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Surviving the Cold: Work Injury Related to Weather Extremes.

Winter has struck with a vengeance. Freezing temperatures, snow, and ice have placed tremendous strains on our roads, buildings, vehicles, and homes. Vehicles struggle to start. Our furnaces struggle to keep up with the cold. Our snowblowers sputter under the weight of snow.

Our bodies are no different. Exposure to the cold stresses our bodies. It restricts blood flow. Restricted blood flow can increase the risk of strokes and heart attacks.

If your job requires you to work outside in these extreme conditions and you experience physical consequences as a result, you may have a compensable work injury. Illinois courts have long recognized that exposure to weather extremes can cause compensable work injuries. This is true even if you have a pre-existing heart, lung, or other underlying health conditions that are aggravated or accelerated by your exposure to extreme weather conditions. Remember, in Illinois, your job need only be a factor that leads to your injury. It does not have to be the sole or primary cause of your injury.


You expect to be safe when you go to a public venue. If you have been injured from a slip and fall at a bar, restaurant, shopping mall or hotel you can hold the proprietors accountable if they did not take proper steps to prevent the accident. To do so, you must act quickly and decisively after the accident.

Here are some of the steps you should take after a slip-and-fall accident:
1. Seek medical attention from the hospital or your doctor
If you are seriously injured, call an ambulance. It is important to be examined by a medical professional to ensure you receive proper treatment for your injuries.

2. Report your injury
Inform the manager on duty that you have been injured. You should also ensure that the accident is accurately documented and that you receive a copy of this report.


I Had a Slip and Fall 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 by workers' compensation, but the law is quite complicated.

Getting Hurt At Work Off The Clock. 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.


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 slip and fall 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.

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