Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, approximately 42% of all U.S. employees now work from home. This staggering statistic highlights just how much changes in terms of employment law. Even though remote employees now do their work from home, many are still entitled to the same benefits and coverage they would normally receive. If you sustain an injury while working from home, you might still be eligible for compensation.
As a Cincinnati workers’ compensation specialist, Mark L. Newman advocates for injured and disabled workers. If you are a remote worker who sustained an injury while working from home, we’re here to explain how you might be eligible for compensation.
Does Workers’ Comp Cover Injuries While Working From Home?
In many cases, yes. If you are a covered employee, you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. This only applies, however, if you were acting within the scope of your employment, or doing your job. In Ohio, all employers must maintain active workers’ comp coverage for their employees. Regardless of how remote workers sustain injuries while performing their job duties, they are eligible for benefits.
Independent contractors typically do not receive workers compensation, as they are not someone else’s employee. In Ohio, workers’ compensation is “no-fault” insurance, which means that as long as the injury did not result from drugs, intoxication, or roughhousing, the worker will receive compensation.
Do Telecommuters Receive Workers’ Compensation Coverage?
In some cases, yes. “Telecommuters” are simply remote employees. In this situation, your home is your place of work. The rules on this area of the workforce are changing and still murky. This is why it’s best to speak with a certified Workers’ Compensation specialist. It is important to note that injuries sustained going to or from work are not compensable workers comp claims in Ohio.
What If I Sustain an Injury While Working From Home During the COVID-19 Pandemic?
Almost every job has at least a minor risk of injury. You are entitled to workers’ compensation for most injuries you sustain during your work hours. Immediately after an accident or injury, document the occurrence in as much detail as possible. Take pictures of your injuries, as well as the scene of the accident. This is critical, as there might be no witnesses around.
Report your injury to your employer right after it happens, then seek medical treatment. Above all else, put your health first. Some injuries don’t present themselves right away, and they could worsen with time. The best way to report your injury is through a medium that lasts, like a written statement. Once your employer files an incident report, request a copy of it from them.
At the doctor’s office, make it clear that you were actively working when the incident occurred. This way, your health care provider knows that the injury was occupational in nature. If your doctor decides that you must stay at the hospital or miss more than seven days of work, make sure they know you intend to file a claim. With this knowledge, your doctor will file a First Report of Injury, which is important when filing a claim. As the claimant, it is a good idea for you to follow the claim protocol outlined by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC).
Follow your doctor’s instructions as strictly as possible. Any indication that your injury was not as serious as you reported, such as ignoring doctor’s orders, could be used against you.
If I Get COVID-19, Can I File a Claim?
Whether or not your claim is valid depends on the nature of how you contracted COVID-19. In general, diseases are not compensable claims, as people contract them in a multitude of different ways and locations. However, if your job scope involves potential COVID-19 exposure, your claim might be valid.
Contact an Experienced Cincinnati Workers’ Compensation Specialist
For over 30 years, Mark L. Newman has championed workers’ compensation claims for injured and disabled workers. Each and every client receives personal attention, and he achieves the best possible outcomes in a timely and effective manner. Mark has represented thousands of clients, and has a deep understanding of the Ohio Workers’ Compensation system.
If you are unsure of your workers compensation rights as a telecommuter, Mark L. Newman is here to walk you through the process. These processes are complicated, but with a specialist on your side, you can easily navigate the court system. Contact Mark L. Newman today at 513-721-1350 for a free consultation, or visit our website.