Court of Appeals of Illinois, Second District, Workers Compensation Commission Division
As Corrected February 20, 2015.
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Winnebago County. No. 12-MR-821. Honorable J. Edward Prochaska, Judge, Presiding.
In proceedings on a claim for the lower back injury a truck hauler suffered while loading his personal suitcase into his private car in preparation for his drive to his employer's terminal to pick up his car-hauling truck to start delivering cars to various dealerships, the arbitrator's findings that claimant failed to prove that he suffered an accident that arose out of and in the course of his employment, that he was not acting as a " traveling employee" when he was injured, and that his injuries were not causally connected to his employment were affirmed by the Workers' Compensation Commission based on the conclusions that the risk resulting in claimant's injury was a personal risk, not a risk peculiar to his work, and that claimant had not started his travel for work when he was injured, and the appellate court upheld the Commission's decision on the ground that the finding that claimant's injury did not arise out of or in the course of his injury was not against the manifest weight of the evidence.
For Appellant: Brad A. Reynolds, Gesmer Law Offices, P.C., Rockford.
For Appellee: Sam J. Cerniglia, Maria Merman, Roddy, Leahy, Guill & Zima, Ltd., Chicago.
PRESIDING JUSTICE HOLDRIDGE delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Hoffman, Hudson, Harris, and Stewart concurred in the judgment and opinion.
[¶1] The claimant, Lanyon Pryor, filed an application for adjustment of claim under
the Workers' Compensation Act (Act) (820 ILCS 305/1 et seq. (West 2008)), seeking benefits for an injury to his lower back which he sustained on July 21, 2008, while he was employed by Cassen Transport (employer). After conducting a hearing, an arbitrator found that the claimant had failed to prove that he sustained an accident that arose out of and in the course of his employment. In so ruling, the arbitrator rejected the claimant's argument that he was acting as a " traveling employee" at the time he was injured. The arbitrator also found that the claimant failed to prove that the injuries he sustained, if any, were causally connected to his employment.
[¶2] The claimant appealed the arbitrator's decision to the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission (Commission), which unanimously affirmed and adopted the arbitrator's decision. The Commission found that the risk which resulted in the claimant's alleged injury was a personal risk that was " not sufficiently connected to [his] employment in order to be a risk peculiar to his work." Moreover, like the arbitrator, the Commission also found that the claimant's " travel for work had not yet begun when the accident occurred."
[¶3] The claimant then sought judicial review of the Commission's decision in the circuit court of Winnebago County, which confirmed the Commission's decision. This appeal followed.
[¶5] The employer delivers new automobiles to various car dealerships for Chrysler. The claimant works for the employer as a car hauler. His responsibilities include loading automobiles onto an 18-wheel car-hauling truck at the employer's terminal in Belvidere, Illinois, driving the truck to various dealerships, and unloading the cars at those dealerships. Sometimes the claimant picks up vehicles on his return trip, loads them on the truck, and delivers them to another location on his way back to ...