It used to be that you woke up, got ready for work, got in your car and headed to the office or job site. That still happens, but now more than ever people wake up, turn on their computer and are at work. That’s because more and more industries are offering their employees the ability to telecommute and work from home.
From sales jobs to customer service to marketing to even some nursing positions, most jobs these days can be done over the phone and via an internet connection. The number of people working in their boxers has never been higher.
Employers do this to save money. What this doesn’t do though is end your rights to bring an Illinois workers’ compensation claim if you are injured while working at home.
The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act provides medical care and compensation for employees who are injured while furthering the interests of their employer. An employee injured during the course of work is entitled to workers’ compensation regardless of where the injury occurred. While the lines between work and personal business can be blurred when working from home, it’s really not much different than the rules for when you are hurt at your employer’s primary place of business.
For a telecommuter injury to be covered under the Workers’ Compensation Act, telecommuters must show that their the injuries arose out of and occurred within the course of employment, during ‘routine’ work hours that would normally be conducted in the office setting.
In the same way employers must ensure safe working conditions on company property, employers must also provide a safe work environment for telecommuters. If you get carpal tunnel from excessive typing at home, it’s a compensable case. If you trip on a computer cord while working or a wet floor, even at your house, if you suffer an injury it’s a case.
There have been cases of professors slipping on papers, a sales rep injured while building shelving in his garage and even interior decorators who have tripped over their dogs while viewing samples in their garage kitchen have all been found to have workplace injuries that qualify for workers’ comp.
Because you are not likely to have any witnesses to an accident at home, we strongly urge you to immediately report anything that happens to a supervisor. This is best done by email as it proves that it was reported. And of course you should also immediately get medical care and let the doctor know that while you were hurt at home, it was while doing job activities. The insurance company is looking for any reason possible to deny your case and if a medical report says hurt at home without more details, it may be used to cut off your benefits.
Bottom line is that all employees are covered for work related injuries no matter where they happen. In fact, even if you normally work in an office, but bring work home with you and that leads to an injury, you are covered.
If you have any questions or want a free consultation, call us any time for help anywhere in Illinois at 312-346-5578.