Are injuries sustained in a layover eligible for Illinois Workers’ Compensation?
Exceptional rules for airline employees
Most workers do not receive compensation if they are injured while commuting to or from their place of employment. Illinois workers’ compensation law makes an exception in the case of pilots, flight attendants and other airline workers who must travel as part of their job. Their layovers and journeys are treated as part of their normal employment, and they can receive benefits for injuries incurred during their time in transit.
Why are layovers dangerous?
While air travel remains the safest form of transport in America, layovers are sometimes hazardous for airline employees. Layover injuries can occur in many different situations, but the following are among the most common:
- Hurried travel between airports and local facilities
- Substandard accommodation in motels or hotels
- Transfers during severe weather
- Unsafe recreational activities while on layovers
The dangers of these situations are often compounded by sleep deprivation and highly irregular schedules.
Many layover injuries are eligible for compensation
Many airline employees have applied successfully for workers’ compensation after suffering an injury during a layover. In one recent case, a Chicago pilot was severely injured in 2009 after he lost control of his rental car on a flooded road near a Florida airport. He received full compensation for medical expenses surrounding his spinal injury and lost wages during his enforced two-year absence from the cockpit. Employees should remember that not all layover injuries are automatically eligible for compensation: another pilot filed for benefits in 2009 when he tumbled off a dock after an evening of drinking during a layover, but his case was denied because the Workers’ Compensation Commission ruled that his injury was unrelated to work.
Injured workers in Illinois have options. If you are living with the aftermath of a layover injury, you may be eligible for financial help. Speak with a workers’ compensation attorney today to find out more.