As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have begun working from home, leading them to wonder what happens if they’re injured while on the clock. Depending on their circumstances and employer, workers injured on the job at home may be entitled to compensation through a workers’ compensation claim.
How Workers’ Comp Applies at Home
If a worker is injured on the job, it’s possible to recover compensation through workers’ comp insurance whether the injury resulted from the employee’s or another party’s negligence. Workers’ compensation operates on a no-fault system. Generally, workers’ comp covers any work-related injury, including those that occur offsite out of the office.
However, the principal criterion for workers’ comp is that the injury must be work-related, which can be difficult to prove for remote workers. An injury sustained at home could have occurred at any time, including off-hours when the employee wasn’t working.
To further determine whether coverage is warranted employees may need to prove that the employer benefited from the employee’s actions when the injury took place, whether the employer required the employee to perform a task that resulted in the injury, and that the employer pre-approved the offsite work activity.
Ultimately, if employees can prove that their at-home injury resulted on the job while performing a task that benefited their employer, workers’ comp insurance carriers are likely to cover the costs associated with the injury.
Expansive Coverage Benefits Both Employees and Employers
In a majority of workers’ compensation cases, the courts choose to cover employee injuries. This is usually in the best interests of the employer and employee alike. While employees can benefit from having all medical expenses and lost wages covered while recovering from an injury, employers can benefit from avoiding potential lawsuits accusing them of negligent practices. The courts can lessen the caseload that would otherwise accumulate from lawsuits revolving around work-related injuries.
It’s important for employees working at home to keep in mind that remote work-related injuries may require a deeper investigation than injuries sustained onsite. On the other hand, the introduction of the pandemic and the subsequent stay-at-home orders led to a global surge in remote work, which could lead to more leniency when it comes to filing for workers’ compensation in some cases.
What to Do in the Event of a Work Injury at Home
If employees are injured on the job while working from home, they are generally required to follow the same steps they would take if they were injured onsite. The first step to take is to report the injury to the employer as soon as possible. Waiting too long could make it harder to recover compensation. It’s also important for employees to seek treatment if needed, in which case the workers’ comp insurance company may assign a specific doctor. Employees will then need to complete all paperwork and gather evidence to support their workers’ compensation claim.
If work-related injuries take place at home, taking the right steps can help employees recover compensation just as they would be able to in the workplace.