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Workers' Compensation and the Performance of Everyday Activities

Posted on in Workers' Compensation

Walking, Kneeling, Reaching and Other Ordinary Daily Activities Can Lead to a Work Injury


The Illinois Supreme Court recently issued a decision that adds protection to workers who are hurt at work while performing everyday activities such as walking, kneeling, reaching, and standing.

In McAllister v. Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission, the Court awarded benefits to a sous chef who injured his knee while standing from a kneeling position in his restaurant's cooler. He had knelt in the cooler to look for a tray of food. The chef did not claim that he hit his knee on something in the cooler or that he slipped on something on the cooler's floor. He simply stood up from a kneeling position. His employer had argued that standing from a kneeling position was an everyday activity that did not expose him to a greater risk of injury than the general public faces when they may kneel and stand at home. Therefore, the employer claimed that no accident had taken place.
The Illinois Supreme Court disagreed. The Court decided that while standing from a kneeling position is an activity of everyday living, the reason the chef was kneeling was related to a risk associated with his job. He had knelt for a pan of food, something the court found was part of his normal job duties and something that his employer reasonably would expect him to do. Therefore, if you are injured at work while performing what would be considered an activity of daily living, and that activity is part of your normal job duties, you likely have suffered a work- related accident.

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