If you are injured on the job while working from home, can you still get workers compensation benefits?
These are unprecedented times, and many American workers have been working from home for the past few months as a way to protect themselves and others from the COVID-19 pandemic.
It can be difficult to separate your home life from your work life when right now both environments are one and the same. However, if you get injured on the job at home, can you still get compensated?
What Does the Law Say?
Missouri worker’s comp laws state that any injury sustained at work, or as a direct result of performing a work activity is eligible for workers’ compensation. Eligibility is not limited just to the confinements of the designated workspace, but the issue of on the clock or not does come into question.
It’s why, for instance, you can get compensated if you get injured while making a house visit to one of your customers. In these cases, since your job requires you to make house visits, you are likely eligible for compensation even if you were not at your employment headquarters. Your eligibility for compensation would only come into question if it was unclear whether it was part of your job to make the house call, or if you were doing it outside your official work hours.
Why Working from Home Complicates Your Case
Unfortunately, if you sustain an injury while working from home, your worker’s comp claim will generally not be easy.
It is the burden of the worker to prove that they sustained the injury in the scope of their employment, meaning you were indeed working or performing an action related to your work. For instance, if you had to go to another room to get a file you needed for a report, slipped, and injured yourself, you should generally be able to get a worker’s compensation for this injury.
If, however, you were on a break and went outside for some fresh air, then slipped, it is possible to be denied compensation. The insurance company could argue that you going out put you outside of the scope of your employment since neither your job nor your boss required you to do it.
This is because the principle of worker’s compensation is that your employment is, in a way, the root cause for the injury. If not for your job, the injury or illness may not even have happened in the first place. But when the actions of the worker take them outside the scope of their employment, meaning they choose to be somewhere or do something, the case gets blurry.
What Are Your Options?
The result of your case in this scenario comes down to how well you can prove that your injury was work-related. It is always a good idea to speak with an experienced Kansas City work injury lawyer for additional assistance in proving to the insurance company that your injury is indeed eligible for these benefits.
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