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Chicago Transit Authority v. Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District

March 11, 2013

CHICAGO TRANSIT AUTHORITY, Appellant,
v.
THE ILLINOIS WORKERS' COMPENSATION COMMISSION et al. (Sylvia Timms, Appellee).

Rehearing denied May 23, 2013

Held [*]

The award of total temporary disability benefits to a bus driver for the psychological injury she suffered when the bus she was driving struck and killed a pedestrian was not contrary to the manifest weight of the evidence, since she testified that she thought she could manage her condition “through her own strength, ” and the evidence supported the inference that she experienced a sudden, severe emotional shock traceable to a definite time, place and cause which resulted in psychological injury

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, No. 11-L-50344; the Review Hon. Robert Lopez-Cepero, Judge, presiding.

Karen G . Seimetz, General Counsel, of Chicago Transit Authority, of Chicago, for appellant.

Patrick J. Durkin, of Cullen, Haskins, Nicholson & Menchetti, P.C., of Chicago, for appellee.

Panel: Justices Hoffman, Hudson, and Stewart concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

HOLDRIDGE PRESIDING JUSTICE

¶ 1 The claimant, Sylvia Timms, filed an application for adjustment of claim pursuant to the Workers' Compensation Act (Act) (820 ILCS 305/1 to 30 (West 2008)), seeking benefits from the employer, Chicago Transit Authority, for injuries she suffered on March 18, 2010.

¶ 2 After a hearing, an arbitrator found that the claimant proved she sustained psychological injuries arising out of and in the course of her employment with the employer and awarded her total temporary disability (TTD) benefits and medical expenses.

¶ 3 The employer filed a petition for review of the arbitrator's decision before the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission (Commission). A majority of the Commission affirmed and adopted the arbitrator's decision.

¶ 4 Thereafter, the employer filed a petition seeking judicial review in the circuit court of Cook County. The court confirmed the Commission's decision, and this appeal followed.

¶ 5 FACTS

ΒΆ 6 The following factual recitation is taken from the evidence presented at the arbitration hearing on July 20, 2010. The 51-year-old claimant testified that she worked for the employer as a bus operator for approximately 3 years. While driving a bus on March 18, 2010, the claimant stopped at a red traffic light at approximately 1:30 p.m. Several passengers exited the bus through both a front door and back door. Several individuals got on the bus. The claimant saw that the traffic light had turned green and proceeded through the intersection. Shortly thereafter, a passenger yelled from the back of the bus that "somebody was ...


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