As technological advances make it easier and companies become more flexible in order to attract and accommodate workers, more and more employees are working from home or other remote locations than ever before. This raises a question that is being asked by a growing number of people nationwide: Are injuries incurred while telecommuting eligible for workers’ compensation, aka workers’ comp?
Telecommuters will be relieved to know that in most cases, injuries sustained stemming from or during work-associated tasks are covered by workers’ comp. This means that if you were involved in an activity in service of your employer, or in another way pursuant to the job – even if out of the office – your impairment will most likely be included under this umbrella. Coverage is possible regardless of whether there was negligence on your part, with the exact legal specifications varying depending on which state you’re in.
While there haven’t been a great number of telecommuting workers’ comp cases to date, the ones that have come up have been ruled in favor of the workers. These cases include:
- Interior decorators who were examining samples whilst in their garage and tripped over their pets
- Professors in their home office who have fallen over papers
- A woman who was in her kitchen making lunch and was assaulted
Does Your Injury Qualify?
Many afflictions that you’d seek workers’ comp coverage for as a telecommuter are the same as ones that would come up in a more traditional office environment. Some common ones are:
- Back strains and sprains
- Neck pain
- Auto accidents when the excursion is job-related
- Falls, slips and trips
- Issues related to repetitive motion, e.g. carpal tunnel syndrome
What Action Should Be Taken?
If you have a workers’ comp claim, your first step is to communicate the impairment to your employer – ideally in writing – and catalog as much of the issue as possible. You should receive a claims form from the company, to be completed and returned in a timely manner. The company will then handle the communication with the insurance organization that will prepare the workers’ comp benefits’ finance allocation.
If you receive word that your employer lacks the proper insurance coverage, hasn’t adequately filed your claim, or your claim has been rejected, the next step is to seek the counsel of an experienced workers’ comp attorney. This way you can get the financial support you need in order to recuperate, recover and get back to doing your job.