Does FL Workers Comp Extend to Workers at Home?
As one of only a small percentage of board-certified workers’ compensation attorneys in Florida, Joseph M. Rooth helps remote workers get the benefits to which they are entitled.
One of the unexpected impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic is the realization that many jobs previously performed in an office could just as easily be done from home. Even now that a vaccine is available and case counts are dropping, many companies are continuing to offer remote work as an option. While this can provide numerous advantages, you may be wondering how it impacts your rights regarding certain types of benefits. If you get hurt on the job while working from home, can you still get workers’ compensation benefits? For the most part, the answer is yes, provided your injuries occurred during the course of your employment and in the scope of carrying out work duties.
Injuries That Can Happen While Working from Home
According to a Stanford University study, nearly 50 percent of the workforce began working from home as a result of the COVD-19 pandemic. Florida has one of the highest rates of remote workers in the country and many employers are opting to continue with the practice, despite the fact that the state has reopened and pandemic-related risks have decreased.
While the option to work from home is convenient, it raises certain concerns, particularly in regards to safety. Common risks remote workers are likely to face include:
- Repetitive stress injuries due to lack of access to automated machines for performing certain tasks;
- Orthopedic and soft tissue injuries due to poor office ergonomics;
- Eye strain, neck pain, and wrist injuries (such as carpal tunnel syndrome) due to increased computer time;
- Overuse injuries due to packing boxes at home without assistance or accepting deliveries.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Florida for Remote Workers
All of the above are common types of injuries that can entitle you to workers’ compensation in Florida. They obviously occur during the course of employment and in carrying out work duties. What about injuries that are more reflective of your current surroundings? Workers’ compensation benefits may be denied if your injuries are not directly job-related or happen due to circumstances beyond your employer’s control. Examples include:
- Burning yourself on hot coffee;
- Suffering an electrical shock due to damaged home wiring or sockets;
- Falling due to wet floors or cluttered hallways;
- Tripping over children’s toys or pets;
- Inhaling smoke, mold, or other hazardous substances.
While your employer is likely to deny your claim for workers’ compensation in the above cases, courts are increasingly taking a more flexible view and you could be entitled to benefits through an appeal.
Get Our New Port Richey Workers’ Compensation Attorney on Your Side
As one of only a small percentage of board-certified workers’ compensation attorneys in Florida, Joseph M. Rooth acts as a strong ally on the side of remote workers, helping you get the benefits you are entitled to. Give us a call at 727-849-3400 or contact our office online to request a consultation today.