Remote Work injuries
Episode 17: Louisville workers’ compensation attorney Scott Scheynost discusses remote work injuries. You can also think of these as work at home injuries. This are of workers’ compensation is evolving, especially since the onset of the pandemic. Many workers transitioned to work from home situations. Just because they aren’t working in the plant or in an office, doesn’t mean they are excluded from filing for workers’ comp benefits. Learn how Scott helps people to file for benefits for remote work injuries.
Were You Really Working or Not?
The types of work Kentuckians perform and where they actual perform job-related activities, has changed since the beginning of Kentucky workers’ compensation law. There are still very traditional considerations that are used to determine whether your injury is covered by workers’ comp.
Scott explains that Kentucky case law states that if you are performing job-related activities, at home, it’s covered by Kentucky workers’ compensation.
You Don’t Have to be at Home to be Covered
Many jobs, such as sales professional, route deliver, field repair technicians and other types of occupations require job-related activities to be performed outside of both the office and the home. This could also apply to a fall in a hotel room, assuming the employee was traveling on business. Worker’s compensation law still applies to them and the injuries they sustain in the course of a normal business day.
Injured in the Home Office
There are various ways someone who works from home could be injured, during normal business activities. You could experience a problem resulting from a computer exploding or overheating. Suppose you tripped on something on the way to the bathroom. It might be possible that injuries would be covered under workers’ comp. Scott represented client who sustained a severe neck injury from tripping over a phone cord at her house, resulting in a spinal fusion.
If you have heavy file boxes, it’s possible to pull a muscle or herniate a disk if you have to move it. You could suffer an injury moving a piece of equipment from your garage to your truck bed. If you’re doing data entry from home, you could develop carpal tunnel syndrome.
Scott cautions that the specific factors of your particular situation must be examined to determine if your injury actually would qualify for Kentucky workers’ compensation benefits. In general, if your activity yields a benefit to the company and an injury happens, there’s a good chance it’s covered for various types of remote work injuries.
Common Work at Home Injuries
- Fractures and broken bones from a fall at home
- Head and neck injuries from a fall at home
- Back and neck strains from moving heavy items
- Repetitive use or repetitive motion injuries
Injuries for Sales Representatives
Scott explains the “going and coming rule” which basically states if you are moving from a company parking lot to the plant and you get injured (even before clocking in) you are still covered. There is a gray area, but this is a fairly well-established legal theory.
If a salesman doesn’t necessarily go into an office each day, the going and coming rule may apply beginning at the point you begin engaging in an activity for the company, i.e. getting into your vehicle to drive to a sales appointment.
Uber and Lyft Injuries
If you are travelling on business and you get injured, it’s typically going to be covered by Kentucky workers’ comp. For instance, if you are taking an Uber from your hotel to a client’s office, and the vehicle is involved in an accident, there may be a valid workers’ comp claim.
Third-Party Accident Claims
In Episode 11, Scott when into great detail about third-party accident claims. Motor vehicle accidents are typically covered for sales professionals, field technicians and others who may be involved in an automobile accident, on company time.
If the accident was caused by a negligent third-party (i.e. the other driver), the employee could file a workers’ comp claim and a personal injury claim. Both claims can be filed at the same time. Interestingly, there might also be a social security disability claim also involved, again, at the same time.
It’s always a good idea for you to contact an experienced, Kentucky workers’ compensation attorney who can advise you on your various rights, benefits and related claims.
When Should I Contact an Attorney?
Scott advises that it’s typically better to contact an attorney earlier in the process, especially if you think permanent disabilities are involved. There are benefits you may forget to claim or treatments you may have difficulty getting, if you’re only relying on the insurance adjuster handling your workers’ compensation claim. An attorney works directly with and for you. If you wait until later in the process, you may have lost out on some of those benefits.
Remember, you are required to also contact your supervisor or someone else in the organization to inform the company you’ve been injured. This is a requirement under the Kentucky worker’s compensation law. In Episode 2, Scott provided 5 Steps You Need to Take if You’re Hurt on the Job.
Under Kentucky law, you also have the right to pick your own doctor to treat your work-related injury. Watch this brief video about why you should select your own doctor to treat your injury.
There are many benefits you have a right to receive. It’s important that you get qualified advice from an attorney who focuses on workers’ compensation injuries. This is handled differently from a normal personal injury claim.
If you think your employer doesn’t have workers’ compensation insurance, Scott covered this issue (and your rights) in Episode 13.
It Cost You Nothing to Speak with Scott
Contact Scott Scheynost at (502) 937-5287. This podcast is meant to provide information and is not legal advice. Scott’s principal office is located at 7619 Dixie Highway, Louisville, KY 40258. Co-host Jim Ray is a non-attorney spokesperson. This is an advertisement.