Q:  An injured worker received a voluntary flu shot and has had pain in her shoulder ever since. She has file this under workers’ compensation. Since it is voluntary should it be handled as a workers’ compensation claim? Is there something else which should be asked when deciding whether or not to accept or deny the claim?

A:  Absent a clear showing this occurred outside of work hours without and implied or actual consent of the employer this would likely be compensable. Two specific cases address the issue: Saint Agnes Medical Center, Intercare Insurance Services, Petitioners v. WCAB (Patricia Cook), 63 CCC 220 and Integrated Data Company, Truck Insurance Exchange, Petitioners v. Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board, Dora Small, Respondents, 66 CCC 642.

The Fifth District Court of Appeals held in Cook that applicant suffered injury AOE/COE-WCAB where applicant’s 1995 injury from flu shot had a causal connection between employment and the flu shot because the employer arranged and paid for flu shot during work hours, the employer encouraged employees to participate, the employer paid applicant for her time to take flu shot, and the shot was given at a conference center at employer’s hospital. The court further held that the employer derived “benefit” from having its employees inoculated

The Fourth District Court of Appeals held in Integrated Data that injuries resulting from flu shot applicant received at and employer-sponsored health fair occur in course of employment and are compensable when an employer expressly or impliedly authorized flu shots and acquiesces in applicant’s receipt of shot.