Are remote workplace injuries a covered event? Maybe, yes.
Now that we’re in a pandemic, it is possible for workers to be injured while not in the office or on the job site. Because many employees are working from home, it is possible that an injury at home might be a covered event.
Course of Employment
The Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals is an administrative law court that oversees, among other things, appeals in workers’ compensation cases. The Board publishes significant decisions made on a variety of topics, including course of employment questions. The sheer number of significant decisions on this topic demonstrates that the answer to most questions of “Am I Covered?” is “maybe.”
Generally, a worker who is injured while in the course of employment is able to file a workers’ compensation claim. In most cases, an injury occurs on the employer’s premises, but not always. For instance, an employee driving a car while furthering the employer’s business – say, a plumber driving a truck to a site where work will be performed, bringing tools and equipment required for the job – is likely a covered employee.
In the case of employees working from home due to protective steps taken in response to the pandemic, coverage may extend to the employee’s home. As an example, if you are working from home and, as part of your usual work duties, you have to lift a box of necessary tools up to your work surface and, while doing so, you injure your shoulder, you may have a covered injury event. Remote workplace injuries may be covered events, if the criteria for claim allowance are met.
Filing a Claim for an Injury
For those that have suffered an injury, whether on the employer’s premises or at home, a claim may be filed with the Department of Labor and Industries. A claim can be filed:
- Online via DLI’s FileFast tool.
- By phone: 1-877-561-3453 (FILE).
- At your doctor’s office (if you complete the Report of Accident at your doctor’s office, the doctor files the form for you).
You can watch a DLI video that generally describes the process for filing a claim if you need more information about the steps to be taken.
More Information or Assistance
If you have questions about workers’ compensation, or if you already filed a claim and your claim was denied, please feel free to contact our firm. We offer a free case analysis, and would be happy to discuss your specific circumstances with you.