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A Man Injured Whilst Sitting on the Job Still Receives Benefits

by | Jun 15, 2021 | Firm News |

As stated in the blog article that I wrote last month, I have reviewed cases that involve unique sets of facts, such as where a claimant was able to obtain benefits after shooting himself at work.[1] In last month’s article, I also wrote about a case in which a claimant was unsuccessful in obtaining benefits, due to the claimant having been injured after picking a fight at work.[2] The following case that I will discuss in my blog article for the current week is somewhat unusual as well, but also illuminating in what it can teach us regarding workers’ compensation issues. See Plumber wins benefits for shoulder injury while sitting in chair. Illinois Workers’ Compensation Law Bulletin, Volume 29, Issue 6, May 7, 2021, p.2. The case discussed in the article, Peterson v. Toltech Plumbing, 29 ILWCLB 56 (Ill. W.C. Comm. 2021), involved a plumber that was injured while installing water meters in Chicago.[3] After having installed a meter in a basement, the plumber moved his bucket of tools next to a chair and sat down. As he leaned forward to place tools in the bucket, the chair moved backwards, forcing the plumber to move forward even more to balance himself.[4] While grabbing the chair’s arm rest, the plumber suffered a tear in his shoulder. The plumber would sometimes sit in a chair while he installed meters, as it was less hard on his body to do so, in addition to doing so while he put his tools in the bucket.[5] Based on the above facts, the arbitrator awarded benefits. On appeal, the Commission affirmed, applying recently decided case law to further support its decision.[6] Indeed, the Commission noted that, as held in McAllister v. IWCC, it was necessary to determine whether the plumber’s injuries stemmed from a risk incidental to his employment. In construing the McAllister case, the Commission applied Caterpillar Tractor v. Industrial Commission (which was also cited in McAllister), and which lays out the test for deciding whether an employee’s injury arose out of his/her employment, in instances where the injury involved common body movements and activities that were part of the worker’s job.[7] Under Caterpillar, injuries sustained though common, everyday activities arise out of a claimant’s employment if the aforesaid activities causing the worker’s injuries are connected to the performance of the claimant’s job, thus producing a causal link between the employment and the injury. Therefore, the Commission held that the plumber’s sitting in a chair to install water meters and secure his tools in a bucket, was an employment-related activity, and that his injury was incurred due to a risk of him using the chair, as part of his employment. It was also held that the plumber was a travelling employee, since he had to leave his employer’s office and travel from place to place, installing met

[1]The earlier blog was titled:Unusual Case in Which a Claimant Received Benefits After Shooting Himself at Work,” and was a review of the following: Gun store employee wins benefits after accidentally shooting himself. Illinois Workers’ Compensation Law Bulletin (also cited as ILWCLB), Volume 28, Issue 1, February 28, 2020, p. 2, which was based on the case Hasan v. Eagle Sports Range, 28 ILWCLB 1 (Ill. W.C. Comm. 2019).

[1]See Restaurant worker’s provoking behavior before altercation blocks WCA coverage. Illinois Workers’ Compensation Law Bulletin, Volume 29, Issue 6, May 7, 2021, p.5.

[1]See Plumber wins benefits for shoulder injury while sitting in chair. Illinois Workers’ Compensation Law Bulletin, Volume 29, Issue 6, May 7, 2021, p.2.

[1]See Id.

[1]See Id.

[1]See Id.

[1]See Id.

[1]See Id.

 

Attorney Matthew Ludwinski