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Slip and Fall in Company’s Parking Lot – Is My Injury Covered by Workers’ Compensation?

Jon Walker

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I Slipped on Ice in My Company’s Parking Lot. Is My Injury Covered by Workers’ Compensation?

Slip and Fall in Company’s Parking Lot:

Injuries which occur in an employer’s parking lot can be covered byworkers’ compensation, but the law is quite complicated. As a general rule in Illinois, injuries sustained before an employee “clocks in” or after an employee “clocks out” are not covered, but there are exceptions. One of these exceptions is known as the “parking lot exception,” where Illinois courts have allowed recovery under the Workers’ Compensation Act where the employee suffers an injury in a parking lot provided for by the employer. These injuries often occur when an employee is entering or leaving work. The rationale for awarding workers’ compensation benefits when an employee is injured because of the conditions of an employer-provided parking lot is that once the employer provides parking for its employees, the parking lot is considered part of the employer’s premises.

Misconceptions:

There is a misconception that the employer must own the parking lot- this is not the law. The Supreme Court of Illinois ruled in 1962 that whether or not the employer owns the parking lot is immaterial. There is also a misconception that the employer must maintain and control the parking lot with such affirmative acts such as snow removal or salting. This is also not the law. The Supreme Court of Illinois also ruled that if an employer provides parking which is customarily used by its employees, the employer is responsible for the maintenance and control of the parking lot.

However, not all injuries which occur in an employer’s parking lot are covered by workers’ compensation.

In 2001, the Appellate Court of Illinois ruled that a Wal-Mart employee who slipped on ice in the Wal-Mart parking lot was not covered by workers’ compensation because the entire parking lot was available to employees and customers and that the injured employee was not at a greater risk than the general public. But three years later the Appellate Court ruled in favor of a waitress who required to park in a specific part of the employer’s parking lot when she slipped on ice on her way into work. The Appellate Court concluded that she was at a greater risk than the general public because she was required to park in a specific part of the parking lot.

Recently, the Appellate Court of Illinois denied workers’ compensation benefits to an employee who was walking to her car for lunch when she slipped on wet pavement and suffered injuries to her right shoulder and right hip. Troublingly, the Court concluded that she was not at a greater risk than the general public because she slipped as a result of rain making the walkway slippery. The Appellate Court acknowledged the long history of cases involving employees slipping on snow or ice in parking lots covered by workers’ compensation. However, the Court concluded that snow and ice are “hazardous conditions,” but wet pavement is not.

Because the law is somewhat unclear for injuries suffered in employer provided parking lots, we tell our clients that the outcome of their case will likely be case specific. If an employee is carrying materials for work or is rushing at the insistence of their employer could also impact the result of the case.

If you slip on ice or snow in a parking lot provided by your employer, and your employer instructs you to park in that parking lot, it is very likely that your injuries are covered by workers’ compensation. If you have any questions regarding injuries sustained in a slip and fall in company’s parking lot or any questions about workers’ compensation, please feel free to contact Woodruff Johnson & Evans Law Offices for more information.

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