Even though we’re slowly shifting out of the pandemic phase, one thing is expected to remain—a work-from-home (WFH) work model. But what happens to those employees who sustain injuries while working at home? After all, they’re on the job. This post will examine how workers’ compensation (WC) rights work for WFH employees.
Types of WFH injuries
The significant uptick in remote work begs critical questions: What if an employee gets injured while working at home? Is this covered by workers’ compensation rights? When should WFH employees hire a workers’ compensation attorney? To answer these questions, you must first understand the types of WFH injuries that may qualify for claims with your employer. We outline them below.
The WFH environment can leave many employees with aches and pains resulting from poor ergonomics at the workstation, slouching, staring at laptop screens, and sitting on desks with the wrong posture for too long. Some of the most common cumulative injuries include neck and shoulder pain, back pain, tight hips, eye fatigue, damaged retina, wrist pain, leg cramps, carpal tunnel syndrome, and tendonitis.
Slips, trips, and falls
Falls resulting from slips and trips are the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death in the United States, according to the National Safety Council. In 2020, 805 workers died in falls, and 211,640 were injured badly enough to require days off work.
When can you make workers’ compensation claims?
Remote workers are typically covered under WC policies if an injury or illness occurs while an employee is completing a job task during work hours. There are some conditions you need to fulfill to qualify for a WC claim while working from home. These include:
- you have the employer’s approval to work from home;
- you were acting in the interest of the employer at the time you got sick or injured;
- you have sufficient evidence to prove the injury was work-related.
Notably, federal law doesn’t allow workers’ compensation benefits to be paid to an employee injured while commuting to or from work. This is because the employee isn’t “rendering any service to the employer” during a typical commute to the job site.
How a worker’s compensation attorney can help
Are you wondering when to hire a workers’ compensation attorney? It can be challenging to prove your home injury is genuinely work-related. If you have any doubts about reporting a claim, we encourage you to contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.
Workers’ compensation laws are different in every state. And these laws are quite complex to interpret. States can also choose to amend their laws at any time and for any reason. A lawyer can help you understand these diverse laws and determine your eligibility for filing WC claims.
Whether or not an injury is sufficiently work-related to be covered by WC can be quite a fact-specific decision, and courts may disagree on similar fact patterns. A workers’ compensation attorney can help you build a strong case and maximize your chances of success. Also, an attorney will help clarify your next steps and how to handle the challenges in your case.
Not sure if your injury or illness qualifies for federal workers’ compensation? Take this online FECA benefits eligibility quiz to find out. Looking for an experienced employment law attorney you can trust? Contact LegalASAP today for a free evaluation of your case.