The pandemic has forced many people to work from home. In fact, some workers and employers think there’s no need to return to an office environment. This has caused some to question whether workers who are working from home are covered by their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance.
The short answer is yes, an employee in a work from home or remote job is covered by workers’ compensation in South Carolina and therefore, eligible for the same benefits as those who still go in to the office each day.
Workers’ compensation provides benefits to covered workers who are injured while on the job or because of activities growing out of the scope of their jobs. Being on the job when injured is what matters, not where you are working. An employee injured while working in their home office or anywhere else is covered by workers’ compensation just as they would be in the corporate office, or on a client’s premises.
How Does Working From Home Affect Workers’ Comp?
It does not affect it. If you are a full-time or part-time employee and have been injured on the job while working from home in South Carolina, you should be entitled to workers’ comp benefits. If you have questions about your legal rights, contact a Joye Law Firm workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible. Some employers and insurance carriers may seize upon your work from home status as an excuse to try to deny paying a workers’ comp claim. We are confident in our ability to help you seek the full benefits available by law if you were injured while doing your job from home with the employer’s permission.
Just call Joye Law. Call us now at 888-324-3100 or fill out this online form for a no-obligation, confidential consultation about your workers’ compensation claim.
How to Make a Workers’ Comp Claim for a Work-From-Home Injury
Just as with any workplace injury, you need to notify your employer as soon as possible that you have been injured in an accident while working from home. If you do not do so in writing initially, you should follow up with a written account of what happened and when. You should explain what work duties you were performing when you were injured.
If your employer disputes your right to workers’ compensation benefits or refuses to report your accident, you should consult with a South Carolina workers’ compensation attorney. To file a claim, you must submit a Form 50 to the S.C. Workers’ Compensation Commission. Joye Law Firm can help you file a claim if your employer does not report your accident. Our law firm can file a hearing request on your behalf if your employer’s insurance administrator denies that you were injured in a job-related accident. When making a workers’ compensation claim as a work-from-home employee, the critical factor is that the injury must be work-related for it to be covered. You’ll need to answer these two questions in the affirmative:
- Did you have permission to work for your employer from home?
- Were you on the clock or engaged in assigned job duties when you were hurt?
If your employer or the insurer challenges your claim, the questions in a hearing would focus on whether you suffered an “injury by accident arising out of and in the course of the employment.”
The South Carolina Court of Appeals said in McGriff v. Worsley Companies, Inc., 654 S.E.2d 856, 376 S.C. 103 (S.C. App. 2007) that:
An accidental injury is considered to arise out of one’s employment when there is a causal connection between the conditions under which the work is required to be performed and the resulting injury. An injury occurs within the course of employment when it occurs within the period of employment, at a place where the employee reasonably may be in the performance of his duties, and while fulfilling those duties or engaged in something incidental thereto.
The burden of proof is on the employee when a workers’ comp claim is challenged. But, if an employee is able to explain how the injury was work-related, he or she may very well have a persuasive case.
Workers’ compensation claims brought by employees who are working from home can be more complicated than typical on-the-job injury claims. But we believe that if an employer has agreed to a work-from-home arrangement with the employee expected to produce a work product for the employer’s benefit, then the Workers’ Compensation Commission and the courts must consider the employee’s home to be an extension of the workplace.
In fact, the pro-employer Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) advises its members, that, “Courts have found that an employer’s lack of control over the conditions of an employee’s home-based work premises is irrelevant. When an employee’s home is also an employee’s work premises, it is often interpreted that the hazards an employee encounters when performing work at home are also hazards of his or her employment.”
Contact a South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Attorney for Remote Workers
If you have been injured while working at home in South Carolina and your claim for workers’ comp benefits is disputed in any manner, you should contact an experienced workers’ compensation claims attorney with Joye Law Firm as soon as possible. Our attorneys have a detailed understanding of South Carolina workers’ compensation law and over 140 years of combined experience doing the same. We can help prepare your initial claim or represent you in the hearing process if your claim has been denied.
Call us at 888-324-3100 for a free, no-obligation review of your workers’ compensation claim, or contact us online. We have offices in North Charleston, Columbia, Clinton, Summerville, and Myrtle Beach, and represent injured workers throughout South Carolina. Our goal with each person who turns to us for help is to make a positive difference in your life.