If you’re injured while working at home, you are entitled to a worker’s compensation claim in Massachusetts. Whenever you’re injured while on the clock, you’re entitled to a workers comp claim whether you were in an office, at home, or elsewhere.
Whether you’re still working remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic, or you’re a permanent remote worker, you’re still entitled to the right to file a workers comp claim as an employee, but it does come with additional challenges.
The main issue that you’ll need to overcome is proving you truly have a valid claim. When you’re injured at home, it’s far more likely that there weren’t any witnesses who could attest to when, where, and how you got hurt.
The most important thing for a workers’ comp claim is that you need to be able to prove you were injured while performing your job duties. As a remote worker, this means issues of proof are a bit harder to ascertain.
Essentially, anything that a person would do at work in the course of their job or workday is considered to be furthering your employer’s business and are therefore activities that - if injured while doing them - would entitle you to a workers’ comp claim.
Some examples might be:
- You trip up or down the stairs on the way to answer a work phone call
- You injure yourself on an authorized lunch break
- You injure yourself when getting a glass of water, or heading to the bathroom
- You injure yourself while communicating with a client or business partner
- You injure yourself while running an errand for work
If you’re injured at home, you should certainly expect some pushback and proof difficulties. Your claim will be harder to prove, but generally speaking, there is no reason you can’t collect workers’ compensation benefits if you were injured while working remotely.
What likely wouldn’t be a valid worker’s compensation claim is any injury sustained outside of the normal course of a workday, or outside of your job duties, or outside furthering your employer’s business. What is determined as “furthering your employer’s business” may be a question for the court to answer.
Some examples might be:
- Being injured while you’re doing school pick up or drop off for your child. Your boss may be fine with you doing this activity during your workday, but if injured while doing so it’ll be found that you were not injured while doing your job duties.
- Any type of personal errand or Doctor’s appointment - even if you’re technically still ‘on the clock’- will not constitute a worker’s comp claim.
- If you are injured while on a break such as a walk, even in the middle of your workday, it will likely not be a valid claim since a break will most likely be found to not be a job duty.
A Real-Life Example: Massachusetts Employee Collects Workers’ Comp After Sustaining Injury While on Work Call At Home
While our employees were working at home during the pandemic, we actually had an employee suffer a serious injury in the course of her job.
One of Spada Law Group’s Case Managers was on the phone with an insurance adjuster discussing one of our client’s injury cases when, as she was walking, she stepped awkwardly and severely broke her ankle.
She was seriously injured and had to be rushed to the hospital for surgery. Thankfully, she fully recovered.
As a result of her injury, however, she was entitled to workers’ compensation. In her case, it was very simple for the workers’ comp insurance company to verify the accident happened during performing her work duties since she was on the phone, having a work conversation, at the time it happened. The insurance company was able to call the insurance adjuster who was on the phone with our employee when her injury happened and he could describe what he heard on the other side of the phone to corroborate the accident.
For her, the importance of being able to prove that she was injured while doing her job duties was simple. There certainly are gray areas, however. If our employee had been walking around her neighborhood or running an errand while on this work call, rather than standing at her desk, for example, it’s possible her case could’ve been denied.
If you were injured while working remotely, give our office a call to schedule a free consultation to find out if you might have a workers’ compensation claim. Generally speaking, if you were injured in the course of performing your job - sometimes even including lunch breaks - you likely have a claim. Ultimately, what is or isn’t considered an essential part of your job is a question that a court might have to decide.
If you were injured while working at home, contact our workers’ compensation attorneys who will help you understand whether you have a workers compensation claim, an injury claim, or both.