In Illinois, an employee is liable for any injury an employee sustains during the course of their employment. Workers’ compensation laws strictly state that any illness or injury that occurs during an employee’s duties could make the employee eligible to collect workers’ compensation benefits. However, when an employee gets food poisoning, proving eligibility becomes much more complex.
Food Poisoning and Workers’ Compensation
To qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, the employee must have a work-related injury. If they can show that the food poisoning occurred during a work-related activity, then they may qualify for benefits. This is, however, extremely difficult to prove. Unlike with physical injuries, proving food poisoning is not as straightforward. However, an employee may qualify for benefits if one or more of the following is true:
- The employer supplied the food to their employees. If the employer provided the food to their employees as part of their job or wages, and the employee gets sick from that food, the employee may then qualify for workers’ compensation. However, if the employee brought food from home and suffered from food poisoning, it is not directly related to work.
- The food was sold in a cafeteria for employees only. If a cafeteria is intended strictly for employee use – and not open to the public – then any food poisoning that occurs in that cafeteria can be considered a work-related illness.
- The employee ate the food, which benefited the employer. Sometimes an employee is required to eat as part of their job, as is the case for wine tasters, food critics, and restaurant chefs. If the employee became ill after eating contaminated food and they were required to eat that food as part of their employment, they are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
Lunch Breaks Do Not Apply
If an employee purchased food during their official food break and they suffered from food poisoning, they are not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits because this break was not work-related.
An Attorney Can Assist You With a Workers’ Compensation Claim
If you have suffered from food poisoning and you think you are eligible for workers’ compensation, contact an attorney at Malman Law today. We can assess your case and help you determine the right course of action. Even if you do not qualify for workers’ compensation, you may have a valid personal injury claim against the company that prepared and sold the food. Call us at 888-625-6265 to schedule your free consultation, or fill out an online contact form and an attorney will be in touch with you shortly.