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Bed Bug Bites Yield Workers’ Compensation

A flight attendant successfully obtained workers’ compensation benefits for bed bug bites because she was bitten while acting as a traveling employee.

Bitten in Employer-Selected Hotel

In Leake v. Envoy Air, a flight attendant was working for a company that required overnight travel. While traveling for work in Iowa on June 11, 2015, she allegedly sustained multiple bed bug bites in an employer-selected hotel.

According to her workers’ compensation attorneys, the flight attendant’s bed bug bites required treatment with medication. She also testified to suffering from ongoing itching and scratching as of the time of the trial.

In finding in favor of the flight attendant, the Arbitrator concluded that she sustained an accidental injury that arose out of and in the course of her employment because she was acting as a traveling employee.

What Is a Traveling Employee?

Under Illinois law, most employees traveling to and from work are typically not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits for injuries sustained during their commutes. Nevertheless, an exception might be granted in the case of a traveling employee.

A traveling employee is a worker who is required to travel away from the employer’s premises to perform the duties of a job – for example, a flight attendant. Traveling employees would be covered for any injuries they sustain while traveling, in that traveling arises out of and in the course of their employment, provided their employers would consider their actions “reasonable and foreseeable.”

Reasonable and foreseeable actions may include:

  • Those an employer specifically instructs an employee to perform;
  • Those an employee has a statutory or common law duty to perform for an employer; or
  • Those an employee may be expected to perform in the course of carrying out the duties of a job.

Bed Bug Bites “Reasonable and Foreseeable”

In the case of the flight attendant, the Arbitrator reasoned that she was a traveling employee while on a layover and an injury occurring during her layover in a hotel occurred in the course of her employment.

The bed bug bites also arose out of the flight attendant’s employment because her exposure to bed bugs was reasonable and foreseeable. Her frequent travel placed her at higher risk of getting bitten by bed bugs. Moreover, her employer explicitly selected and paid for the hotel where she received the bed bug bites.

While ruling in her favor, however, the Arbitrator declined to issue a permanency award. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission affirmed the Arbitrator’s decision, reasoning that the condition resulting from the flight attendant’s bed bug bites had already been resolved prior to the hearing.

Helping Traveling Employees Get Benefits

While the flight attendant in this matter successfully resolve her claim, obtaining workers’ compensation benefits when you are injured away from the workplace can be difficult, even if you are considered a traveling employee. To help overcome unreasonable objections from employers and insurance companies, thousands of injured workers have turned to the workers’ compensation attorneys at GWC Injury Lawyers LLC.

With over $2 billion recovered in verdicts and settlements, GWC is one of the premier Workers’ Compensation and Personal Injury law firms in Illinois. For more than four decades, our workers’ compensation attorneys have been fighting for employees in practically every profession who were injured in nearly every type of circumstance. Our firm has the experience, the determination, the resources, and the reputation of success you need to get you and your family the justice you deserve.

If you have been injured on the job, contact GWC to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation with a dedicated workers’ compensation attorney. You may call our office at (312) 464-1234 or click here to chat with a representative at any time.