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​Experienced ILLINOIS Workers’ Compensation Lawyers
& CHICAGO Injury Lawyers

Injuries on International Flights

Chicago Lawyers for Airline Industry Workers’ Compensation Claims

Flight attendants who are hurt while working on an international flight may be eligible for workers’ compensation. Injuries on international flights can include spinal cord damage, fractures, cuts, sprains, and contusions. Often the injuries are to the spine, the feet, or the hands. These injuries can be disabling, requiring an airline worker to seek medical care, loss of income, and therapy. If you are an airline worker who suffered injuries on an international flight, you may be able to obtain coverage for your medical bills and lost wages. Our Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys can evaluate your case and walk you through the process of claiming benefits.

Injuries on International Flights

If you are an airline employee working an international flight and you are injured on the job or made sick by the job, you may be able to obtain workers’ compensation benefits. These are benefits awarded regardless of fault. In fact, the injury can be your fault, but if it is work-related, you should be able to recover benefits.

Traveling Employee Rule

The traveling employee doctrine may be important to your case if you suffered harm while working on an international flight. It expands the scope of an employer’s liability for workers’ compensation, serving as an exception to the rule that injuries suffered while going to and from the workplace are not covered. The original purpose of the doctrine was to provide benefits to employees that travel and stay away from home overnight because of their jobs. In Illinois, the traveling employee doctrine has been expanded.

Under Illinois law, a traveling employee is one who is required to work away from an employer’s premises, unlike, for example, an office worker who reports to the main office every day. He’s acting in the course and scope of employment from when he leaves home until he returns. Even so, he has the burden of showing that any injuries for which he is seeking workers’ compensation benefits arose out of and in the course of employment. He also needs to show that his actions would normally be foreseen or anticipated by the employer.

The activity in which the injury is incurred, in other words, needs to be one that’s reasonable and foreseeable. In Illinois, a court has held that an employee’s actions in going back to a motel alone in an unfamiliar place after drinking at a bar were unreasonable. It has also found that an employee injured while going back to his motel after partying on a workday was engaged in an unreasonable action. However, if someone is injured during a layover while out and about the town, the court might look more closely at whether that was a reasonable activity. The Commission will look at whether the course or travel method was determined by the exigencies or demands of the job rather than personal preference, and in the case of airline employees injured on international flights, it is likely to be apparent that the worker would not be there but for the job. However, when there is a personal deviation from the usual activities, the Commission may make another finding.

Factors that determine whether an employee is covered by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act are whether the employee was hired in Illinois or hurt within the state, or whether their place of employment is principally located in Illinois. You could be hurt on a flight to Europe, for example, and still be able to recover workers’ compensation benefits from an employer that hired you in Illinois or whose premises are principally located in Illinois. A knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney can assess whether you will have any trouble qualifying as a covered employee.


Injuries that may be sustained on an international flight include assault by passengers, sick airplane syndrome, fatigue, slip and falls, falling baggage, and turbulence-related accidents. The conditions associated with being an international airline employee can also result in a slower recovery time and longer period of disability.

Consult a Skilled Workers’ Compensation Attorney in Chicago

If you are a pilot or other employee in the airline industry and you suffered injuries on an international flight or were otherwise hurt on the job, a workers’ compensation lawyer in Chicago can help you learn about your options and assert your rights. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca, we represent injured workers in Aurora, Springfield, Rockford, Champaign, and Quincy, as well as Cook, Sangamon, Champaign, Winnebago, Adams, and Kane Counties. Call us at 312-724-5846, or contact us online to set up a free consultation.