A recent Illinois Workers’ Compensation decision involving a State of Illinois worker, an icy/slippery parking lot and an authorized break awarded benefits to the injured worker. The facts are interesting and illustrative of the law in an area of confusion. The injured worker was a nurse working for the State of Illinois. She was wearing a walking boot as a consequence of a different injury. The nurse wanted to go outside to her car (which was in the employee parking lot) while on break. A co-worker warned the nurse that the weather conditions were very bad and there was ice and snow on the employee parking lot. Despite this warning, the nurse went out to her car and on the way back into work, she slipped and fell and injured her right arm. While the arbitrator denied benefits, the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission reversed and awarded the nurse benefits. The Commission reasoned the nurse proved her injury arose out of and in the course of employment.
The Commission stated that the nurse was on an authorized smoking break and although warned of the conditions of the parking lot, the injured nurse did not assume an unreasonable or unnecessary risk by going out to her car.
What does this decision mean for Illinois workers? If you are injured in the employee parking lot, a reasonable time before or after work or while on break, that accident may be compensable under Illinois law, entitling you to Workers’ Compensation weekly benefits, medical benefits and a settlement for permanent disability. This decision follows a long line of cases standing for this proposition.