As a general rule, under workers’ compensation an employee may receive benefits from the employer for accidental injuries or death which occurred during the course of employment. In a situation where the employee was injured on the premises of employment while performing duties within the scope of his or her employment, entitlement to the benefits are clear. However, what happens if the employee is working from home? Would he or she still be entitled to benefits if injured while working from home? The answer is maybe.
In a technologically advanced society, working from home (telecommuting) has become an alternative employment structure for many companies. The positive aspects of telecommuting include: the ability to work a flexible schedule, improvement of the work/life balance, saving commute time, and reduction of stress. Some of the negative aspects of telecommuting may include: the lack of contact with fellow workers, possible missed job advancements, and blurry lines between work and home. In addition, telecommuters may be considered to be “out of the loop”.
If you are injured while telecommuting, receiving workers’ compensation benefits will depend on whether the injury occurred within the course and scope of your employment. The injured party will still have the burden of proof that his injury was, in fact, work related. As it may be more difficult for a telecommuter to prove a workers’ compensation claim than for someone working in the office, it is in the best interest of the telecommuter to keep current and accurate records to account for the work done and how the work is separate from personal time. This can be done by placing entries in a journal each day.
One example of an injured telecommuter awarded benefits can be found in the case of Ameritech Services, Inc. v. IWCC, 904 N.E.2nd 1122 (Appellate Court of Illinois, First district, Workers Compensation Commission Division, 2009). That case involved a salesman working out of his house who was injured carrying equipment to a sales call.
If you would like an evaluation of your own situation to figure out if you might be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, we can help. The Law Office of Steven A. Sigmond can offer you a free confidential consultation to discuss your case. I can be reached at (312) 258-8188 or visit our websites at www.chicagoaccidentlawyer.com or www.siglaw.com and submit your contact information.