Posted On: August 15, 2009 by Steven J. Malman

Illinois Workers’ Compensation Benefits Should Be Given to Worker Who Was Injured When Ramming into Vending Machine to Dislodge Snack, Says Appellate Court

The Illinois Appellate Court says that a Circuit City employee who got hurt when helping a co-worker get a stuck bag of chips from a vending machine should receive workers’ compensation benefits. The decision reverses a Circuit Court judge’s ruling that Clinton Dwyer shouldn’t receive work injury benefits.

Dwyer sustained a fracture when, after failing to dislodge the bag of chips by shaking the machine, he pushed into it using his hip and shoulder. He fell.

X-rays show that Dwyer sustained a fractured hip. He went to a Chicago hospital to undergo surgery. Dwyer filed for Illinois workers’ compensation benefits but Circuit City denied his claim.

Citing the “personal comfort doctrine,” the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission awarded the work injury compensation to Dwyer. Under the doctrine, certain personal activities designed for a worker’s comfort, such as eating, are covered under Illinois workers’ compensation law.

Circuit City appealed and the McHenry County Circuit Court sided with the company.

The appeals court, however, reversed the circuit court’s ruling. Rather than citing the personal comfort doctrine, the court noted the Good Samaritan Doctrine, which lets a worker step away from his work responsibilities to help another worker. The court also noted that others had experienced problems with the vending machine and said that Dwyer wasn’t in violation of any company policy when he shook the machine.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation Benefits
You generally cannot sue your employer for Chicago personal injury, which is why you are supposed to receive Illinois workers’ compensation benefits if you get hurt on the job. However, there are cases when an Illinois company might decide to deny a worker his or her injury benefits. The best way to make sure that you receive the work injury benefits that you are owed is to have an experienced Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer representing you.


Worker attacked by snack machine sues for comp, Safety News Alert, June 12, 2009

Circuit City Stores Inc. v. Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission (PDF)


Related Web Resources:
Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

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