In a recent opinion from the Fourth District of the Appellate Court of Illinois, an injured employee filed an appeal from an order issued by a trial court, setting aside a decision from the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission that awarded her benefits. According to the trial court, the Commission erred in concluding that the claimant demonstrated a causal connection between her alleged injury and her job duties. In other words, the lower court determined that the plaintiff’s injuries did not occur as a result of her employment and that she was therefore not entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
The plaintiff worked as a truck driver beginning in 2005 for a period of roughly six months. Due to medical conditions, the plaintiff ceased working after that period and underwent back surgeries in 2009 and 2011. The claimant also reported experiencing fibromyalgia and received Social Security benefit payments for this condition beginning in 2010. The plaintiff reported experiencing back pain and foot numbness and was considering a third surgery, according to her treating physician’s care plan, in 2013, when she decided to go back to work instead. She resumed work as a truck driver in 2013. As part of her reinstatement as a truck driver, the plaintiff was required to undergo a physical examination, which she passed. The employer allowed certain accommodations for the plaintiff, who could only drive during certain parts of the day due to her fibromyalgia medication.
During a delivery that occurred in December 2013, the plaintiff slipped and fell on a concrete pad that was likely covered in ice, landing on the right side of her back. The plaintiff reported to the emergency room, where she was examined and ultimately discharged. The plaintiff did not return to work following the accident. The plaintiff sought medical treatment from her existing providers, who concluded that her physical condition and back pain prevented her from working as a truck driver.