If you're injured working remotely, you should know your rights
In New Jersey and almost every other state, businesses are required to have workers' compensation insurance for their employees—and that includes employees who work from home or other remote locations.
If you are working remotely and sustain a work-related injury, you have the right to seek workers' comp benefits. In New Jersey, employees who work remotely or telecommute have the same right to workers' comp benefits as those who work in-person.
Keep in mind that navigating the workers' comp process can be complex and present special challenges for employees who work remotely. If you are injured while on the job, a workers' compensation attorney can help you find your way forward and fight for the benefits you are entitled to.
Workers' comp for remote employees
New Jersey employers are required to carry workers' compensation insurance. Under the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Act, benefits can be provided to employees with work-related injuries or illnesses that "arise out of and in the course of work." That last part is critical. In most cases, people who qualify for benefits were injured doing work or a work-related activity while on the job.
New Jersey rules and regulations that may apply to your workers' comp claim include:
- Comings and Goings Rule - With many exceptions, this rule defines when an employee is commuting (which is typically not covered by workers' comp) and when they are rendering service to the employer.
- Premises Rule - If you are injured on the premises of the workplace, you may be eligible to file a claim. Typically, this has been applied in situations where, say, an employee slips and falls in the workplace parking lot before clocking in. Applying this rule to work from home situations may be tricky, which is why it's in your interest to discuss the circumstance of your injury with a workers' comp attorney.
- Personal Comfort Doctrine - The personal comfort doctrine allows claims to be filed when employees are injured engaging in activities necessary for their personal at-work comfort and welfare, such as drinking water, going to the bathroom, or eating lunch.
- Special Mission exception - When an employee is required to be away from the workplace and is injured while engaged in performing work duties, they may apply for workers' comp.
Common work-from-home injuries
Work-from-home injuries are often ergonomic, but injuries due to slips, trips, falls, and exposure to other hazards are also common. Remote worker injuries that may qualify for workers' comp benefits include:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Back pain.
- Neck and shoulder pain.
- Eye injuries.
- Rotator cuff injuries.
- Pinched nerves.
- Lumbar disc pain.
- Muscle sprains, strains, and tears (also known as musculoskeletal disorders or MSDs).
If you were injured while working remotely, seek immediate medical attention from a doctor or get emergency medical treatment at a hospital or urgent care center. You also need to report the injury in writing to your employer as soon as possible. Then, you should talk to a workers' comp lawyer who knows how the system works in New Jersey and can explain how the law applies to your specific situation.
Shebell & Shebell fights for injured workers
If you’ve sustained an on-the-job injury, you probably have a lot of questions about your legal rights and options. This is especially true if you were hurt while working from home. You may think you qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, but you aren’t sure where to begin, and your priority is getting the medical treatment you need so that you can begin to get your life back together. The last thing you need is for your workers' compensation application to get denied because your employer argues your injury isn't work-related.
At Shebell & Shebell, LLC, our workers’ compensation attorneys have extensive experience standing up for injured workers in New Jersey and can fight for the outcome your case deserves. Employers and their insurance carriers know how to work the system to their advantage. They also have lawyers looking out for their best interests. That's why you need an experienced workers’ compensation attorney who can look out for what's best for you and help you get the benefits you deserve.
To learn more about how we can help you, contact us today for a free consultation with an experienced New Jersey workers' compensation lawyer. Our offices are located in Shrewsbury and Newark, and we serve clients throughout the state.
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