Is An Adverse Reaction To An Employer-Mandated COVID-19 Vaccine Compensable Under The Maryland Workers’ Compensation Act?

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Generally, to be compensable under the Maryland Workers' Compensation Act, an accidental injury must arise (1) out of, and (2) in the course of employment. The former looks at the cause of the injury and the latter contemplates the time, place, and circumstances in which the injury occurred. An injury arises out of employment if it would not have occurred had the employee's job not required him or her to be in the place where the injury occurred. An injury arises “in the course” of employment when it occurs:

(1) within the period of employment,

(2) at a place where the employee reasonably may be in the performance of his duties, and

(3) while he is fulfilling those duties or engaged in doing something incident thereto.

While there is no analogous case law in Maryland, an adverse reaction from an employer-mandated COVID-19 vaccine would be a compensable accidental injury. The employer-mandated vaccine inoculation would be the accidental injury. The resulting adverse reaction would be an occupational disease. Using the general definition that an accidental injury must arise (1) out of, and (2) in the course of employment, the mandate is the cause, and fulfilling the mandate is in the course of employment.

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