The model of the American workplace is changing, and many employees have found themselves permanently working from home or going into the office on a rotating schedule. Fortunately, one thing that has stayed the same is workers’ compensation insurance.If you have been injured while working at home, you likely qualify for workers’ comp benefits.
It is, however, much easier to prove that you were injured on the clock if you were in the office under direct supervision than if you were in your home office or at your kitchen table. Still, workers’ comp should cover your work-related injuries in and out of the office, as long as you can prove that the injury occurred in the “course and scope of employment.”
Just like an in-office injury, the first thing to do after a work-from-home injury is to notify your employer as soon as possible, either in writing or via email. (Under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, employees have 45 days to report the injury to their employer, but it is best to report the injury sooner rather than later.) Make sure to note where you sustained your injury and at what date and time, as well as any other parties present or involved. You will also need to note that you were performing the duties of your job at the time. Sadly, workers’ comp will not cover an injury that was sustained while performing tasks outside of the scope and course of your job, even if you were in your usual remote workspace.
Typically, the employer and their workers’ comp insurance provider will consider the following questions in reviewing your claim:
- Were your actions at the time of your injury benefiting you or the employer?
- Were you required by your employer to engage in the task/activity that led to your injury?
- Was the injury-causing activity an employer-approved activity?
Workers’ comp is a no-fault insurance, so you can collect benefits regardless of whether you were at fault for your injury. This means that if you developed carpal tunnel syndrome, slipped on work papers, or even tripped over your work computer charger, you may have a strong case if you were on the clock and engaged in work-related tasks. That being said, if you were breaking your employer’s rules leading up to your injury, such as by drinking alcohol on the job, you would not qualify for workers’ comp benefits.
After you report the injury to your employer, preserve any evidence that may prove the details of your injury and what caused it. Then, seek medical help. Remember to tell your health care provider that you were injured while working at home. The inclusion of that detail in your medical records can be crucial to your workers’ comp claim.
It is also a good idea to consult a workers’ comp attorney for help with your claim. Many employees have their claims denied or benefits minimized; an experienced attorney will work to ensure that your claim covers all bases, increasing your chances of collecting your full and fair benefits. If you need to appeal a denied workers’ comp claim, an attorney can also guide you through the appeals process. You do not have to navigate the bureaucracy of these claims alone.
Our acclaimed attorneys have helped injured employees in Central and Southern Illinois since 1996. If you were injured while working at home in Charleston, contact The Tapella & Eberspacher Law Firm online for a free consultation. We can also be reached by phone at (217) 394-5885.