Posted On: January 14, 2010 by Steven J. Malman

Appeals Court Says Worker Injured During Coffee Run is Eligible for Workers’ Compensation Benefits

According to an appeals court, a master plumber who broke his legs and an arm when he was involved in a car crash is eligible to receive full workers’ compensation benefits. Jesse Cooper Sr., employed by Barnickel Enterprises Inc., went for a coffee run while waiting to meet with a union instructor, who was busy teaching a class, about a work project. During the five-mile drive to get coffee, Cooper was involved in a traffic crash.

Barnickel did not want to pay Cooper workers’ compensation benefits and argued that the work injury did not occur during and as a result of work. Rather, the company claimed that Cooper was injured while attending to a personal errand, for which, per the state’s Supreme Court, disallows work injury benefits.

However, Workers’ Compensation Judge Bradley Henson says that the foreman was taking part in the kind of activity that someone in his job would likely engage in. Henson also noted that because Cooper was participating in a “mission” for his employer by going to meet with the union instructor, his work accident thereby falls under the workers’ compensation act’s “going-and-coming rule.”

The appeals court’s ruling upholds Henson’s conclusion that Cooper was entitled to go on a coffee break while waiting to meet with the union instructor. Judge Edwin Stern also noted that considering the amount of time Cooper had to wait to meet with the instructor and the fact that the area he was in was a rural one, the five-mile distance that he drove to the coffee shop was reasonable.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation
There are a variety of reasons a company and/or its insurance firm might give to an injured worker for why he/she is not entitled to receive Illinois workers’ compensation benefits. Do not take these claims at face value.

Employee Injured in Five-Mile Drive for Coffee Is Eligible for Workers' Comp, Law.com, January 14, 2010

Read the Opinion (PDF)


Related Web Resources:
Illinois Workers' Compensation Act (PDF)

Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

An experienced Chicago, Illinois workers’ compensation attorney can help you obtain all of the work injury benefits that you and your family are owed.

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