With the increasing dependence on hybrid and remote workers, novel professional environments are emerging. If you’re one of the thousands of individuals suddenly working from home, you may wonder if you’re eligible for workers’ compensation while making the transition.
The answer: YES. The Clark Law Office can help you prove your case and eligibility for workers’ compensation, especially if an employer attempts to deny your claim. That aside, workers’ compensation can be valuable if you’re injured while working from home. Let’s discuss a few aspects entailing the subject in question to give you an idea of your legal rights.
The Traditional Office Vs. Remote Working
In the traditional office setting, workers’ compensation can assist when an employee is injured on the job. Remote working presents new challenges concerning insurance claims and accident prevention.
Besides, traditional compensation laws are framed around physical injuries incurred at the workplace or during employment-related activity. One’s home is not typically considered an “on-the-job” setting or an area of responsibility for the employer.
Even so, worker’s compensation covers you as an employee, regardless of the physical location of your duties. Thus, you can still be eligible for compensation.
When working remotely, employees remain eligible for workers’ compensation benefits as long as the injury sustained is work-related and occurred during one’s job duties. Furthermore, physical injuries caused by employment-related stress are also eligible for claim consideration. Whether it’s a physical or emotional injury, Clark Law Office can evaluate and determine your eligibility.
Fortunately, many laws have been updated to include remote work in their definition and scope of coverage – including workers’ compensation regulations. But, you must prove that the injury occurred while serving your employer. Here’re possible circumstances that may qualify:
- Injuries sustained while using job-related equipment or tools.
- Getting injured while on a momentary break from work, such as getting a snack or taking a call. Worker’s compensation covers such injuries and thus should do the same if they occur while working at home, thanks to the personal comfort doctrine – the policy protects employees who partake in brief personal activities during their work hours.
- Injuries resulting from performing tasks specific to one’s job role, such as heavy lifting, slip and falls, back or neck injuries, and more.
- Work-related injuries, such as repetitive strain injuries, which generally occur over time.
- Occupational exposure – any harm or bodily injury caused by certain elements within the work environment. This can be anything from hazardous materials or equipment to activities that jeopardize your physical and mental health, such as working long hours.
But the employer would not be liable if you’re injured while running errands or performing other duties unrelated to your job. Thus, you would be ineligible for workers’ compensation.
The Reality of Remote Work
Working from home may complicate matters as it’s challenging to establish whether an injury occurred during regular work hours. For instance, if your work schedule is irregular, or you work outside of the normal hours, it can be difficult to prove that you were injured while working for your employer.
As such, they may argue that an injury does not qualify for a compensation claim. Fortunately, a lawyer can help you prove that you were carrying out your duties as an employee of a company when the injury occurred.
What You Should Do
To get compensation, contact your firm’s HR department and fill them in on the details of your injury. Document all the information about your injury and employment- including any emails or text messages detailing work-related assignments or conversations.
If the firm relies on a third-party provider for its compensation insurance, you may need to contact them regarding the injury. You can then proceed to file a claim and submit documents proving your injury.
State regulations pertaining to workers’ compensation vary, so it’s advisable to determine the specific laws in your area. An attorney can help you understand and navigate the process of filing a claim, giving you an idea of what to expect and how to proceed.
Following your claim’s approval, your firm or insurer may direct you to a specific physician or medical center to help manage your injury. You may also seek additional compensation if the injury is severe.
Working from home can be rewarding and convenient, but it can also pose potential hazards. Stay safe while working remotely and in case of a mishap, know that you can get workers’ compensation, provided the injury is within the scope of your employer’s insurance. Thus, you’ll be in a better position to deal with the unexpected by understanding the system’s inner workings, including your rights.