Many people worked from home during the lockdown. Employees working from home might not be doing typical office hours. Instead of the usual eight-hour day with two breaks of ten minutes, and one hour for lunch, employees may work without any breaks, which can lead to fatigue, stress, carpal tunnel, back and neck pain.
Employers who have sent their employees working remotely should be aware that work-related accidents can happen even at home. They have a responsibility for giving their workers a safe working environment. A home-based worker has the same workers’ compensation benefits as the worker who works in the office.
Working from home doesn’t mean that the worker is not exposed to potential work-related injuries, but what if the employee gets injured while working from home? Should the employer cover them with a workers’ compensation claim, or should they cover the fees from their private health insurance?
These are serious questions, and the answer is never the same since every case is different. If you got injured while working from home, you should consult with a workers’ compensation attorney.
Criteria for Workers’ Compensation Coverage
Worker’s compensation is a no-fault system. This means, if you got injured while working, you will get covered by your workers’ compensation insurance.
In general, you as an employee are covered for injures that are work-related (that may occur outside your workplace). The first consideration in such cases is whether the injury is work-related. You should prove that your occupation caused the injury. Things may become more complicated when working from home. The injury could have occurred at any time or day when you were at home and weren’t’ working.
These questions will determine if your injury is work-related:
- Was the employer benefiting from the employee’s actions when the injury happened?
- Did the employer ask the employee to engage in an activity that caused the injury?
- Did the employer approve the off-site activity beforehand?
If you got injured in the company’s break room while having your lunch on-site, workers’ compensation will cover those injuries because it benefits your employer when you take your lunch break at the office (it saves time and you’re accessible to your team if they need you while you’re on break). Even if you’re injured on your employer’s premises after working hours, you will still be covered under the company insurance policy.
Proper Allocation of Benefits
Courts usually will be on the side of the employee when it comes to covering their injuries in workers’ compensation disputes. A wide interpreting coverage typically helps the employees to be sure that their medical fees and wages will be paid while they recover. This way employers aren’t risking having their injured employees suing them for negligence.
The court will consider if your employer was benefiting from an injury-causing activity while you were working from home.
The COVID-19 pandemic is changing the world and the way it used to function. So stay at home employees will face less scrutiny in such situations than they otherwise might. Most companies want to continue earning and keep things going, so they would agree to you working from home. This includes continuing to provide everything an employee needs including the basic protections to you as a worker.
Let’s say you’re suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome which is a work-related injury. It could happen after long years of working, no matter if you’re at the office or home. So, you shouldn’t worry whether your company will cover the medical expenses for a potential carpal tunnel surgery.
How To Start the Workers’ Compensation Claim
This is the biggest concern for workers who work from home and got injured. Where to start, what to say, what should you prove? There are a million questions that you certainly won’t know the answer before you consult with a skilled and knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney.
The best thing to do is to seek medical help and inform your employer about your injury. Although you will most likely get your coverage, it’s better if you consult with an attorney, just in case.
Some employees might not be eager to pay you for your injury. Instead to worry about your next step, contact our office. Our team, at Workers Compensation Lawyer Coalition, is here to help you. We have experience in this area and will advise you on the next step, help you file a lawsuit, and will not stop until you get your deserved settlement.