Working remotely is the new norm. Even though many are going back to the office, there are still quite a few people working from home. This has raised many questions about workers’ compensation and employee injuries that occur out of the office. As a Nassau county work related injury lawyer from a firm like Polsky, Shouldice & Rosen, PC can explain, work from home employees do have workers’ comp benefits, but the injury must be work-related. It can be a complex situation, so you have to look at the details of your injury.
It’s typically up to the employee to prove that the injury occurred while doing something on the employer’s behalf. The line between home and work is blurred when you work from home. You could fall on the stairs while going to your home office (a work function) or while going to do laundry (a personal function).
The question then becomes whether the employee was required to perform the activity that resulted in the injury. There is also the question of whether the employer authorized the employee to work from home. Working on a project voluntarily one evening is much different from being directed to work from home temporarily or permanently.
Workers’ compensation laws are different in each state, but the courts are having to recognize that injuries do occur at home in the course of working from home. Telecommuters should have a safe work environment. The courts have also ruled that the employer’s lack of control over the home environment is irrelevant when an injury occurs.
However, the employer can require an established workspace environment to limit the employer’s liability for workplace injuries at home. The courts will look at the employer’s policies to create a safe workspace for its employees, regardless of location. Employees that operate within the policies and still get injured may have more success in getting workers’ comp benefits, but it is very specific to the situation.
If an injury does occur at home in the course of working at home, the employee and employer should consider it the same as if the injury occurred on the employer’s premises. Follow the same protocols, regardless of where the injury occurred. Even if there is some skepticism on the employer’s part, just file a claim. Report the facts of the injury and let the insurance carrier handle the investigation. If you need help with a workers’ compensation claim, talk to a workers’ compensation lawyer who can support you through the process.