At Silverman, McDonald & Friedman, our workers’ compensation attorneys in Seaford, Wilmington and Newark protect the rights of injured employees throughout the state. Whether you work from home or not, we want to help you collect the compensation you need after you have sustained an injury in the course of your job duties.
As the economy becomes more digital, employees in increasing numbers are working from home. With a computer and an Internet connection, many workers never need to leave the house. Work can be stored in the cloud and company software can be accessed from anywhere in the world.
While the home may not seem a ripe place for accidents, home accidents can cause someone to break a bone, suffer electrical shock, endure a fire, incur repetitive stress injuries, or suffer other types of harm. Accidents can happen due to falls, inattentiveness, carelessness, or for many reasons.
Some of the workers’ compensation issues in telecommuting accidents
While an injured worker does not have to prove the employer was at fault, the injured employee must be able to prove the accident was work-related and that the accident happened during work hours. Insurance companies will try to argue that the worker was doing something personal, such as eating lunch or playing with a child when the accident happened. The carrier may argue that an accident that happens at 9pm isn’t covered when office workers typically work from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
There are practical arguments the employee can make in return. They can argue that telecommuting gives much more flexibility for work hours. They can point out that they were logged into computer software when the accident happened.
What is the telecommuter’s work status?
As a general rule, the key issue in telecommuting cases will be whether the telecommuter was an employee or an independent contractor. Workers’ compensation pays benefits to employees while it does not pay for independent contractors. Workers who are at their home desk or home computer for 40 or more hours a week are most likely to be considered employees. But many telecommuters work 10, 20, or 30 hours – so the question of employee vs. independent contractor status has to be answered.
The key factor in deciding employment status is control. If the employer can control the worker’s hours, what software the worker uses, and how the work is done – those factors support an employee status. If the employer pays by the week and pays benefits, those actions also suggest an employee status.
If you are injured while working at home, you may still have a valid work injury claim. For answers to your work rights questions, please contact the attorneys at Silverman, McDonald & Friedman. Our Wilmington, Newark, and Seaford workers’ compensation attorneys understand the latest trends and debates about workers’ compensation rights. To speak with a reliable work injury lawyer please call us at 302-888-2900 or complete our contact form to reach us.
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Attorney Jeffrey S. Friedman joined Silverman, McDonald & Friedman in 2001. He graduated from Widener University School of Law, and is admitted to practice law in Delaware and Pennsylvania, and in several Federal Circuit courts. He areas of concentration include auto accident and workers’ compensation cases. Read more about Attorney Friedman here.