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Workers’ Compensation Case Update – Spring 2012

By Christopher S. Crawford

Injuries Suffered While Walking on Public Staircase is Not Compensable Under the Act

In Gross v. Kankakee County Sheriff’s Dept., a sergeant in the Sheriff’s Department filed a claim after suffering a twisting injury to his right knee. At the time of the incident, he was ascending stairs into the courthouse. The stairs were used by the general public. There was no evidence that the stairs contained a defect.

The arbitrator denied Petitioner’s claim. The Commission confirmed. The Commission found petitioner was not subjected to a greater risk of injury on account of his employment. The general public walked in this area and used the stairs. The areas where Petitioner was walking were not peculiar to his line of work. The area where he was walking was accessible to the general public. As such, the incident was not compensable under the Act.

Failure to Provide Employer Notice Dooms Claimant’s Case

In Swing v. Compass Group, the Petitioner’s claim failed because she only provided her employer with notice of her injury and not the accident. Petitioner filed an Application for Adjustment of Claim with a listed accident date of April 12, 2006. She alleged multiple injuries while working. She failed to show evidence that she had notified her supervisors of an accident. Rather, she notified her employer of low back pain considering one of the managers testified that the claimant had asked for a stool to relieve back pain. The Commission acknowledged that the facts had apprised the Respondent of Petitioner’s condition. However, there was no evidence that the claimant had told her supervisors that her condition was related to employment. The notice requirements of 6(c) were not met as Petitioner must notify her employer of an accident not just an injury. The Commission further found that it was unnecessary to consider whether Petitioner was unduly prejudiced by finding lack of notice considering the Petitioner never gave notice of any kind of accident.

Originally published in the Spring 2012 edition of Quinn Quarterly.

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