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Can you get workers' comp if you work from home?

There are many good reasons that companies allow more and more employees to work from home. When it concerns workplace injuries, this type of telecommuting may actually be cutting down on workers' compensation claims because these workers spend less time driving. In any case, employers might not rush to grant a workers' compensation claim for an injury you suffered at home. The employer may argue that anything at home does not count or that you were not on the clock at the time.

Here is a look at situations in which you might and might not qualify:

Might not qualify

If your employer encourages everyone to work in the office as much as possible or straight-out does not allow telecommuting, yet you were working from home anyway, that could be problematic. Of course, savvy and experienced lawyers may still be able to find holes in the company's denials.

If your injury occurred at home but was not related to your employment, a claim might be rejected. As a possible example, suppose you work from home and cook lunch for your ailing mother, who also lives at home. While cooking, you suffer severe burns. This probably would not fall under workers' compensation because you would not be doing this type of cooking at work.

Might qualify

If the employee's home is considered a primary or secondary place of employment, then the odds of a claim being approved tend to go up. This often holds true even if the injury occurred during a break, for example, if you decide to take a 10-minute coffee break in between work phone calls and fall while descending the steps.

Employers can reduce the chances of an injury happening at employees' homes if they are proactive. For instance, they can ensure employees are supplied with ergonomic furniture and ask them to only work certain hours. The company could also do safety inspections at the home, but only if the employee agrees.

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