If I work from home can I still get workers compensation?
You might think that workers’ compensation is designed to cover injuries that might occur in a traditional workplace. However, with the increasing popularity of remote work, an employee’s workplace might be the kitchen table, the coffee shop, or anywhere with good internet access. Workers’ compensation laws vary by state, but you likely will be eligible for workers’ compensation if your injury occurred during the course of your work or arising from job-related duties.
Retaining a workers comp lawyer is one of the best things you can do to protect your legal rights. An experienced legal team, like those at Hurwitz, Whitcher, & Molloy LLP, is there to help you with your workers’ compensation claim. Their experience and knowledge can benefit you and your loved ones.
How You Might Be Injured While Working From Home
Working from home is popular for many employees because they consider home to be a safe and flexible space. However, work-related injuries can still occur even in your home environment. One of the most frequent culprits of work-from-home injury is repetitive stress or trauma. Home offices may not be designed for ergonomic use. You may have repurposed a kitchen stool, or set up your office on the couch—neither of which were designed for physical well-being during a work shift. Doctors report increased neck pain, back pain, and musculoskeletal issues as more employees are working remotely.
Most states abide by a personal comfort doctrine, which means that brief detours to the bathroom or to get a snack are still considered part of the course of your work. While working from home, if you trip and fall while preparing your lunch, or if you strain your neck while sorting files, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation.
The burden of proof falls on the employee. However, if you are able to document and explain how your injury was work-related, you may receive the benefit of the doubt.
Employer Strategies for Due Diligence
Fewer workers’ compensation claims means lower premiums for employers—so your employer definitely has incentive to help you stay safe while you are working from home. Your employer should support safe work from home by establishing remote work policies and home office guidelines. This support might include:
- Clear written policies that define the scope of work responsibilities
- Guidance on setting up appropriate work stations that will reduce repetitive stress injuries
- Defined work hours that support adequate breaks
- Examination of home office setups and assistance in obtaining items that are necessary to keep workplaces safe
How to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim
If you are injured while working from home, the process for filing a claim will follow similar protocol as if the injury occurred in a traditional workplace. You should report the injury to a supervisor, obtain necessary medical care, and document the details surrounding the incident on the claim. Expect your employer’s insurance provider to conduct a thorough investigation.
If you have questions about workers’ compensation related to your work-from-home injury, seek expert advice from an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer near you.