Good news ! (For once)
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you know there is a COVID-19 vaccine. But what happens if something goes wrong with the vaccination and or if something goes wrong with the vaccination if you are required to be vaccinated for your job?
Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program (CICP)
Negative reactions to the COVID-19 vaccine can be compensated through the Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program (CICP) The CICP is administered through the Health Resources and Services Administration. You can find out about the claims process here.
The CICP is similar to, but separate from, the National Injury Vaccine Injury Compensation (VICP) fund, which pays individuals on a no-fault basis for adverse reactions to some vaccines.
Workers compensation and COVID-19 vaccinations.
So, would an injury from a work-mandated COVID-19 vaccination be covered by workers’ compensation? I believe so. Workers compensation covers injury arising out of an in the course and scope of employment. If you get hurt doing something ordered by your employer, you are likely covered by workers’ compensation unless you are substantially deviating from your job duties.
So a worker who has an adverse reaction to a COVID-19 vaccine or another type of vaccine would have two claims – a workers compensation claim and a claim against a vaccine fund. Typically if a third-party is responsible for a work injury, workers compensation can claim some right of repayment called subrogation.
However, I am not sure if workers compensation subrogation would apply to compensation paid out under a no-fault vaccination program. Todd Bennett and I discussed this around the coffee machine on Friday morning. Nebraska’s subrogation statutes seem to envision a situation where an employee files a traditional negligence case for a work injury. My guess is that workers compensation would likely claim a subrogation right against settlements from a vaccine fund, but that an injured worker – or their lawyers — should be able to push back against any repayment claims by a workers’ compensation insurer.
Botched injection injuries
I’ve never had a case involving a vaccine reaction. But I have had workers’ compensation cases involving botched injection that lead to muscle and joint injuries. Again those are workers’ compensation cases. I would expect a fair number of those types of injuries as public health authorities rush to vaccinate millions as quickly as possible. There may also be a negligence or malpractice case against the provider of the vaccinations.
The handling of the pandemic doesn’t engender much confidence in how corporate America and government officials will handle the mass vaccinations required to end the pandemic. People need to know their rights and exercise those rights if and when vaccinations go wrong.