In a case involving an employee’s tripping incident on a Chicago city bus, both the arbitrator and the Commission decided in favor of the employee. See Bus driver picks up benefits for tripping injury at work. Illinois Workers’ Compensation Law Bulletin, Volume 29, Issue 7, June 11, 2021, p. 2. The case discussed in the article, Vasquez v. Chicago Transit Authority, 29 ILWCLB 67 (Ill. W.C. Comm. 2021), involved a city bus driver who injured herself when she tripped as a result of her foot becoming caught on a garbage bag near the driver’s seat of the bus that she was operating, as she attempted to exit the bus to conduct a required safety inspection. The driver broke her fall, both by bracing herself on the passenger side of the bus, and by grabbing onto railing in the interior of the bus, thus catching herself before she ultimately landed on the ground. As a result of the foregoing incident, the driver suffered both a right rotator cuff tear and a strain of her right thigh. At hearing, the arbitrator found that the evidence fully supported the driver’s version of events – indeed, in addition to the driver’s medical records, there was also surveillance video footage obtained from inside the bus, which fully corroborated the driver’s story, in terms of how and why she fell. The arbitrator held that, because the driver’s area inside the bus (including the driver’s seat) was rather confining and difficult for her to move around in, which further increased the driver’s chances of tripping on something whenever she attempted to move or exit the bus, this meant that the driver faced a greater risk of tripping and falling related and/or incidental to her job as a city bus driver, especially also since her injuries obviously arose out of and/or as a result of her employment (furthermore, there was no evidence or proof that the driver had suffered any shoulder injuries prior to the accident). Thus, the arbitrator awarded the driver worker’s compensation benefits, including payment for future medical care recommended by the driver’s treating physician, specifically shoulder surgery (which was all the more just and fair, as the driver’s shoulder injuries were clearly and directly related to and/or caused by her work incident). On review, the Commission affirmed and adopted the arbitrator’s decision in full, which must have been very satisfying for the driver, as the facts were so clearly in her favor and supportive of her claim, which enabled her to obtain the compensation that she deserved for her work injuries.
Bus driver picks up benefits for tripping injury at work. Illinois Workers’ Compensation Law Bulletin, Volume 29, Issue 7, June 11, 2021, p. 2.