According to Stanford research, around 42 percent of United States employees are now working from home full-time, with 33 percent unemployed and 26 percent, mostly essential workers, working in their office. Working from home has emerged largely as a result of COVID-19 and has raised questions about employees’ rights and coverage if injured on the job while at home.
HOW DO I KNOW IF AN INJURY IS “WORK-RELATED” WHILE WORKING FROM HOME?
In South Carolina, an injury is considered work-related if it is an “injury by accident” that “arises out of” the employment and is sustained “in the course of” the employment. The S.C. Workers’ Compensation Commission will take a very fact-specific approach to a potential work-related injury that occurs while an employee is telecommuting.
Although the current pandemic is an unusual occurrence, injuries that are sustained while an employee is telecommuting from home are not unusual.
In a March 30, 2009 letter written by the Directorate of Evaluation and Analysis Keith Goddard of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, some insight on a few examples was provided:
Potentially Covered Scenarios:
- If an employee has dropped a box of work documents and injured his/her foot, requiring medical attention.
- If an employee punctured his/her fingernail with a needle while performing garment work from home and it becomes infected.
Potentially Not Covered Scenarios:
- If an employee is injured tripping on a family pet while rushing to answer a work phone call.
- If an employee is electrocuted as a result of faulty home wiring while on the job.
It is important to contact a South Carolina workers’ compensation lawyer in your area to review the specifics of your case, as you may qualify for benefits. Do you need a legal consultation on a workers’ compensation case in South Carolina? Please call (803) 888-2200 for a free consultation or referral to a local office in your state.
IF I HAVE A CASE, WHAT DOES WORKERS’ COMPENSATION COVER?
Depending on which state you’re in, workers’ compensation benefits can include medical expenses, temporary and long-term benefits, lost wages, and more. For instance, South Carolina Workers’ Compensation can cover medical expenses needed to treat the injury or illness, lost wages if unable to return to work for at least a week due to the injury or illness, and compensation for a permanent disability sustained from the accident.
HOW DO I FILE A WORKERS’ COMPENSATION CLAIM?
The first step to filing a workers’ compensation claim is calling a reputable attorney. Your health and recovery are the two most important things after an injury, so hiring a lawyer to put pressure on the insurance company to get your treatment promptly is critical. Our team at Cavanaugh & Thickens is experienced in handling Columbia and South Carolina based workers’ compensation cases and will review your case with you for free. Please call (803) 888-2200 for a free consultation when you’re ready.
HOW MUCH DOES A WORKERS’ COMPENSATION LAWYER COST?
Please note that workers’ compensation lawyers do not charge hourly rates; instead, these types of lawyers work on a contingency fee which is typically a percentage of the benefits recovered. If you have any additional questions on the cost of hiring a Columbia, South Carolina workers’ compensation attorney, please give us a call at (803) 888-2200.
Disclaimer: The opinions and ideas in this article are for informational purposes only and are not intended as legal advice. Each case is different and must be evaluated based on its own particular facts and merits.