In 2019, only about seven percent of American civilian workers could telecommute. However, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, employers have allowed and even required more employees to start working at home. It has been a learning process. But in between figuring out network connections and cybersecurity issues, employers may be fielding questions about whether workers’ compensation insurance covers injuries that occur at home.
Basics of Workers’ Compensation
An employer’s insurance company pays workers’ compensation benefits to employees injured at work. In fact, Illinois workers’ compensation laws require most employers to buy workers’ comp insurance.
Workers are required to report their injuries and diagnosed occupational diseases to their employers within a particular time. The insurer should start paying for the worker’s necessary medical treatment. Other benefits kick in as well. When an employer and employee disagree about benefits, the employee can ask the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission for assistance. Because of COVID-19, it is likely there will be more cases where employers disagree that an employee’s injury is work-related.
We need to emphasize that most workers qualify for workers’ compensation, but not all.
Type of Employment Matters
The term ‘employee’ is defined in the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act (the “Act”). Generally, people working “in the service of another under any contract of hire, express or implied, oral or written” are covered by the Act. Employment status is not always cut-and-dried, though. For example, consider the following scenarios:
- You were hired by an Illinois company but injured in another state. If so, you should be covered.
- You hired in another state but injured in Illinois. Workers’ comp benefits should be available.
- You usually work in Illinois but were working outside the state when injured. This type of employee also should be eligible for benefits.
Independent contractors typically are not covered by workers’ comp. However, sometimes employers misclassify employees as independent contractors when they are really employees. Check with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney before giving up on your potential benefits.
Work-Related Injury or Not?
Sometimes the difficult question is whether your injury really happened because of your job. In some cases, proving this is challenging even in a regular workplace environment. However, working at home because of COVID-19 generally complicates the situation.
At-home work-related injuries include:
- Repetitive motion injuries, including carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Slips, trips, and falls.
- Burns related to electrical problems.
Generally speaking, if your injury happened while you were working, workers’ compensation insurance should cover you. However, if you have any questions, don’t give up. Instead, contact an attorney with Illinois workers’ compensation experience.
Working at Home Is More Common Than Ever Because of COVID-19.
Talk with Osvaldo Rodriguez, an experienced Illinois workers’ compensation lawyer for an honest assessment of your case. Your case will receive the personal attention it deserves. Schedule a free consultation by calling us today at 708-716-3441 or by completing the form on our Contact Us page.
Osvaldo Rodriguez speaks Spanish and English. We represent clients throughout the state of Illinois, including Chicago, Addison, Bellwood, Bensenville, Berwyn, Chicago, Cicero, Elmwood Park, Franklin Park, Maywood, Melrose Park, Northlake and Cook, DuPage, Will, and Kane Counties.