Due to the pandemic, a large number of companies have their workers completing their jobs from their homes. While the change in work scenery helps save workers from contracting a disease, it opens up an entirely new world of other issues.
One being, will injuries sustained while working for my employer at home be covered under workers’ comp laws? To make sure any injuries you sustain from working at home are covered, you need to work with an experienced workers’ comp attorney. Joseph Kritzer is a workers’ comp specialist who has the experience needed to navigate California’s legal system.
Overview Of Workers’ Comp Laws
The premise of workers’ comp laws is simple. If an employee is injured as a result of the work they perform for their employer, per California law, the employer is responsible for that injury. For example, if a restaurant employee slips and falls on a puddle of water in the restaurant, their employer must pay for any injuries they sustain. Employees must seek medical attention as soon as they can to have their claims covered. All employers in California must have workers’ comp insurance if they have employees.
Most workers’ comp claims are handled with little to no fanfare. An employee reports their injury to the insurance carrier designated by their employer, submits any required paperwork, the claim is paid, and that is the end of the story. However, some claims can go awry, and the result is the employer and insurance company denying the claim for a variety of reasons.
Are Injuries Sustained While Working From Home Covered Under Workers’ Comp Laws?
In a word, yes. If you are working for your employer in any capacity, it doesn’t matter where the work is taking place. If you are working, you are covered. Under the law, it doesn’t matter if that work is taking place in their office space or your living room. Work is work.
Some of the more common work from home injury claims stem from the lack of ergonomics in at-home workspaces. Desks and chairs may lack the proper height and design. Employees may be using laptops instead of desktops, leading to more neck and shoulder injuries. Lack of ergonomic keyboards can increase wrist injuries such as carpal tunnel.
Even though these injuries happened in your home, they happened while you were working for your company. Per OSHA requirements, this makes these injuries the responsibility of your employer. Therefore, these injuries would fall under existing workers’ comp claims. It is possible that some employers won’t see it that way and will attempt to fight valid work from home injury claims.
To ensure that you are following all company guidelines for working from home, ask to review your company’s telecommuting policy before accepting a work from home role or when transitioning to one. Knowing this information prior to beginning the role is prudent. Should you sustain any injuries while working from home, having a copy of the policy, and knowing that you followed it, is also important.
Such a policy would detail any responsibilities your employer has for providing materials for a home workspace. Said document would also review any requirements you would need to follow while working from home. These policies protect both you and your employer and outline everyone’s responsibilities.
What Can You Do When You Are Injured Working From Home?
The best thing you can do as an employee is to follow the same procedures that you would if you were injured in the physical work building. Report the injury to your supervisor and visit a medical professional. Some employers or workers’ comp insurance providers may require that you visit a specific medical professional. Have your injury evaluated and submit any medical documents that you are asked for. Complete any treatments and required follow-up visits. Failure to do so can harm your workers’ comp claim.
If your claim is challenged, seek professional legal counsel to handle your case. Injuries that happen at home while working are just as valid as those that happen on a company’s physical property.
Get Started On Your Claim Today
No matter where you physically are when you work for your employer, you are still their responsibility. Even if the injury happens in your home, it is still a work-related injury that they are responsible for. Contact workers’ comp specialist Joseph Kritzer to evaluate your case. He will make sure your employer takes responsibility for your work-related injuries, even when they happen in your home office.