What Happens When You’re Injured While Working from Home?
As a salaried employee, you handle customer service complaints remotely. In fact, consumers might be surprised to learn that you’re not working from a cubicle in a big office building. Unfortunately, just like any other employee, you are at risk for injury while working from home. So, what happens? Are you entitled to workers’ compensation benefits?
If your job requires you to perform some duties from home, you are not alone. According to the latest numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 24 percent of employees did at least some of their work from home in 2015. Companies such as Amazon, American Express, and Dell all offer remote positions.
The concept of working from home is often referred to as telecommuting or teleworking. Some examples of professions that offer this type of work arrangement include the following:
- Inside and outside salespeople
- Customer service representatives
- Travel agents
- Technical help desks
- Website designers and creative personnel
- Insurance representatives
All things considered, working remotely undoubtedly has its advantages. Meanwhile, companies find that allowing employees to telecommute adds to their productivity. Many have controls in place that monitor when workers are actually doing their job.
Are You An Employee Working from Home?
The fact that you work from home doesn’t necessarily make you an employee. And, that’s an important test when it comes to determining your eligibility for benefits for a work accident. Before anything else, there must be proof that you’re actually an employee and not an independent contractor.
Your wages are ultimately listed on a 1099 form, so that means you’re an independent contractor, right? Not necessarily. The New Jersey courts often apply the “right-to-control” test in determining whether a worker is actually an employee. This may be as simple as establishing hours and the manner in which the work is done. Additionally, the employer may provide equipment and even monitor the remote use of the equipment.
Next, there is the issue of how the injuries occurred. According to NJSA 34:15-7, there must be proof that the injuries were due to an “accident arising out of and in the course of employment.” An experienced workers’ compensation attorney will review how you will hurt and provide you with advice concerning the feasibility of a workers’ compensation claim. It could be that your case involves a traumatic incident or even occupational exposure related to your job. For example, you could inadvertently trip over a computer wire in your home office and break your leg. Meanwhile, a carpal tunnel diagnosis may be related to the continual use of the keyboard.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Like other New Jersey employees, those who work from home are entitled to three primary benefits. They are broken down as follows:
- Medical Bill Payment: Your employer must pay for medical treatment related to your work accident. Although you may need first to make an emergent call to a hospital or doctor, all subsequent medical care must be authorized by your employer.
- Temporary Disability Benefits: If an authorized doctor directs you to stay out of work, you will receive temporary disability benefits from the workers’ compensation insurance company. The amount you will receive is based on 70% of your average weekly wages to specified maximums determined by the year of your accident.
- Permanent Disability Benefits: You do not have to be totally disabled to receive permanent disability benefits. Under New Jersey law, you may be entitled to money for partial total disability as well.
The Law Offices of Anthony Carbone represents injured workers in a variety of professions. If you were hurt at work, our office will explain the workers’ compensation system and assist you with your claim. Call us today to schedule an appointment.