Will Workers’ Compensation Pay for Your Treatment If You Get Injured While Working at Home?
The idea that working from home is the safest option is central to the stay-at-home policies that have been instituted in Florida and many other states. The fact that your chances of contracting COVID-19 or any other contagious illness decrease the fewer in-person interactions you have is only one of the benefits. When you work from home, you don’t risk getting hit by a car on your way to work. You can’t get injured in a trip and fall accident in your workplace when your workplace is home, or can you? One Florida woman is involved in a dispute over exactly that issue. No matter how much the nature of work and the workplace changes, a South Florida workers’ compensation lawyer will help you get compensation for the treatment of your work-related illnesses and injuries.
Is Fido an Occupational Hazard?
The injured worker in this case was employed by, of all things, a company that manages workers’ compensation insurance claims. In 2016, Tammitha Valcourt-Williams was working from home as a claims adjuster for Sedgwick CMS. On days when she telecommuted, she was required to be at her computer for certain hours during the workday, but she was entitled to breaks, just as a worker in the company’s offices would be. During her break from work, Valcourt-Williams went to her kitchen to make coffee. While she was reaching up to get a coffee mug out of the kitchen cabinet, she tripped over her dog and fell, injuring her hip, knee, and shoulder.
Valcourt-Williams filed a workers’ compensation claim, but Sedgwick denied the claim, saying that the injury was not work-related, and Valcourt-Williams appealed. The appeals court ruled in favor of Sedgwick; it reasoned that Valcourt-Williams’ injury did not arise naturally from her performing her job duties. One judge at the appeals court wrote a dissenting opinion, however; this judge argued that Sedgwick should have treated Valcourt-Williams’ claim no differently than a claim from a worker who got injured from a fall in a staff break room at work. Valcourt-Williams plans to take the case to the Florida Supreme Court.
Workers’ Compensation Cases in the Age of Telecommuting
Valcourt-Williams’ case raises larger questions about work injuries in an era when an increasing number of workers do their jobs partially or entirely from home. The following are other examples of workplace illness and injuries one might suffer while telecommuting:
- Chronic pain from sitting at a desk for long hours
- Slipping and falling at home while working
- Injuries sustained when configuring or using company-issued equipment
Most employees who sustain mild or moderate injuries at job sites do not have trouble getting their employers’ workers’ compensation insurance to cover their treatment, but you might run into more obstacles if you got injured while telecommuting.
Reach Out to Us Today for Help
You are entitled to workers’ compensation for injuries sustained at your workplace, even if it is also your home. Contact the Sunrise workers’ compensation lawyers at the Law Offices of David M. Benenfeld for a consultation.