Illinois: “Traveling Employee” Rule Relates to Comp Cases Only; May Not Be Extended to Tort Law

An Illinois appellate court recently held that workers’ compensation law’s “traveling employee” doctrine may not be extended into the tort law arena so as to support a claim that an employer was liable, upon respondeat superior grounds, for the alleged negligence of a “traveling employee” who caused a fatal vehicular accident while driving to the work site.  Acknowledging that the employee, who was also killed in the accident, would likely have been classified as a “traveling employee” in any workers’ compensation claim filed by the employee’s family, the court reasoned that the purpose of the Workers’ Compensation Act was to provide financial protection for employees who incur broadly defined work-related injuries without generally determining the issue of fault.  The same could not be said for respondeat superior cases.  In the tort action, employer fault was an important component.  Finding a sufficient work-connectedness to allow workers’ compensation benefits was one thing; the same process could not be used within the tort arena.

Reported by Thomas A. Robinson, J.D.

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance. Bracketed citations link to lexis.com.

See Pister v. Matrix Serv. Industrial Contractors, Inc., 2013 Ill. App. LEXIS 600 (Sept. 6, 2013) [2013 Ill. App. LEXIS 600 (Sept. 6, 2013)]

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 25.01 [25.01]

Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law.

For more information about LexisNexis products and solutions connect with us through our corporate site