HMA Advocaten

Covid-19 Vaccinations and Liability Under Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act

BY Jennifer Maxwell

Under Illinois law, generally, purely voluntary acts are not compensable. However, under the Good Samaritan Doctrine, voluntary acts can be deemed to remain within the course of employment. However, applying that doctrine to voluntary Covid-19 vaccinations would be a stretch.

The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act (hereinafter “the Act”) provides as follows:

§11: Compensation Due is Full Measure of Liability

Section 11. The compensation herein provided, together with the provisions of this Act, shall be the measure of the responsibility of any employer engaged in any of the enterprises or businesses enumerated in Section 3 of this Act, or of any employer who is not engaged in any such enterprises or businesses, but who has elected to provide and pay compensation for accidental injuries sustained by any employee arising out of and in the course of the employment according to the provisions of this Act, and whose election to continue under this Act, has not been nullified by any action of his employees as provided for in this Act.

Voluntary Recreation

Accidental injuries incurred while participating in voluntary recreational programs including but not limited to athletic events, parties and picnics do not arise out of and in the course of the employment even though the employer pays some or all of the cost thereof. This exclusion shall not apply in the event that the injured employee was ordered or assigned by his employer to participate