A Traveling Employee Gets Workers’ Compensation Coverage From the Time She Leaves Her Home

In Mlynarczyk v. Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission the petitioner was getting into her car after a break, when she slipped and fell. The arbitrator ruled that she was a traveling employee, and therefore entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Then Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission reversed that finding and held that she was not entitled to compensation. The trial court confirmed the decision of the Workers’ Compensation Commission. The Appellate Court the reversed the Workers’ Compensation Commission.

In this case the claimant and her husband, Edward, were hired by employer to clean houses, churches, and offices. They were paid by the job. They drove the workplace’s employees to and from job sites. Edward drove. He used a minivan provided by the employer.

On the date of the accident, the claimant had driven to clean a church. After cleaning it she cleaned 2 homes. Claimant took a 90 minute lunch break, which was significantly longer than was allowed. She did not make money while she was eating. Later that day, after the break, Edward and the claimant were going back to the minivan. Edward had warmed it up. The claimant left her house to return to work. She testified that the ground was covered with snow. As she walked around the rear-end of the minivan, she slipped and fell. She testified this happened on a public sidewalk leading from the house to the driveway.

The court discussed traveling employees. Normally people who are on there way to and from work are not covered under workers’ compensation. However, if they are traveling employees, they are entitled to compensation from the time they leave their home. This is because traveling employees are compelled to expose themselves to hazards of the streets and of automobiles more than the general public.

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