Obviously our lives are changing in ways that did not seem imaginable months ago due to Coronavirus. My friend works at the Hancock Tower and his 700 person office is empty. They are all under instructions to work from home. Of course that isn’t unique and they are lucky to even have their jobs.
I did a post last week about how Coronavirus will affect Illinois workers’ compensation cases. As I said at the end of that post, this is a fluid situation. I don’t think I appreciated then how many people would be asked to work remotely. That brings up the question, what happens while you are injured while working at home?
The short answer is that you can still get workers’ compensation benefits. If you are typing a lot and get carpal tunnel, as long as that typing is for work, you should have a case. If you are walking around your office and trip on a cord and fall and get hurt, it’s likely a case. If you lift a box of work supplies and hurt your back, it’s a case even though it happened in your spare bedroom.
Getting hurt while working at home or at an office building is mostly the same. There are some things to think about though:
- There are likely no witnesses. Illinois work injuries don’t have to be witnessed, but it could be a factor.
- Since there won’t be a witness to you falling, dropping something, etc. it’s more important than ever that if you do get hurt that you notify HR or a supervisor right away and of course get medical treatment right away. I recommend that you do it in writing so there is no dispute as to when you reported it.
- *** Key point. When you go to the doctor, you will be asked verbally and in writing how you hurt yourself. If you say you were at home and hurt your back lifting a box, you will likely lose your case. If the truth is that you were hurt at home while doing work for your employer, you have to make it clear. Otherwise it won’t be a workers’ compensation case. Whatever it is, just tell the truth.
- Some things that you wouldn’t be a work injury might be such as getting hurt while taking a bathroom break. It’s all fact specific, but you’d be wise to ask an attorney if you get hurt.
We will always talk to people for free about their legal questions. Now more than ever it’s important to have information. If you want a free consultation with a lawyer, call us at 312-346-5578, start a live chat or fill out the contact form and we will call or email you.