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Are Injuries That Happen During Remote Work Covered by Workers’ Comp?

woman doing videoconference at homeThere are many ways people can suffer injuries at home. The risks may be even greater during the COVID-19 pandemic because many of us are spending most of our time at home each day. You could easily slip and fall when you get up from your desk to go grab a snack from the kitchen or to use the bathroom. 

If you get hurt while you are on the clock, will you be able to file a workers’ compensation claim? Are you even eligible for benefits?

This is an important question during this time, as many people may be earning much less than they did before. Getting hurt on the job and being unable to earn an income, even for just a few weeks, could be disastrous for victims and their families.

General Rules on Remote Work and Workers’ Compensation

Your at-home injury may be covered by California’s workers’ compensation system if it arises in the course of your employment. In other words, that means the injury must have been work-related.

You need to prove you were doing work-related activities at the time of your injury – the burden of proof is on you and your Fresno workers’ compensation lawyer.

While each situation is different, generally, the hazards you encounter at home when you are doing work are also considered the hazards of your employment.

However, your employer may have set guidelines for remote work that could have an effect on whether your claim may be approved. For example, your employer may have created a policy about where you should work when you are at home, including guidelines on ergonomics to prevent things like carpal tunnel syndrome. If you were in violation of those guidelines when the injury happened, you may be ineligible for benefits.

If you were sitting on the couch in front of the TV and not at your desk or in another quiet location, as mandated by your employer, your injury may not be compensable.

Your employer may limit you to certain activities while you are working from home, so if you do activities they do not want you to do, and you get hurt, your injury may not be covered.

If you were doing a household chore while you were on the clock, any injuries that occur during that time may not be covered.

Evidence for a Telecommuting Injury Claim

As the burden of proof will be on you and your lawyer in a workers’ compensation claim, there are various pieces of evidence that may help establish your injury was work-related, such as:

  • Timesheets
  • Emails and records of communications before and after the accident
  • Accounts from eyewitnesses
  • Pictures of your injuries
  • The accident report, particularly the date and time the report is filed compared to the date and time of your injury

As a workers’ compensation claim over a remote work injury may be more contentious than a regular workers’ compensation claim, it is important to notify your employer right away. You do not want to leave any room for doubt about when your injury happened and if it was work-related.

You should also consider contacting a lawyer right away to discuss whether you may have a valid claim. The sooner you contact an attorney, the sooner he or she can get to work pursuing benefits.

At our firm, we understand how vital benefits are during this difficult time, as many people have seen their hours cut and wages decrease.

Contact Berry, Smith & Bartell for a Free Legal Consultation About Your Injury

You can call our firm anytime, night or day, to set up a free legal consultation. We understand this has been a very difficult time for everyone across the country, and we are here to answer your questions.

If you have a valid claim, we are ready to manage every step of the process while respecting social distancing guidelines. We do not get paid unless you receive compensation and there is no obligation to pursue a case.

Learn more about workers’ compensation benefits and whether you may be eligible by scheduling your free legal consultation.

For a free case evaluation with Berry, Smith & Bartell, a Professional Law Corporation call 1-800-848-6288 today!

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