Published on March 26th, 2022 | by minshewnetworks0
Working from Home and Workers’ Comp
Did you know that over 45% of workers in the United States work remotely? Working from home is a growing trend thanks to its flexibility. But, while it has many advantages, some might be hesitant to do so because they’re concerned they won’t receive basic benefits, especially workers’ compensation.
Below you’ll discover more information about workers’ compensation and how remote workers can obtain it.
What’s Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is insurance that covers workplace injuries or illnesses. For instance, if you’re a roofer and fall during a job, worker’s compensation will cover you should you be significantly injured.
How much you get varies depending on your insurance plan and how severe the injury is. It will also be based on the circumstances that caused the injury or illness.
When applying for workers’ compensation your request will be narrowed down into one of five categories:
- Temporary disability
- Permanent disability
- Wage loss
- Death benefits
You will need to define which one your injury or illness fits into for the insurance company. Most agencies will then ask various questions to clarify the request such as:
- Did your employer ask you to perform the task that caused the injury or illness?
- Was the task approved by your employer?
- What advantages did your employer receive while you were performing the job?
Can Home Workers Accept Workers’ Compensation?
Many wrongly think that if you work from home or are self-employed, you can’t receive workers’ compensation. Any working person can get this insurance if they meet the right qualifications. If you’re self-employed, you need to make sure to purchase insurance before working. There are plenty of cheap workers comp insurance options though to pick from.
To protect employees (and themselves from lawsuits), some businesses might demand that you designate a specific working space. This way, they can limit hazards that might result in an injury or illness. In some cases, a business might occasionally send a representative out to check the space and ensure it still meets the agreed guidelines. To further protect themselves, they could have you sign a home safety document that shows you agree with the terms they requested. If it turns out that your workspace didn’t follow these details, you could miss out on workers’ compensation.
If your employer needs you to drive to different locations for work, they might need you to sign a telecommuting policy. This defines a clear working schedule (such as meal breaks) and what your employer will cover should there be an accident.
Common At-Home Injuries Workers’ Compensation Covers
Any injury or illness can happen when working, but there are a few that remote workers tend to suffer from more. These include:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Back pain
Workers’ Compensation Exceptions
While you can receive workers’ compensation, keep in mind that just as with an on-site job, workers’ compensation is only available to remote workers if they get hurt while working.
Unlike many on-site workers, home workers usually have to provide a burden of proof. In other words, you need to have sufficient evidence that you were injured or got sick while working.
There’s also the coming-and-going rule you’ll need to consider. If you’re driving to a place required by your work and get into an accident, workers’ compensation won’t necessarily cover it. This will vary though depending on the circumstances and state you live in.
The last major exception is the personal comfort doctrine. This implies that even if an employee wasn’t directly working but doing something to help them work (such as getting a fresh cup of coffee) and got injured, workers’ compensation could apply. However, this can be very tricky and some insurances might not accept your plea.
What to Do if You’re Injured at Home
The first thing you’ll need to do is immediately contact your employer. If you wait for too long, you risk missing the workers’ compensation deadline (typically about 30 days after your injury or illness).
Make sure that you keep documentation of your claim. Without it, you’ll find it might be harder to convince insurance that your injury or illness qualifies for workers’ compensation. Some things that can assist with this include:
- Proof you contacted your employer immediately after the injury or illness
- Photos of the accident spot and your injury
- Medical or health receipts that show you needed assistance
Your employer will then need to write a report. You might also be requested to make a statement. They’ll then send this off to the insurance agency who will review it and usually contact you for more information before they accept or deny the claim.
Can I Sue an Employer?
If your workers’ compensation is denied or you decide to directly sue your employer, you can. Remember though that this tends to be a pricey option and your employer might be covered by employer liability insurance.
Workers’ compensation does cover remote employees, but it’s vital that you have evidence to prove your claim. With this information, you can better understand how this insurance works and ways you can protect yourself with it.