With Illinois winter weather in full swing, slip-and-fall injuries due to ice and snow are happening all across Chicagoland on a daily basis. Given that parking lots are some of the most heavily trafficked areas as people enter and exit a premises, it should come as no surprise that these lots are some of the most common locations for slip-and-fall injuries. What happens when an employee slips in the employer’s parking lot on the way into work? What if you have not clocked-in yet? Would it still be covered under workers’ compensation? Keep reading to learn more from our top-rated work comp attorneys in Chicago to learn what the law says about a slip-and-fall injury on ice or snow in the company parking lot.
Parking lot cases are unique, because they usually represent a very heavily disputed area of the law for insurance companies. Even though slipping on an accumulation of ice or snow has been recognized as a hazard which generally should trigger workers’ compensation benefits, it is not always clear whether a parking lot will qualify as a part of your employer’s premises. Generally, when an employee slips and falls while walking to work at a point off the employer’s premises, the resulting injuries do not arise out of and in the course of his or her employment and are not compensable under the Workers’ Compensation Act. However, the law has carved out what is known as the “parking lot exception” to this general rule. This rule can be applicable in circumstances where the employee’s injury is caused by some hazardous condition in the parking lot.
In order for this parking lost exception to apply, the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission will consider the factors of whether the lot was owned by the employer; whether the employer exerted control over the lot; and whether the parking lot was a route which is required by the employer. The employer’s control or dominion over the parking lot is a significant factor in the analysis. So, if the parking lot which caused your injury was owned by the employer, that would support the conclusion that the parking lot exception applies, and thus, your injury has a good chance to qualify for benefits. Even if the parking lot is not owned by your employer, if they exert control over the lot by assuming responsibility for the shoveling, salting, or other upkeep, then that should also support the conclusion that the parking lot exception applies, and thus, your injury should qualify for benefits.
If you have an assigned parking space, even if it is not in a parking lot owned by your employer, that will support a case that the parking lot exception should apply. If your employer provides no direction whatsoever regarding where to park, that will not support your case. For example, if your employer has a lot in the front of the building, and both employees and customers are allowed to park in this lot without any further direction or comment from your boss, then that would not support a case for workers’ compensation absent further evidence that the employer owns or controls this parking lot. It is important to speak to a top work comp lawyer in Chicago at the time of your injury to try to understand the law and make sure you have all the facts on your side prior to speaking to an insurance representative or claim adjuster and giving any recorded statement which may ultimately harm your claim.
A lot of people assume that a slip and fall on ice while walking in a parking lot will always qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. That is definitely not the case. Our experience handling these cases at trial and on appeal helps us guide our clients in navigating this hotly contested area of the law.
Eames Law Group, Ltd. never stops fighting for our clients, and we will aggressively push cases to trial in order to obtain justice when insurance companies attempt to trample on the rights of our clients. If an insurance company has denied your work comp claim or refused to pay work comp benefits, you owe it to yourself to contact one of the best work comp attorneys in Chicago, to discuss your rights. Our firm has been elected to state leadership positions in the area of work comp law, and frequently lectures to other attorneys regarding law, and trial strategies in Illinois work comp cases. If you have been injured, you should immediately contact Brent Eames for a free consultation to discuss your options.
The content of this blog is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute or establish an attorney-client relationship, nor constitute legal advice. If you wish to discuss any further aspect of the material contained herein, please contact an attorney at Eames Law Group, Ltd.