Many businesses across the United States implemented teleworking before the COVID-19 global pandemic began. The 2019 National Compensation Survey recently found that only 7% of civilian workers in the United States have the option to telework. Now nearly all types of businesses are coming to grips with the reality that their employees could be forced to socially distance and work from home for the foreseeable future. People everywhere are converting kitchen tables, bedrooms, and areas of the home into makeshift workstations to make ends meet. The overlap between work and home begs the question of whether an employee injured while teleworking can obtain workers’ compensation benefits. Generally, the answer to that question is yes. For example, If an employee trips over their dog while walking to the printer to grab a document, that employer could be liable under the Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Act and be forced to provide benefits to the employee.
Mississippi’s Workers’ Compensation laws provide a “no-fault” system of benefits for injured workers. This means that even if your negligence contributed to the work injury, the employer and their insurance carrier are still required to pay benefits under the workers’ compensation insurance policy. For an injured employee to receive benefits under the Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Act, the injury must arise out of and occur in the course and scope of your employment. This generally means that the activities the worker was engaged in at the time of the work injury must have a connection to the job. It also means that employers will analyze the time, place, and situation of the injury to determine if it occurred within the course of employment. Teleworkers that are injured at their home should immediately notify their employers when a work injury occurs so that a record can be made documenting the injury.
As teleworking continues to increase, accidents will happen. Pets, children, furniture, and other household fixtures could cause injury to employees that are adjusting to the new normal of working from home. If you or a loved one are hurt while teleworking and want to exercise your rights under the Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Act, please give Chhabra & Gibbs, P.A., a call today. We have a team of lawyers and staff that would love to speak with you to determine your rights and pursue all forms of relief available on your behalf. Contact us today to get the recovery you deserve.