Workers’ comp is the system in place to protect workers from all work-related injuries. This may seem like a simple enough concept on the surface. If you were injured while working, then workers’ comp covers your injury costs, right? Unfortunately, the lines between what is and isn’t considered work-related can muddy the issue a bit. For instance, do you know if you would be covered if you were working from home and were injured? This guide will explain this confusing issue.
Workers’ Comp Eligibility
The issue of what is considered a work-related injury usually boils down to whether or not the individual was working toward the benefit of the employer at the time. To dive into more details, there are two general conditions that must be met. These are more like guidelines for making eligibility judgment calls, rather than strict qualifications. They are:
- Your actions must be part of your job expectations
- You be an employee
Independent contractors and volunteers may be paid, but they are not considered employees. On the other hand, an employee who is injured while on break may not receive workers’ comp. Along these guidelines, you very well may be covered while working from home. The key to remember is that the specific action you were taking that resulted in injury must be related to your work.
So, if you were cut by a broken piece of glass while working from home, chances are slim that it will be covered. However, if you hurt your back while loading packages that were stored in your home, that will likely be covered.
There is a rule called the “coming and going” rule. This rule states that injuries sustained while commuting to or from work are not covered by workers’ comp. An argument could be made that a car accident that happened while driving to work is work-related and would not have happened if not for the job. But the coming and going rule states that this injury is not eligible for workers’ comp.
There are exceptions to this rule, however. For example, if you were driving a company vehicle, then it is as if you were already on the clock and simply returning company property. The thing to remember is that workers’ comp eligibility is more subjective than we would like to think. If you feel that you are in danger of being unfairly rejected for coverage, you should immediately speak with a workers compensation attorney in the Bronx who specializes in workers’ compensation cases.
Thanks to Polsky, Shouldice & Rosen, P.C. for their insight into workers compensation and injuries while working from home.