Can You Collect Workers’ Compensation Benefits if You Were Injured at Home?
The number of people working from home and telecommuting has increased significantly in recent years. In fact, the COVID-19 pandemic prompted many employers across the United States to rethink workplace flexibility and switch to remote work.
One of the most common misconceptions about injuries suffered by remote workers is that you are not eligible for workers’ compensation if you were injured when working from home. Under Pennsylvania’s workers’ comp law, you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if you get injured while performing your job duties no matter where you work.
In fact, you are just as likely to get injured while working at home as you are when working at your company office. Unfortunately, many people do not realize that they may be able to receive workers’ compensation for injuries that they suffer when telecommuting.
Are You Eligible for Workers’ Compensation if You Get Injured While Working at Home?
Under Pennsylvania’s Workers’ Compensation Act, any employee who performs full-time, part-time, or seasonal work is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if they get injured at work.
The law does not require a worker to be working on the employer’s premises in order to be eligible for workers’ compensation. A work-from-home employee can receive workers’ compensation benefits as long as they can prove that they were performing their job duties when their injury occurred at home.
In 2003, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania ruled that a worker can collect workers’ compensation benefits if the employee was “acting in furtherance of the employer’s interests” when the injury occurred. Acme Markets, Inc. v. WCAB (PURCELL), 819 A.2d 143 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2003).
How to Receive Workers’ Compensation if You Were Injured at Home?
Just because you may be entitled to workers’ compensation when you get injured while working at home does not necessarily mean that collecting benefits will be easy. As a rule of thumb, a worker who sustains an on-the-job injury on the employer’s premises is presumed to be performing their job duties when the injury occurred.
The same cannot be said about injuries sustained while working at home. A work-from-home employee would bear the burden of proof to prove that they were injured at home while acting in furtherance of the employer’s interests in order to be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
Thus, the most challenging part of seeking workers’ compensation as a work-from-home employee is proving that your injury is related to work. Since your workers’ comp claim will be processed by your employer’s insurance company, the insurer is likely to question the validity of your claim, especially if you cannot demonstrate evidence to prove that you were injured within the course and scope of employment.
For this reason, it is important to:
- Seek immediate medical attention to document your injury;
- Notify your employer of your work-from-home injury; and
- Contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to help you gather evidence and collect benefits on your behalf.
Discuss your particular case with a Harrisburg workers’ compensation lawyer to determine whether you are eligible to receive workers’ comp benefits if you were injured while working at home. Contact our attorneys at Ira H. Weinstock, P.C., to schedule a consultation. Call at 717-238-1657.