Remote work has taken off in the last couple of years, and the sudden uptick in work-from-home positions has also brought up plenty of new questions. To start, what about workers’ compensation? Can remote workers make a workers’ comp claim if they’re injured while working from home? Learn more about these claims and the challenges you face.
Are you having a hard time getting your workers’ comp claim approved? Millions of other workers have faced similar issues. Let us help. Call Thiry & Caddell at 251-478-8880 to set up a consultation now.
Principles of Workers’ Compensation
All workers’ comp cases follow the same basic principles in Alabama. Workers’ compensation insurance covers an employee’s medical expenses if they suffer a work-related illness or injury. It also provides partial income replacement and protects the employer from personal injury claims. The injury coverage provided by workers’ compensation covers both injuries caused by an accident and repetitive injuries caused by the wear and tear of an employee’s job.
To qualify for workers’ compensation, you must be actively engaged in workplace duties at the time of the injury. Your claim may be denied if you were doing something else at the time of the accident. For example, consider a storage facility. During downtime, you and a coworker find two long, narrow boxes and start fighting with them. During the fight, your coworker’s box scratches your eye and you get a scratched cornea. In this case, workers’ compensation would likely deny your claim.
The Extent of Your Job Duties
It’s important to be very clear with your employer about what your job duties are to avoid a misunderstanding with workers’ compensation. If you start with a certain job description and your immediate supervisor slowly adds more and more dangerous tasks, you could run into difficulties when you are injured doing one of those tasks.
This is also fairly confusing for remote employees. Is it work-related if you’re walking from your kitchen with a cup of coffee back to your home office? What about if you go on a walk for your lunch break and fall on the way home?
Many of these questions are still being figured out. However, when trying to answer this question for yourself, imagine if it happened in a work environment. If you were walking from the office kitchen to your office and got hurt, would it be a valid workers’ comp claim? It probably would. If you tripped and injured yourself during your lunch break from the office, it probably would not.
Employers have limited control over their remote employees’ work conditions. This may put them at greater risk of workers’ comp claims, particularly if employees live in cluttered or unsafe conditions. As a result, you may see more and more employers place strict restrictions on remote employees.
They may have specific requirements for how your workspace is set up, which equipment you use, and how clean your work environment is kept. They do this in hopes of driving down workers’ compensation claims and keeping employees safe.
What to Do If You Are Injured While Working Remotely
In theory, remote employees should have an easy time filing an injury claim while working from home. In practice, you may see a greater number of these claims being denied simply because they happened at home. That’s why it’s important to act quickly to protect yourself and your right to compensation.
You should notify your supervisor immediately if you are injured on the job. Make sure you provide written notice as well as verbal notice. Use the state-approved accident form to ensure that your accident is properly documented. If you receive any pushback from your employer, don’t waste time. Consult an Alabama workers’ compensation attorney right away to avoid unnecessary delays in getting your claim approved.
Discuss Your Workers’ Compensation Claim with Thiry & Caddell
You deserve fair treatment after suffering a workplace injury, but many employers routinely deny valid claims. If you’re part of this group, let us support you as you pursue fair compensation. Give us a call at 251-478-8880 or reach out online to right away. Don’t let an employer or insurance company illegally deny you the workers’ compensation payments you are owed.