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Experts Believe At-Home Work Injury Claims May Rise Because of Coronavirus Pandemic

photo-of-person-holding-black-pen-959816-300x200As states continue to remain under lockdown amid the global coronavirus pandemic, a large segment of the workforce is now performing some or all of its work from home. With such a dramatic increase in numbers of employees working from home, experts anticipate a rise in claims involving injuries occurring in employees’ homes.

Employing remote workers has its own set of legal implications and liabilities. Cases of injury tend to be more complicated because of less employer supervision, less control over risks of harm and safety precautions, and lack of security footage or witnesses to document claimed injuries.

Potential at-home work injury claims an employer may encounter might include any of the following scenarios—some of which are from actual reported cases:

  • An employee slips and falls on the driveway as they’re going to retrieve a briefcase containing work documents in their car.
  • An employee using exercise bike while in a mandatory work conference call, falls off the bike and sustains an injury.
  • An employee trips and falls over a family pet on their way to the printer to retrieve a work document.
  • An employee spills a hot beverage on their hand and suffers serious burns during a work break in their home kitchen.

Even though the location of the workplaces in these scenarios is the employees’ homes, the general analysis to determine their compensability remains relatively the same as for any other workplace injury. The burden of proof is on the employee to prove that the alleged injury occurred at their designated workplace during work hours.

An injury must be work-related to be compensable under workers’ compensation law. This means the injured employee must prove that their injury arose out of the employment and occurred in the course of employment. These rules apply whether an injury is sustained at an employer-provided workspace or from an employee’s home.

What Can Employers Do?

 

As an employer, one of the most important things you can do is to set guidelines and expectations for every aspect of your business. This includes getting fixed work hours and break periods and choosing a safe designated work area. These guidelines and policies should also extend to employees who work remotely.

Additionally, employers may want to consider providing telecommuting employees with training on how to properly set up an at-home workstation. Following these guidelines may help employees avoid unnecessary injuries and keep them from filing workers’ compensation claims to begin with.

With some few exceptions, all companies based in Florida that employ four or more people are legally required to have workers’ compensation insurance. Construction contractors are required to have insurance if they one or more employees.

Businesses that don’t have workers’ comp coverage are subject to penalties that include fines and sometimes even criminal charges if the state discovers an employer deliberately attempted to avoid paying for coverage.

If your business is suspected of committing workers’ compensation fraud, then you should immediately consult an experienced attorney who can review the case and plan the best course of action to avoid civil and criminal liabilities.

 

South Florida Workers’ Comp Fraud Attorney

Is your business accused of workers’ compensation fraud? Contact Brian Silber, P.A. to set up a free initial consultation with one of South Florida’s most experienced workers’ compensation fraud attorneys.

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