Illinois Appellate Court Upholds Denial of Benefit Payments for Injured Nurse Based on Failure to Show a Connection to Employment Duties

If you were injured at work, the chances are you filed a workers’ compensation claim to receive benefit payments to supplement your lost wages and to offset your medical expenses. The Illinois workers’ compensation system is complex, and it can be difficult to understand whether you are receiving the appropriate amount of compensation. As Chicago workers’ compensation lawyers, we have helped many injured workers navigate the claims process, especially when it comes to establishing that the injury was directly related to their employment duties.

In a recent appellate opinion, the plaintiff filed an application to adjust her claim according to Illinois’ Workers’ Compensation Act. The woman was working at a medical facility at the time she reported suffering a right shoulder injury. She had been working for the same employer for 10 years as a part-time employee in the medical-surgical unit. According to her testimony, she was walking down a set of stairs in the basement when she missed a step and landed on her rear. She stated that she bumped her right shoulder at the time she fell and that she experienced “a little twinge” in her arm, as well as generalized aching in the shoulder area. She attempted to continue working, but after moving an obese patient, she said she suffered a serious bout of pain that rendered her unable to continue performing her work duties.

She was initially awarded benefits and medical expenses compensation, but the Workers’ Compensation Commission later reversed this award of benefits, finding that the woman failed to show that the injury was a direct result of her employment duties or that her injury occurred during the course and scope of employment. More specifically, it concluded that the woman was not a credible witness when it came to testifying about the origin, nature, and extent of her injury, particularly in light of testimony indicating that she had suffered an injury off-duty at home prior to the claimed work injury. It also found that two doctors’ opinions regarding the injury concluded that the way that the injury happened made it unlikely that the fall in the basement was the direct cause of her injury.

On review, the appellate court agreed with the Commission’s decision that the woman had failed to show that there was a link between her injury and her job duties. The appellate court pointed to several items of evidence in the record, including medical witness testimony regarding the nature and origin of the injury, to conclude that the Commission had a proper basis for reaching its decision to overturn the award of benefits.

If you suffered an injury at a health care job and believe that you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, it is critical that you speak to a seasoned Chicago work injury lawyer as soon as possible. We can assist you with all of the aspects of your claim, including gathering evidence and ensuring that you build a strong claim. We offer a free consultation to help you learn about your legal rights and options, so call us at 773-545-8849 or contact us online.

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