to the general public or not.
If your employer directs you to park in a certain location (such as the back of a store) then they are exercising control over you and increasing your risk of injury as compared to the general public. In a similar manor, if a parking area is only for employees, it also could increase your risk of injuries. The key factor is the control that they have over you.
On the other hand, if you work at a place like a shopping mall and can park anywhere, a fall in that lot wouldn’t likely be covered unless your employer owned the lot. It’s the same thing in places like the City of Chicago where you can have a parking lot across from your building, but not be required to drive.
There are a couple of big exceptions. 1. If you are carrying something for work and that leads to your accident, you’d likely have a case. For example, if you are carrying a box of supplies and slip on wet pavement, if the box prevents you from breaking your fall that would show that your job increased your risk of injury. 2. If you are a traveling employee, most falls would be covered because the act of having to drive for work increases the chance that you will get injured. Your driving is a benefit to the company so you get the benefit of work comp coverage.
This can be confusing which is why we are happy to talk to you for free to see if you have a case. Whatever you do, don’t take the word of your employer or the insurance company if they say you don’t have a case. They often lie or don’t know what they are talking about and certainly aren’t looking out for you.