In today’s global economy, a growing number of employees telecommute and otherwise work from home. And, while it seems like a home office or other type of home work area may be a very safe, injury-free environment, employees do suffer work-related accidents that result in injuries. The question for many employees is whether they can receive workers’ compensation benefits for injuries sustained while working at home.
The Answer is Yes. . . Generally
The general answer to this question is yes. In the vast majority of cases, an employee is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for any injury or illness suffered that arises out of and in the course of employment. This is true regardless of where the injury occurs.
A workers’ compensation claim for a home-office workplace injury is, however, a bit more complicated to prove; you may require legal counsel in order to successfully navigate the process. At Petro Cohen, we have significant experience representing employees who suffered injuries while working from home. Contact us today to discuss your case.
The Burden is on You to Show You Were Injured While Working
Like all workers’ comp claims, the burden is on the employee to sufficiently demonstrate that the claimed injury arose out of and in the course of employment. What does this mean exactly? Essentially, it means that, in order to be eligible for workers’ comp benefits, you must hurt yourself while doing work for your employer. Therefore, as you can probably imagine, the specifics are very important, and every claim is decided on a case-by-case basis.
If an employer and/or its workers’ comp insurance carrier decide to challenge your claim, the specifics of your injuries become extremely important. Unlike a work injury suffered at a business office or in a factory, injuries suffered at home must be sufficiently illustrated and explained to the boss.
In Oregon, an appeals court recently determined that an at-home employee was entitled to workers’ comp benefits when she suffered injuries when tripping over her dog. Because the employee was required to keep work materials at her home as part of her job duties, the court determined that walking to her garage to get the materials did in fact arise out of and in the course of her employment.
In this unique case, the court emphasized that the specific facts are determinative of whether Oregon’s workers’ comp statute applied. It can be surmised that the same is true in New Jersey.
Don’t Take Any Chances – or Assume that the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Carrier is Correct
The bottom line is that when an employee’s home serves as a workspace, the employer and insurance carrier should find that the hazards of working at home are the same as the hazards of employment. Just as with on-site employees, employers must provide their remote workers with a safe work environment.
Contact Us Today
If you are unable to work due to an injury suffered while working from home, it is important to seek experienced legal help as soon as possible. This specific area of workers’ comp law is complex; you should not take any chances in trying to handle the matter without counsel.
Call or contact us today for a free consultation. Talk to an experienced lawyer who can help you identify and sort out your rights. We can be reached by phone at 888-675-7607, or you can complete our online form.