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Telecommuting Workers’ Comp

Workers Compensation Lawyers NY

Working from home has a lot of different advantages, so much so that many employees now consider it a condition for accepting a job offer and may not accept work that doesn’t allow them to spend at least part of their workweek at home. Nevertheless, telecommuting is still something of a brave new world, and both employees and employers are trying to figure out how it fits into the existing paradigm.

For example, if you are a telecommuting employee, do you still have the right to collect workers’ compensation if you get hurt while performing work duties? The short answer is yes, but here are some of the issues that can arise in trying to collect compensation for an injury that occurred while working from home.

Safe Workplace

In the past, employers argued that because they had no control over a home-based work environment, they had no obligation to cover the work-related injuries of telecommuting employees. However, the courts did not agree, ruling that an employer’s responsibility to his or her employees to provide a safe work environment and compensate them for injuries that occurred during activities performed for the employer’s benefit did not change because employees spent at least some of their time working from home.

After all, it is not only the location that determines whether an injury is work-related. If it were, you could not receive compensation for an injury that occurred while you were on a business trip, or running an errand for your boss, or driving in a delivery job. The most important factor is whether you were performing a work-related activity at the time of the injury or it arose out of your work. If so, you are eligible for compensation even if the injury occurred at home.

Worker Status

You can only receive workers’ compensation if you are an employee and not an independent contractor. However, don’t assume that working from home automatically makes you an independent contractor and not an employee. If your employer has the authority to control when, where, and how you work, you are an employee and eligible for workers’ compensation if hurt.

Burden of Proof

Even though you are eligible to receive workers’ compensation for an injury that arose from telecommuting, the burden of proof rests on you to demonstrate that it was, in fact, work-related and didn’t arise from another activity that took place in the home.

Proving an injury is work-related may not be as hard as it sounds. The workers’ compensation program has benefits for all involved, including the courts that would have to hear a lot more personal injury cases otherwise. If you are having difficulty with a telecommuting work comp claim, contact our office.

When considering legal representation options, consider locality. For example, if the work injury occurred in or near Brooklyn, NY, discuss your claim with New York workers compensation lawyers who are licensed and have ample experience representing clients in New York, such as Polsky, Shouldice & Rosen, PC.