After an employee is injured at a factory, workers’ compensation should provide them with benefits to pay for their medical care and help them with the loss of income while they are recovering. The same goes for employees who are injured in the course of doing their jobs at a construction site, office, retail store or most other types or workplaces. But what about a worker who is injured while working from home?
This is an important question today, as so many Massachusetts residents have been working from home over the past year.
In the scope of employment
The simple answer to the question above is yes. A worker who is injured while working from home should be covered by workers’ compensation. In practice however, the question might not be so simple.
The Massachusetts workers’ compensation system requires nearly all employers to provide benefits to employees after they have suffered injury on the job, regardless of whether their injury occurred in an office or other building owned or rented by the employer. For instance, a worker whose job involves driving his company’s van to make deliveries should be covered by workers’ compensation if they are injured in a traffic accident while making a delivery. So long as the accident occurred in the scope of the worker’s employment, workers’ compensation should apply.
The same principle applies to telecommuters, or other people working from home. So long as the injury happens in the scope of the person’s employment — that is, while the person is doing their job — it should be covered by workers’ compensation.
To pay for the benefits for their employees, most employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Unfortunately, some types of insurance may not adequately cover injuries that occur at the employee’s home. To get out of paying the full amount of benefits the employee needs, insurers and employers may argue that the injury occurred outside of the worker’s scope of employment.
Workers’ compensation attorneys can help at many stages of the workers’ compensation process, from initial claims for benefits to arguing on appeal. They are particularly important in cases where a claim has been denied or the worker has not received the full amount of benefits they deserve.