You May Qualify for Workers’ Compensation Benefits if You Were Injured While Working from Home
If you are a remote worker who suffered injuries while working from home, you may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits in Illinois. To recover compensation for your medical bills and a portion of your lost wages, you’ll need to prove that you are an employee (not an independent contractor), and that your injury is work-related. An injury that “arises out of and in the course of employment” is one that happens while the employee is performing job-related tasks.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began taking its toll in early 2020, Chicago has seen a significant increase in the number of people who are working from home. Today, more than 60% of people in the United States have worked from home at one point or another. A large percentage of employees are expected to continue to work remotely long after the pandemic ends.
Risk of Injury Increases for Remote Workers
In hybrid work arrangements, where employees work from home one or more days per week, the risk of work-related injury increases. Since the same safety standards that are implemented in traditional workplace environments are not always in place in people’s homes, remote workers are more likely to suffer elevated stress levels, cumulative injuries, and slips and falls while performing the duties of their jobs.
Although employers do not have control over the safety of in-home working environments, Illinois courts have found their lack of control to be irrelevant in workers’ compensation claims. Employers are responsible for providing the same safe working conditions for remote workers that they provide to onsite workers, and they are required to provide workers’ compensation insurance to cover injured employees’ losses.
With homes doubling as a place of employment for so many workers in Chicago, the line between “work-related duties” and “personal business” can easily be blurred. Insurance companies are likely to deny valid work injury claims based on the “arising out of and in the course of employment” rule. As a result, it is imperative that remote workers who are injured on the job have an experienced Illinois workers’ compensation attorney evaluate their claim right away.