WFH, Job Injuries, And Tampa Workers’ Compensation Lawyers
Before the coronavirus pandemic, about 20 percent of workers who said they could work from home didn’t go to the office. By 2021, that percentage had skyrocketed to over 70 percent. Job injury victims, whether they work from home or work in an office, usually face tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills that, since they aren’t working, they cannot pay, even if the provider offers a payment plan. Fortunately, benefits are available that pay medical bills and replace lost wages.
Work From Home job injury cases are a new frontier in this area. The rules aren’t very well-established. Therefore, most insurance companies fight these claims tenaciously. They don’t want to set a precedent that WFH injuries are compensable. So, these victims badly need a Tampa workers’ compensation attorney. Only an equally tenacious lawyer knows how to get maximum compensation for your serious injuries, so you can heal and get back to work as quickly as possible.
Common Work From Home Injuries
Overall, employers usually have a legal duty to give their employees a safe place to work. It doesn’t matter if this space is a corporate office or a home office.
Hearing loss, one of the most common job injuries, normally isn’t an issue in WFF cases. The risk of falls and repetitive stress injuries, which are almost as common, is usually even higher in WFH cases.
Falls usually cause very serious injuries, like broken bones and head injuries. That’s especially true if, as is commonly the case, the victim has a pre-existing medical condition. Contrary to popular myth, full workers’ compensation benefits are usually available in these situations.
Thanks to the eggshell skull rule in Florida law, insurance companies normally cannot use a victim’s physical or other vulnerabilities as an excuse to reduce or deny compensation. Usually, these victims must only prove that the job injury made the pre-existing condition worse, and not vice versa.
Cumulative injuries, like tendonitis, bursitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and back pain, are a serious problem for telecommuters as well. These job-related injuries occur slowly over time. Many victims have injury issues before they “feel” hurt.
Workers’ compensation claims have very strict deadlines in Florida. Most people don’t immediately see a doctor the first time their backs hurt. So, in cumulative injury situations, the filing deadline has usually passed by the time a doctor diagnoses the victim’s illness.
A variation of Florida’s delayed discovery rule usually applies in these cases. Victims don’t have to begin legal claims until they know the full extent of their injuries.
Legal Issues in WFH Job Injury Claims
Normally, workers’ compensation doesn’t cover coming and going injuries. For example, although going to work is a work-related function, workers’ comp doesn’t cover car crash injuries during morning commutes.
However, these aren’t normal times. Since many employees are now required to work from home due to the pandemic, the employee’s home is a secondary job site. So, if a teleworker drives from home to pick up materials or go to a workplace meeting and gets into a car accident, the injuries would likely be compensable. These acts are arguably within the course and scope of employment.
Another claim might occur if an employee is injured while getting coffee or going to the bathroom at home. Under the personal comfort doctrine, an injury is compensable if the employee was engaging in activities necessary for their personal comfort or welfare and part of “normal working conditions.”
This personal comfort doctrine applies to employees who work from home. Applicable activities include eating lunch, drinking water or coffee, going to the bathroom, and smoke breaks.
Count on a Thorough Hillsborough County Attorney
Injury victims are entitled to important financial benefits. For a free consultation with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer in Tampa, contact Kobal Law. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these cases.