If I am injured while working from home will I qualify for workers’ compensation benefits?
Due to the Coronavirus, more and more employees are working from home, many for the first time. This raises the question of what will or will not be covered if someone is injured while working from home.
In Virginia, to qualify for benefits, an injured worker must prove that the injury occurred in the course of the employment. The injured worker must also prove that the injury arose out of the employment. Given these burdens of proof, it may be difficult for an injured worker to prove a compensable injury while working from home.
Did the Injury Occur During “Normal” Business Hours?
The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission will most likely examine when the injury occurred. It will be important for an injured worker to establish the typical hours he or she normally worked from home. Did the injury occur during “normal” business hours? Having a set schedule of working hours will help to prove that the injury occurred in the course of the employment.
Where in Your Home Did the Injury Occur?
Another factor that will most likely be examined is where the injury occurred. Did the injured worker have a set working space from his or her home? Having a dedicated area in the home where work is normally conducted will also be helpful in establishing that the injury was work-related.
Did the Injury Arise from a Risk Peculiar to Employment?
The harder burden of proof will be proving that the injury arose out of the employment. In Virginia, an injured worker must prove that the injury was caused by a risk peculiar to his or her employment. If an injured worker lifts a box of files containing work-related documents, and injures his or her back, this would most likely be covered. If, however, an injured worker bends down to tie his or her shoe while working from home, this most likely will not be covered. This is because everyone who wears a laced shoe must bend down to tie it. Thus, the injured worker’s injury was not peculiar to his or her employment.
In reviewing claims for injuries while working from home, the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission will most likely carefully scrutinize the facts of each case. It will be important to be very fact-specific in describing how, when, and where the injury occurred. Having an attorney involved early on to assist you with an at-home injury will also be critically important.
If you or someone you know has been injured on the job, call the Allen Law Firm or fill out our contact form. We are here to help.