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Can Remote Workers Get Workers’ Comp If They’re Hurt at Home?

On Behalf of | Apr 23, 2021 | Workers' Compensation

The COVID-19/coronavirus pandemic has altered things for millions of workers around the world. Many companies have switched to remote workers who perform their jobs from home to promote social distancing. An increase in remote work options has led to more workers asking whether workers’ compensation covers their injuries while working from home. The answer depends on the specific circumstances of the accident.

What Are the Requirements for Workers’ Compensation?

In Georgia, all businesses with three or more employees are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. This insurance works by paying for a worker’s medical bills and lost wages after an injury or illness that arises as a result of the worker’s occupation, regardless of fault for the injury.

To qualify for workers’ compensation benefits in Georgia, the following must be true:

  • The worker is an employee, not an independent contractor.
  • The business has workers’ compensation insurance.
  • The injury or illness happened within the scope of employment.
  • The worker filed a workers’ comp claim by the deadline.
  • The worker did not cause his or her own injury through horseplay.

Proving negligence is not a requirement to qualify for workers’ comp. Negligence is any careless act that a prudent party would not have committed that results in injury or harm to another person. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, meaning an employer or another party does not have to have been negligent for a worker to qualify for financial compensation for an injury.

Challenges With Work-From-Home Workers’ Compensation Claims

When determining whether workers’ compensation applies to a case where an employee is hurt at home, the most relevant issue is whether or not the injury happened within the scope of employment. Since most remote workspaces do not have supervisors overseeing employees directly, it can be difficult to prove that the injury took place while performing job-related tasks and not when the worker was walking around his or her house off the clock. Remote work creates a gray area in terms of coverage.

To process a workers’ comp claim from a remote worker, an insurance company will thoroughly investigate the accident. The company will seek out any evidence that suggests the injury took place while the employee was off-duty or performing an activity that was not work-related. The insurance company’s goal is to argue that the employee was not performing within the scope of his or her employment, to avoid paying the victim. If you get hurt while working from home, you may need an attorney’s assistance to help you prove your case.

How to File a Workers’ Comp Claim After Being Hurt at Home

Start gathering evidence immediately after getting hurt at home as a remote worker in Georgia. You may need evidence and documentation to prove to an insurance company that you were performing an activity that was required for your job or that benefited your employer at the time of your accident. Take photographs of what injured you, for example, and document the exact time, date and location.

Keep any proof that you were working, such as screenshots of your computer screen, your timecard or your pay stubs. It can also help to ask for a letter from your employer confirming that you were working at the time that your injury took place. Go to a hospital in Atlanta immediately for medical care and ask for copies of your medical records.

You must report your accident to your employer within 30 days. Then, your employer can fill out the proper paperwork and submit it to the State Board of Workers’ Compensation by the deadline on your behalf. If the Board rejects coverage, your lawyer can help you file an appeal or file a personal injury lawsuit.

Every work-from-home workers’ compensation case is unique. You should always seek advice from an experienced workers’ compensation attorney in Georgia after an accident at work – especially if you have a complicated case related to telecommuting.