In the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, working from home has become a new reality for most people. The outbreak has also raised a lot of concerns for remote workers. A very important question to address is…
What happens if you are injured while working from home? Will your injuries be covered under workers’ compensation or are can you only restricted to using your private health insurance policy?
What is the Criteria for Workers’ Compensation?
You are covered under workers’ compensation regardless of whether the accident was your fault or not as long as you are injured in the scope of employment. Workers compensation for offsite injuries isn’t a new concept.
This means that you are covered under workers compensation if your injuries occur outside the workplace. Your burden of proof will be to show that your injuries are work related. This might be a challenge for someone who works from home especially if your injury could have happened any other day when you weren’t working.
A few factors that will determine if your injury was work related include:
- If your employer asked you to engage in the particular task that led to your injury
- If your employer approved you to work remotely
- If your employer was benefiting from your activities when they occurred
If, for example, you were injured while taking a break at the office, your injuries will be covered by workers compensation. If you are injured while on your employer’s premises even after you’ve clocked out, you will still be compensated.
This same concept applies to working from home. If you develop Carpal Tunnel syndrome because you had a lot of documents to type for your employer, then that is enough proof that you were injured while on the job, even though you were working from home. However, if you walk into a door on your way to the kitchen to grab a midnight snack, then you won’t be compensated.
There’s Usually a Fair Allocation of Benefits
Courts usually take an employee’s side in workers’ compensation disputes. Coverage is broadly interpreted to ensure:
- Your medical expenses and income will be covered while you recover.
- Courts are not overwhelmed by thousands of work related injury cases
- Employees do not sue employers for negligence
If you were injured while working from home, you will have to prevent more facts to y your employer and the court that you got injured while on the job unlike if you got injured while on company premises.
The good news is that the Coronavirus pandemic has changed the way people work. Companies have to comply stay at home orders so you are less likely to face a lot of scrutiny given the circumstances.
What are Your Rights in the Workplace?
If you get infected with Coronavirus, you can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job protected leave per year. According to the Federal and Medical Leave Act, your employer is obligated to give you upto 12 weeks of unpaid leave.
Your employer will probably require you to use up your remaining paid leave days before taking unpaid leave. The good news is that several businesses have currently extended that period to six months following the Coronavirus outbreak.
If a loved one has been infected with the virus and you need to care for them, you are entitled to 26 weeks leave. And since caring for a loved one with the virus exposes you to it, you are also required to self-isolate to avoid spreading the virus.
What is Your Employer’s Obligation around Coronavirus at the Workplace?
Your employer is legally obligated to ensure that they give you (employees) accurate information on how to stop the virus from spreading and that they have provided you with the means to act on that information.
Your employer should also implement measures to prevent the spread of the virus at the workplace.
How to Get Started with Your Workers Compensation Claim
If you live in Fall River, MA, and you sustained a work injury while working from home, your first step should be to file for a worker’s compensation claim by filling out the insurance forms provided by your employer.
If you have any evidence that shows how you sustained the evidence, make sure you preserve it so that you are prepared for any challenges you might face while making the claim. If your claim is denied or if you feel that you deserve more, you can get in touch with one of our experienced Fall River, MA, workers’ compensation attorneys by calling 508-676-0001 to schedule a free initial consultation.