Working from home is a popular concept among businesses and organisations today. This arrangement allows workers to perform their duties in the comfort of their homes. However, just like the traditional office working style, remote working presents various physical and psychological risks that expose employees to injury. What happens if you get injured when working from home? Does your employer's workers' compensation still cover you?
Employees can file an injury claim and seek compensation for work-at-home injuries. However, to determine the success of your claim, you need to address the questions below.
What were the circumstances for the injury?
Working from home presents various challenges when it comes to defining the circumstances of an injury. For you to receive compensation, you need to show:
- You got injured while engaging in an activity that benefits your employer
- You got injured during working hours
- Your employer had approved remote working in advance
For example, if you trip and fall down the stairs while going to grab some office documents in your home library, you can seek compensation for your injuries. This is because you suffered the injury while engaging in a work-related activity. However, you must get injured during working hours to file a claim. Therefore, if you trip and fall during out-of-office hours, your employer's insurer may deny your claim.
Are the injuries related to your work?
Workplace injuries can be physical, emotional or psychological. If you suffer back pain due to a non-ergonomic workstation, your employer is liable to compensate you for the injuries. Your employer has a responsibility to ensure a safe work environment, even when you are working remotely. Therefore, if your office chair or desk hurts your back, your employer should compensate you for the injuries.
Similarly, if your employer asks you to work extra hours, and you suffer chronic stress as a result, you can file a compensation claim. However, you must show that the stress is directly connected to work activities. If you are going through personal issues such as divorce, it's hard to prove that work is the only cause of your emotional stress.
What are your state's laws on negligence?
Negligence is a key factor in personal injury cases. However, in Australia, all jurisdictions have a no-fault policy. In this case, workers should receive compensation regardless of who was at fault. Therefore, you can file a no-fault WorkCover claim without having to prove employer negligence. However, if you have suffered serious injuries and are pursuing a lump-sum payout, you can file a common law claim. Here, you must prove the other party's negligence to receive compensation.
Have you suffered an injury while working from home and aren't sure whether you can file a claim? Contact a lawyer for more information.