The coronavirus isn’t the only thing that’s novel. The COVID-19 pandemic has raised many novel questions for the legal field. With so many working from home in 2020 and possibly beyond, you may be wondering if workers’ compensation still applies if you get injured. Let’s break it down.
Workers’ Compensation: A No-Fault System
Typically, if you’re injured during the “course and scope of employment” you’re covered under your employer’s workers’ comp insurance. This is called a no-fault system because it doesn’t matter if your negligence or someone else’s contributed to the injury.
Working from home, though, means that people aren’t working onsite. In these cases, employees are usually covered for injuries incurred off-site. But the primary consideration in these cases is if the injury was, indeed, work-related. That can be tough to prove when you work from home.
Theoretically, a work-from-home related injury could have occurred at any time a person was at home, whether they were working or not. So proving that the injury happened during the “course and scope of employment” can be more challenging than usual when it comes to workers’ comp claims.
Business as Usual: The Typical Workers Compensation Criteria
Qualifying for workers’ comp means meeting specific criteria. The following questions are often used to determine if workers’ compensation is warranted:
- Was the off-site activity approved in advance?
- Was the employee required to perform the activity that caused the injury?
- Did the employee’s actions that led to the injury benefit the employer?
If you can explain how an injury was work-related, then you may be awarded workers’ compensation.
How does this differ for those working from home?
Injuries incurred while working from home will involve a more fact-intensive inquiry since they are harder to prove.
However, due to COVID-19, employees may not face as much scrutiny in workers’ comp cases as they would have before the pandemic. The changing nature of work and government mandates shuttering onsite workplaces is leading to an increase in workers’ comp claims for injured at-home workers.
Workers’ Compensation and Working From Home: A Takeaway
For organizations that aren’t considered “essential,” the only way to stay in business is to enable employees to work from home as much as possible. Providing the basic workers’ comp protection is a key element of business continuity during the Covid-19 pandemic.
If you’ve been injured during the course and scope of work while at home, then your first step is to file a claim for workers’ compensation. At the law offices of Eden Rafferty, we’ve been helping injured workers throughout Massachusetts file for and obtain workers’ compensation benefits.
Has your claim been denied? That doesn’t mean the fight is over yet. An experienced attorney can help you decide the best course of action and how to obtain and maximize your benefits.