Do I have a workers’ compensation case if I get injured while working from home due to COVID-19?
We at Berman, Sobin, Gross, Feldman & Darby LLP are thinking about all our clients during this unprecedented time! A vast majority of the public (including the attorneys and staff at BSGFD) are having to work from home. With so many people trading in their commutes and business attire for teleworking and pajamas, we thought it would be a great time to answer the very important question — “If I get hurt while working from home, do I have a workers’ compensation case?”
As any good lawyer would tell you, the answer is “it depends!” Luckily, the Court of Special Appeals released an opinion last year (albeit before COVID-19) in Schwan Food Co. v. Frederick, which provides some guidance. The appellate court laid out a three (3) part test to determine if an employee’s home can qualify as a work-place, thereby making such injuries more likely to be covered under the workers’ compensation act:
- The quantity and regularity of work performed at home;
- The presence of work equipment at home; and
- The special circumstances of the employment rendering it necessary, not merely personally convenient, to work at home.
This test has yet to be applied to employees injured while working from home due to COVID-19 and is intended to be very fact specific. In applying these factors, the Workers’ Compensation Commission will also consider circumstances such as when, where, and why the injury occurred, and what you were doing at the time of accident.
Getting such injuries covered under workers’ compensation can be difficult and it’s highly likely that the insurance companies will be contesting most, if not all, of these cases. Be sure to consult an attorney if you get hurt while working from home, and remember not to give any recorded statements to the worker’ compensation adjusters.
In these times more than ever, please try to stay safe, healthy, and happy!
Written by Allyson Bloom, an Associate Attorney with Berman, Sobin, Gross, Feldman & Darby LLP, specializing in medical treatment coverage under workers’ compensation.