Municipal worker was ‘traveling employee’ during fall down stairs: Court

An Illinois appeals court ruled Friday that a municipal worker was entitled to workers compensation benefits after a work-related fall, finding the award proper because the man was a “traveling employee” at the time of the July 2018 incident.

The Appellate Court of Illinois dismissed an appeal by the Town of Cicero, which fought a claim by blight inspector Michael Iniquez, who said he was injured after falling down the stairs at town hall.

The municipality denied his workers comp benefits, a decision upheld by an arbitrator. The state Workers’ Compensation Commission later reversed that decision, finding the accident compensable.

The commission said that Mr. Iniquez was a traveling employee at the time of the incident, a status he wouldn’t lose “merely because his accident occurred on stairs located in Cicero’s facility,” the appellate ruling states.

A traveling employee is defined as a worker who is required to travel away from an employer’s premises to perform job duties.

On appeal, the town argued the injuries didn’t arise out of employment because Mr. Iniquez was “not exposed to a risk to a greater degree than the general public.”

The appeals court said the commission properly found that Mr. Iniquez’s descending the stairs at town hall on the way to his work vehicle was a job-related activity.

The court upheld the commission’s decision awarding benefits.

This article was first published in Business Insurance.

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