In light of the pandemic – even after stay-at-home orders have expired – millions of people continue working from home. While good in many ways, this can also complicate certain aspects of the workplace as we know it. When someone is injured while at work, he or she can likely qualify for workers’ compensation. But what happens if you are injured at your home office in Pennsylvania?
The Pennsylvania Courts have ruled that injuries occurring while on the job at home are usually compensable under workers’ compensation. There are still exceptions.
Normal Working Hours
In order to recover workers’ compensation, the injury that occurs while working from home must still occur within normal working hours. In other words, the injury must still occur within the scope of work. This varies from case to case depending upon the specific facts.
The Courts in PA ruled that simple acts such as going to the bathroom or having a glass of water does not automatically take an employee outside of the scope of work. Ultimately, the worker must be “acting in furtherance of the employer’s interests.” This is nothing new. For regular cases of workers’ compensation an individual can be awarded workers’ compensation for injuries that occur out of the office if they were in the process of doing something in the interest of their employer.
The Best Interest of the Employer
Still, it’s important to note that employees who travel have broader protection than those who are working from home. In fact, individuals who work from home generally require further evidence that they were acting in the interest of their employer at the time.
For example, in the case of Werner v. WCAB (Greenleaf Serv. Corp.), an employee suffered a head injury and died. At the time he was getting the mail during a smoke break. At the time of the tragedy he was either on his porch or his driveway, but certainly away from his computer.
At the hearing his widow shared that he had in fact taken multiple smoke breaks that day and was getting the mail at the time. Because she lacked any additional evidence that could demonstrate that he was acting in the interest of his employer when he was killed, the claim was ultimately denied.
The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at Nikolaus & Hohenadel, LLP Can Help
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured while working from home, you may qualify for workers’ compensation, which can help you to move forward. However, you may not know what to do or how to proceed.
Luckily, the attorneys at Nikolaus & Hohenadel, LLP can help. We understand the impact that a work injury can have on all aspects of your life. That’s why we’re here to help you. To learn more, or to schedule a consultation, contact us today!