For many years, the worker’s compensation system was largely straightforward. Over the past few years, laws deregulating drugs and increased remote work in the post-Covid workplace have led to many worker’s compensation complications. Remote workers are largely desk workers who provide non-strenuous services, however, that doesn’t mean injuries don’t happen. So, what happens if you are injured while working from home? Is your injury covered? Unlike other types of workplace injuries, the answers to these questions are not easy. While remote workers may be eligible for worker’s compensation benefits, whether the claim is approved will largely depend on the details provided about the incident. Many factors will need to be considered before a decision can be made regarding the viability of a work-from-home (WFH) workplace incident.
The Quality of Your Injury Report: Every worker’s compensation case will require a level of investigation and strategy, but the viability of a WFH compensation claim will hinge on the cause of the injury and detailed reports of the incident. Certain injuries, like burns or slips and falls, could be challenging to justify unless the employee’s work responsibilities can be linked to similar accidents. Incidents and injuries directly linked to employee responsibilities are less complicated and are usually considered reasonably related to workplace duties. For example, if your WFH job requires you to pack and load boxes of merchandise for shipping, and you strain your back.
The Location of the WFH Injury: Being injured while completing work-related tasks seems straightforward causation, however, it can be difficult to justify workplace injuries that happened within your home. It’s difficult for employers to prove that workplace injury is work-related when they happen within an employee’s home. Using the same example from before, if you pack boxes at home and become injured while transporting those boxes to a public place to ship them, your injury happens in a public place. Your case is less complicated and likely to move forward. If the injury happens inside your home, it can be challenging to prove you didn’t hurt your back doing personal activities around your home.
Frequency of Remote Work: If your job is primarily WFH and you spend little to no time in the office, it could strengthen your worker’s compensation claim. If your claim is based on the single time you worked from home, your employer may not approve your claim. Your employer may find it difficult to approve a compensation claim regarding a WFH injury that happened the one time the employee worked from home. An employer’s insurance provider could require an investigation to prove the validity of a claim involving a single WFH day leading to an accident.
These complicated WFH compensation issues can lead to extensive investigation and varied case-specific results. Each case would be evaluated, and determinations made on the merits of the information provided.