Under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, an injured worker is only entitled to benefits if he or she qualifies as an “employee” of the Respondent. This means that under most circumstances, volunteers who get injured while performing duties on behalf of an employer will not be entitled to benefits because the essential employer-employee relationship is missing. However, this rule of law does not apply to volunteer firefighters. The law is settled in Illinois that volunteer firefighters are covered under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, and volunteer firefighters who are injured in the line of duty should be entitled to all benefits provided under the Act, including medical benefits, temporary disability benefits, and an appropriate award for permanent impairment. The average weekly wage which is used to derive the injured firefighter’s benefits in this scenario is based upon the firefighter’s average weekly wage in his or her regular employment.
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