We are Chicago attorneys who help with work injuries all throughout Illinois. If you have questions or want an attorney referral, call us for free at 800-517-1614.
There is a big misconception that if you are at work and get hurt, it’s a workers’ compensation case. Under Illinois law it usually is a case, but you have to show that something about your job contributed to you getting hurt. If you can do that you win your case, if you can’t you lose.
This is shown when a worker falls down the stairs on the job. At first you’d think that sounds like a slam dunk case. The reality is that you have to prove why you fell if you want to win. The problem is that for most people they are walking and the next thing they know they are injured. While you are lying in pain you aren’t thinking about if there was water on the stairs or some other defect.
Defect is the key word to think about. If the stairs are wet or slippery and you fall, it’s a case. If your shoe gets caught in torn carpet you win. Or as a recent case at the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission shows, if there is some sort of dip in a stair from it being worn out, if you fall you’d have a good claim.
In that case, the worker was employed by the Illinois State Senate as a legislative assistant. She was leaving the state capitol building and went down a marble staircase. It’s an older building and she testified that the stairs were worn and rounded at the edge. She hit a worn area and lost her balance, causing an injury to her right side.
Nobody countered her testimony that the stairs had a defect and she was a credible witness so she won her case. That’s what it takes. It’s unfortunate that her case was originally denied and she had to even go through a trial.
The other way to win a fall on a staircase at work is to show that something you were doing for the job contributed to you falling. Maybe you were carrying a big box of materials which prevented you from seeing well or catching your fall when you stumbled. Maybe you are running to get to a meeting or deliver something. Maybe both hands are occupied with work files. Whatever it may be, if something about your job duties increases your risk of injury and you get hurt it should be a case.
The reality is that despite the law being crystal clear on falls on stairs, insurance companies really fight these cases. We highly recommend that you do NOT give a recorded statement after the accident. You don’t have to and if you do they will likely try to get you to say something that hurts your case.
If you have any questions about stair falls or anything else related to Illinois work comp law, please contact us at any time.