Are injuries on the job covered when working remotely?


 Surveys estimate nearly 50 percent of the U.S. economy is now working from home. But, there are certain risks associated with the home office. In a special report, CBS21’s Michael Gorsegner examines whether injuries at home may be covered by Pennsylvania’s workers’ compensation program.

“This is my world,” Michael Hancock said.

Sitting behind a desk at home, clanking on a keyboard, cranking out Zoom calls is not an ideal way of doing business for Hancock.

“In our world, in the medical world, this is all we talk about all day every day,” Hancock said.

As the regional sales director for a medical device company Medline, his normal work week takes him early and often to the friendly skies.

“Probably be in three or four different cities that week,” he said.

“If you were working from home and you get injured one way or the other, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation,” Attorney Scott Cooper said, personal injury attorney with Schmidt Kramer.

A study from Stanford estimates 41 percent of Americans because of COVID now telework. This new working-from-home-economy provides new risks.

“There are all these different injuries that could happen and people don’t think about,” Cooper said.

Even though for many people heading to work now only requires a few steps, work injuries can still happen. Claims depend on the facts and circumstances behind each case. If an injury, like a fall, happens while you are picking up a package that was delivered for work or going to get a briefcase out of the car during work hours, it could be covered.

“If they are doing something on their own at 5:30, then it’s outside the scope of employment,” Cooper said.

In the end, with any type of accident or injury, attorneys advise people to document the issues and report the incident to their boss as soon as possible but definitely within 30 days.

There are also requirements that employers can put in place to make sure both the business and worker are covered.