In recent years and especially over the past year, more employees have been doing some or all their work from their homes. While your house may seem like a safe environment, you are not immune to work-related injuries simply because you are working remotely.
Remote workers are more likely to work at odd hours and tend to be less likely to take regular breaks than their in-office counterparts. This may lead to conditions such as fatigue, neck or back pain, carpal tunnel or eye strain.
What happens if you sustain an injury while working from home? Are you still eligible for a workers’ compensation claim?
What injuries qualify?
An employee who is working from home has the same rights to workers’ compensation coverage as an employee who is working on-site. To qualify for workers’ compensation, an injury must be work-related. Your injury may be work-related even if it occurred outside regular working hours or while you were taking a break from work.
What counts as work-related?
Courts use several criteria to determine whether an injury is work-related. First, an injury is probably work-related if your employer was benefitting from the activity that caused your injury. Second, if your employer asked you to engage in the action that caused the injury, your injury is likely work-related. Third, if your injury happened during an activity that your employer approved beforehand, the injury is probably work-related.
Every claim is different, and not all work-from-home injuries qualify for workers’ compensation. However, workers’ compensation laws do not preclude coverage for workers who are working from home.