Remote work is now a reality for more people than ever before. Telecommuting was on the increase even before COVID-19 but the pandemic has resulted in an increasing number of employees doing all or at least some of their work from home. This allows businesses to cut back on costs and some workers find it easier to be productive, making it a win-win situation. However, there is also a level of concern about whether people qualify for workers’ compensation insurance when they work remotely.
What the Law States About On-the-Job Injuries
As you may know, the workers’ compensation system allows for workers to claim benefits for injuries and occupational diseases they suffer as a result of their jobs. However, these injuries typically occur in an office, on a job site, or on the road in the case of drivers and other workers who drive as part of their duties. The question of whether an at-home injury constitutes a workplace injury is getting more attention than before.
Florida’s workers’ comp laws don’t state that employees need to be in a specific space to qualify for benefits if they get injured. Therefore, people who work from home should be covered. However, the specifics will vary from one case to the other so it’s necessary to get advice from an experienced workers’ compensation attorney in Florida.
The home is generally seen as a safe space but it actually presents some unique concerns. Not every remote employee has a home office and even if they do, there’s no guarantee that it’s ergonomically designed. As a result, remote workers may actually be at an increased risk of developing repetitive strain injuries including neck and back pain and carpal tunnel syndrome.
Also, without a commute or set lunch and break times, remote employees can work for longer hours than they would if they were in an office. The resulting fatigue and stress can make them more prone to accidents. Since an employee who is injured or ill may not be able to work, many turn to the workers’ compensation scheme for assistance.
When Is a Remote Worker’s Injury Covered by Workers’ Compensation?
For a work injury to be covered, the accident and injury must arise out of your employment and occur during the course and scope of your job. This means there must be a connection between the accident, your injuries, and your job. This connection can be hard to prove when you’re operating in your own space.
For example, you may not be able to show that you were working at the time you tripped over a computer or printer cord. Similarly, if your chair breaks while you’re typing a document, your employer and their insurance company may argue that the safety of your furniture is solely your responsibility. Your claim may also be challenged if you were injured while getting coffee or water even though you’re entitled to breaks during your workday.
On the other hand, if you develop carpal tunnel syndrome or another condition that’s clearly linked to your duties, your workers’ comp claim is more likely to be successful. Similarly, if a piece of equipment provided by the employer malfunctions and injures you, you could have a valid claim. Since there are so many variables at play, you need to consult a workers’ compensation attorney in Florida for advice on your situation.
What to Do After a Remote Work Accident
If you want to claim compensation following a workplace accident, you’ll need to take the right steps. If your injury is serious, your priority should be to seek medical attention. Then, you need to report the injury to your employer so they can notify their insurer. If your injury doesn’t constitute an emergency, you should contact your employer first so they can send you to an approved physician.
If you can, you should take photos of the area where the accident occurred so you have proof of what happened. If it turns out that you’re unable to work, you’ll need to make sure you get all the benefits to which you’re entitled. Hiring a workers’ comp lawyer is an excellent way to ensure you get fair compensation for your injuries.
Talk to a Florida Workers’ Comp Lawyer at Work Injury Rights Today!
Workers who would ordinarily be covered by workers’ compensation should still be covered even when they work from home. However, these cases can be complicated and there are lots of grey areas. If you suffered an injury while working from home, a Florida workers’ comp lawyer at Work Injury Rights can help you with your case. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.