If you follow the news, and lord knows I wish I did a little less than I do, you’ve heard the term Covid waiver. The President had a rally in Tulsa and required people to waive their right to sue if they got Covid 19 from attending. Ohio State is making their athletes sign a similar waiver as are several other schools. Some businesses are posting that notice before you enter their property. And while not in Illinois that I’ve seen yet, some employers are trying to get their employees to waive their rights to make a claim if they catch Coronavirus on the job.
I’m not going to get in to how legit waivers are against the general public. What I do want to discuss is the question, “Can your Illinois employer force you to waive your rights to make a workers’ compensation claim if you catch Covid while working there?”
The short answer is hell no!
The explanation is that under Illinois law, you can’t waive your rights to work comp benefits. In fact, even if you were forced to sign a waiver or agreed to, if you catch Covid, you could still file an Illinois workers’ compensation claim. You still have to prove that your job contributed to you getting sick, but whatever form you signed would not harm your case in any way.
This is true not just for this disease, but for any Illinois work injury or accident. We’ve seen a lot of “smart” employers think that they have found a way out of having to get work comp insurance or worry about their employees getting hurt. The simple truth is that these forms are against the law and not enforceable.
Beyond all of this, if you do catch Covid at work, they have to pay for all of your medical bills. We were lead to believe that the Government would take care of all Coronavirus related health care, but that simply isn’t true. There have been numerous reports of patients getting bills in the six and in some cases seven figures. Under Illinois work comp law, 100% of your medical care will be covered and you won’t have any co-pays or out of pocket expenses. You will also get compensated for your time off work and be eligible for a settlement when you are all better.