In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, more employees are working from home—at least on a part-time basis. According to the California Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO), 40% of the state’s total workforce are employed in positions that could be done solely or partially remotely. As accidents can happen anywhere, the rise of work-from-home has created some challenges.
This raises an important question: Can an employee get workers’ comp if they are hurt while working from home? The short answer is ‘yes’—but these claims are complicated and benefits are always determined on a case-by-case basis. Below, our Fresno workers’ compensation lawyer highlights three things to know about if you were injured while working from home in California.
First and foremost, it is important to emphasize that you have the right to apply for workers’ compensation benefits if you were hurt while working-from-home in California. You do not have to be physically located on your employer’s premises to be covered by workers’ comp. An accident that occurs off-site, including inside your own home, could be covered by workers’ compensation insurance in California.
Similar to the majority of other U.S. jurisdictions, California uses the ‘course and scope’ of employment standard for workers’ compensation claims. Under this standard, an injury, illness, or other medical impairment is only covered by workers’ comp if it is “work-related.” If you are working from home, this means that you must have been hurt while doing professional work and not a personal activity. For example, if you trip while taking your dog for a walk during your break in the middle of the work day, that is almost certainly not going to be covered by workers’ comp insurance in California. You must be able to establish work-related connections to get benefits.
Workers’ compensation claims can be complicated—especially for work-from-home employees. If you are hurt while on the job, at your employer’s premises, your injury will generally be presumed to be work-related. An employer and/or claims administrator must prove otherwise in order to deny you benefits on those grounds.
However, with work-from-home injuries, the burden generally falls in the other direction. That is to say that work-from-home employees must be prepared to provide evidence that shows that their injury/impairment is work-related. If they are not able to do so, a workers’ compensation claim is likely to be denied on the grounds that they simply suffered a personal and not a professional injury.
Joseph C. Yrulegui is a top workers’ compensation attorney. If you were hurt working from home in California, Mr. Yrulegui can help. Contact us now for more information about your workers’ compensation rights. With a law office in Fresno, we provide workers’ comp representation throughout the surrounding area, including in Fresno County. Kings County, Tulare County, Mariposa County, and Merced County.