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COVID-19 Vaccines and Worker’s Compensation COVID-19 Vaccines and Worker’s Compensation

COVID-19 Vaccines and Worker’s Compensation

As we prepare for the COVID-19 vaccination rollout, many employers are considering whether worker’s compensation claims may be asserted related to these vaccines. If an employee raises such a claim, it should be fully investigated and a determination of compensability made based on the facts presented.

Worker’s compensation eligibility is defined by state statute. If there is no legislative presumption or emergency executive order in place, most state statutes require an employee to prove there is an injury, arising out of, and in the course of, employment.
  • Is there an injury?
    The Indiana Act requires reporting a claim after an employer has knowledge of an injury requiring medical care beyond first aid.

  • Did the injury arise out of employment?
    The second statutory requirement is that the injury arose out of employment. What caused the injury and was the cause incidental to employment? Personal or pre-existing conditions, such as an allergic reaction, could be deemed personal rather than related to employment.

  • Was the injury in the course of employment?
    Most of the evaluation will be focused on whether the vaccine was given in the course of employment. If the vaccine is not required by the employer, reactions from the vaccine may not be deemed to be related to an employment activity. However, the Board and the courts tend to conclude an injury is compensable if they determine there is a benefit to the employer. Depending on the facts, a Board might determine the activity (vaccine) arose out of employment, even though it was not required. Having an outside vendor provide the vaccine may help clarify this claim requirement because it would further remove the activity from the employment relationship.
If you have any questions about your state’s worker’s compensation requirements or about specific claim investigations, contact Ann Stewart or the worker’s compensation attorney with whom you most frequently work.

This publication is intended for general information purposes only and does not and is not intended to constitute legal advice. The reader should consult with legal counsel to determine how laws or decisions discussed herein apply to the reader's specific circumstances.
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