For over a year, businesses across Maryland have had to adjust the way they operate to keep workers and clients safe in a pandemic. In that time, many companies have determined that what might have been a temporary need for employees to work remotely could be a savvy long-term arrangement.
If you are one of the workers who telecommute regularly, you still remain covered by workers’ compensation laws.
While you may be more comfortable and relaxed working in your home, accidents can still happen. As one New York Times article notes, injuries involving back, wrist, neck and shoulder pain can be common among telecommuters.
Workers’ compensation benefits are available to covered employees who suffer injuries like these in the course of and arising out of their employment. Factors to consider for compensable worker’s compensation clams include the following:
- The nature of working from home
- Does the worker sit in front of desk all day, or does she fabricate or have an at-home workshop?
- What actual activity was the worker engaged in at the time of the accident?
- Was the worker in their normal at-home workspace, or in another area of the home?
- Were they in a hallway by their office, or were they in their basement far from the home office?
- Was the remote work required or voluntary?
- What, if any, rules or instructions were provided as to the nature of the remote work?
- The nature of the accident: slip and fall, strain, or laceration?
While these may be slightly different than claims involving a traditional workplace, the fact is that an employee hurt in the course of their employment can be eligible for compensation if they were at home.
Challenges that complicate claims
Telecommuters seeking benefits for a work injury can face some challenges in pursuing benefits, including proving that an accident occurred arising out of or in the course of a person’s employment.
Thus, it can be crucial to take the following steps:
- Report the injury to your employer as soon as possible
- Retain documentation from medical visits
- Note the conditions of your workspace
- Record the details of an accident, including time, date and place
These measures can make it easier to submit a successful claim for workers’ compensation benefits.
Maryland employees have enough to worry about thanks to COVID-19, including lockdowns, financial challenges, and the concern of the health of their family. A workplace injury, even if at home, are just make matters that much worse. However, knowing that you can still be protected and covered for medical care and lost wages after an injury is critical for the times we are in.