There are many companies that have summer events to try and boost morale or simply reward workers for a job well done.  That is a good thing of course.  Most of these events are voluntary which means that if you don’t go that is your prerogative and it won’t affect your employment in any way.  You know it’s voluntary if it doesn’t cost you any pay or retaliation if you don’t go.
If you do go to the company picnic or other event this summer and get hurt somehow (you’d be stunned by the number of people that call me who were hurt in a friendly game of volleyball) then it’s not covered under Illinois work comp laws if it’s truly a voluntary event.
But what happens sometimes is that you are told that it’s not mandatory for you to attend, but you and everyone else at the company knows that is not true.
Case in point, I was recently called by a nice man who was asked by his boss if he wanted to go on the company paintball outing.  He didn’t want to go, but had a built in excuse of having a doctor’s appointment. The higher ups sent out an e-mail about the event and said it was voluntary.  But his direct boss didn’t feel that way and asked him multiple times to change the doctor’s appointment, letting him know that it would be “good for his career” if he attended.
That doesn’t feel like an optional event to me.  It’s not a slam dunk case by any means.  If he would have been docked pay, demoted or fired for missing then it would be a no-brainer.  That said, it certainly sounds to me like this was not an optional event for him, especially when his boss asks him multiple times to go and tells him it would help his career.
So he did go and badly injured his knee, tearing his ACL.  The case has been denied by the insurance company because the higher ups said it was voluntary.
He may win his case, he may not.  But this case shows that you have to look deeper as to what’s really going on to make a proper analysis as to whether or not there is a case.  This case, like many others, is not black and white.  It’s not much different when your employer says you are an independent contractor, but treats you like a true employee in every way.
So my advice to you is no matter what your case is about, don’t take the insurance company’s word for it when they tell you that you have no case.   Talk to someone independent – we will always talk with you for free and in confidence – and get a true, full analysis. It might not mean you have a case, but you’ll know for sure.