Employees Who Work from Home Are Entitled to Workers’ Compensation If They Get Injured
Employers are responsible for maintaining a safe workplace environment. Employees who get injured at work may file a workers’ compensation claim and have their employer’s insurance cover their medical treatment and other expenses related to the accident. Workers’ compensation claims have a no-fault policy for eligibility; injured workers do not have to prove that they were injured because of the employer’s negligence, only that they were injured while doing their jobs. It’s easy to take the above statements for granted and not give them much thought, but what if the injured worker got hurt while working from home? Workers’ compensation laws are more ambiguous when the workplace is the employee’s home, but in general, workers have the law on their side. You can still get workers’ compensation coverage for a work injury that took place in your home office, but you might need the help of a South Florida workers’ compensation lawyer.
What Counts as a Work Injury When You Work from Home?
The biggest obstacle standing between any injured worker and receiving a workers’ compensation settlement is proving that the injury was work-related. In legal terms, a work-related injury is one that the worker sustained “in the course of” their work and “arising out of” their job duties. In other words, it happened at the workplace while the worker was doing his or her job. When you telecommute, your house is the workplace. The following are some examples of injuries for which telecommuting employees might claim workers’ compensation:
- An injury sustained when the employee fell out of an office chair while telecommuting
- Repetitive strain injuries related to typing on a computer for long hours
- An injury sustained when an employee lifts a box
- A lithium ion battery explodes in the computer, smartphone, or tablet that the employee is using for work communication
Employees have the right to claim workers’ compensation for injuries they suffer while working from home. Whether the employer or the judge of compensation claims approves the claim depends on many details of the case. For example, Tammitha Valcourt-Williams, an insurance claims adjuster who works from home in Florida, plans to take her workers’ compensation case to the Florida Supreme Court. She was reaching for a coffee cup in her kitchen cupboard during a break from work, when she tripped over her dog and got hurt. Valcourt-Williams claims that her kitchen is, for all practical purposes, her workplace break room, but her employer argues that she has not proven that the injury was work-related. The case illustrates the ambiguity associated with workers’ compensation claims by telecommuters; detailed guidelines and follow-up by employers can go a long way to prevent injury accidents in the home workplace.
Let Us Help You Today
During the COVID-19 pandemic, home is the safest place to work, but work-related accidents can still occur, even in the home workplace. A workers’ compensation lawyer can help if your employer denies your claim. Contact the Sunrise workers’ compensation lawyers at the Law Offices of David M. Benenfeld for professional help.