If you’re injured while doing some type of recreational or voluntary activity at work, depending on the circumstances, you could have a workers’ compensation case!

Here’s a look at a recent case involving a “voluntary” game of basketball:

  • Jonathan Jordan was a teacher at Calumet Middle School.
  • The school principal asked him, for the third time, to participate in an after school program where the teachers played basketball against the students.
  • Because he felt pressured to do this activity in order to obtain a new contract for the next school year, Jonathan finally agreed to play.
  • Even though it was after school, the teachers were not relieved of their duties as teachers during the game, as other students were not allowed to watch, and no parents or guardians of the students playing were required to attend.
  • March 23, 2011:  While going up for a jump shot during the game, a student ran into his legs, causing him to spin in the air and fall on his left arm.
  • An orthopedic surgeon diagnosed a displaced left radial shaft fracture, which required surgery.
  • April 12, 2011:  After physical and occupational therapy, he was released to return to work with the restriction of no use of his left arm.  He hired a workers’ comp attorney, and the claim was filed.
  • January 16, 2012:  He was released to full duty work, and declared at maximum medical improvement (MMI).
  • He was not offered a contract to return to the school, and ended up working as a teacher at another school.

The school fought the case, dragging it out for years, despite an Arbitrator and the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission ruling in favor of the injured worker.

Eventually, in November of 2016, the Illinois Appellate Court ruled in favor of the injured worker, and he won his case!

Why did he win?

A main reason was because the activity in this case was not truly “voluntary” and “recreational,” which is what the employer argued.  In fact, the worker tried to avoid participation, yet was pressured by the school principal, and his upcoming performance review and possible new contract, to take part in the basketball game.

Just as we recently described how you could win a workers’ comp case for an injury that happens on your break in this post, you can also win a workers’ comp case for an injury that happens during a “voluntary” activity, depending on the exact circumstances of your situation.

If you’re not sure if you have a workers’ comp or personal injury claim, or even if you do have one, it is in your best interests to contact an attorney to talk about the situation.  Contact us at Peter D. Corti Law Group.  We will give you a free and confidential consultation and answers to your questions.


Appellate Court, Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI), Recreational Work Injury, Teacher Work Injury, Voluntary Activity Work Injury

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