California Workers’ Compensation And Getting Injured While Working From Home

California Workers' Compensation And Getting Injured While Working From Home

The Rules Of Workers Compensation For Work From Home Employees

A lot of workers in California have questions. If they’re working from home, and they get injured, what are their workers compensation rights? Well, on this episode of the Inland Empire workers compensation lawyer livestream podcast, Jorge and I are discussing the rules of workers compensation for work from home employees, which is very prevalent now, after COVID-19, and the technology that we have for employees to do their jobs from home. So with that being said, let’s jump right into the discussion, Jorge.

Statistics For Employees Working From Home In California

I mean, during the pandemic, we were all seeing family via Skype. And that’s something that now is part of our daily lives. It depends on what type of work you do, but a large part of most people’s jobs, unless you work at a warehouse or things like that, can be done remotely. Actually, according to the California Legislative Analyst’s Office, the CLA, 40% of California state’s total workforce are employed in positions that could be done solely by working from home. That’s an amazing statistic, that means that 40% of the workforce in California can do their job from home, they don’t even gotta leave their home to do their job. So what does that mean for a lot of people? If they allow employees to work from home, they can save a lot of cost, a lot of overhead. So that’s led to a lot of people being allowed to work from home, being told to work from home. So a lot of people obviously have the question, What if I get hurt at home? Usually, as you know, traditionally, if you get hurt at home, it’s not a workplace injury, because you have to be in the workplace in order for it to be covered as a workplace injury. But now, if you get hurt at home, but you’re working from home, what happens now? It’s a great question and something that we’re going to talk about today. If you have any other questions, please remember that this is just information only. It’s not legal advice. Please reach out to us if you have any additional questions regarding working from home, or any injuries that might have happened in the workplace, or at home while you are working. But we’re going to jump right into it. As you know, accidents can happen anywhere, right? So if an accident happens at the workplace, it’s going to be a workers compensation claim. If you are hurt at work, you are covered 100%. But now with the transition of working from home, what constitutes a work injury? Alex? I mean, that’s a good question to ask. Right?

Work From Home Injuries Are Harder To Prove

Right. I think that when we’re dealing with work from home injuries, they might be a little bit more suspect. In other words, employers might be more suspicious about how the injury arose. And remember, Jorge, that and well, of course, you know this, but our viewers need to understand this, that the employee has the burden to prove their worker’s compensation claim, including how the injury arose, right. So if you’re working from home and nobody witnesses you having the injury, you are going to maybe have a harder time getting that injury accepted by the workers compensation insurance company. And that’s our big warning for this episode. And what we’re really trying to emphasize to our viewers is that if you have been injured at home, you need to call an attorney and discuss what your legal rights are and how you’re going to go about proving how that injury arose.

Attorney Representation Is Preferred For Work-From-Home Injuries

Right. That is a big hurdle for someone that’s unrepresented. Definitely not for someone with an attorney, right? I mean, they’re the ones that are going to be proving it for you and kind of guiding you through the process. But you’re right, Alex, if you get home hurt at home, and no one’s there to witness it. A lot of times, who do you report to? You report it immediately to a supervisor if you’re at work, or to a manager, or, you know, you can call the insurance company that has a number sometimes when you get hurt. Immediately, when you get hurt at home, while working you want to make that call, okay? First of all, you want to report it immediately, especially if it’s during work hours. Now, some people work from home, and they might take some breaks during the day and say, I’ll handle what I need to do later on and that evening, and they’re still working, maybe it might be 7PM, and they’re working and they get injured. What happens then? Well, if you’re working after hours, and you’re working, you’re in the course and scope of employment, you still get workers compensation benefits, as long as you’re doing something for work, and you’re in the course and scope of your duties. But remember, you have to prove this. So if it is late at night, and you do report it, maybe you don’t report it, maybe you get taken by ambulance and ambulance ride is at nine o’clock, but those aren’t your normal hours, you’re gonna maybe have a hard time convincing the adjuster that you were doing something in the course and scope. Unless of course, the injury just clearly arose out of what you were doing. But if you work on the computer, you know, it might be hard to prove that.

Denied Working From Home Injury Claims

And most people working from home do work on a computer right? On some type of electronic device that you can get on. Zoom, you can send emails, receive calls, things like that. So I mean, how hard would it be to prove that you slipped and fell in your own home during business hours, and now it should be a workplace injury.Well, the adjuster might just decide to deny the claim, right? If there’s no factual basis to accept this claim. Basically “I don’t believe you liar, liar pants on fire.” Yeah, you’re gonna need an attorney, because you’re going to need to file an appeal with the Workers Compensation Appeals Board because that claim is going to be denied. Yeah.

Work-From-Home Laws Are Evolving

And I think it’s worthwhile to point out Alex, that this is all new information for the courts and for the workplace environment, and even as attorneys, is something that we’re getting familiar with, but I mean, prior to the pandemic, we didn’t have this many people working from home. I mean, there could be jobs that you could do from home. But usually it would be in an office setting. Employers, I think they had the mentality that if I can see my employees, I can see them working. If I can’t see my employees, I don’t know whether they’re working or not, which I mean, it’s not completely off base, we’ve seen all these videos on YouTube of people, you know, pretending to work from home or maybe sending one email and then taking an hour break. That’s not supposed to be, you know, done during work hours. “I went for a run or something, went for a run.” And that was some exercise that, “oh, I hurt my back.”

Work-From-Home Injuries While Taking A Break

Which leads us to new scenarios that might take place that we haven’t dealt with yet. What if if you’re working, and during your first 15 minute break that you’re taking on your own because there’s no one supervising you at the time, you decide to take your dog for a walk, and now you’re walking your dog on your 15 minute break, and you slip and fall or your dog pulls on the leash? And you know, because of that you trip and fall? Is that a workplace injury? Or you’re on your 15 minute break? I think it can be considered a workplace injury. Yeah. I mean, if your employer understands that you take your 15 minute breaks, and you’re at home and you have a dog, you’re potentially, you know, you’re on the clock, it’s break rates are considered for wage and are kind of part of the job. Right. So I don’t know, I haven’t litigated that. Exactly. And I agree with you, Alex. But at the same time playing devil’s devil’s advocate, I would say, well, you left your place of employment, which is your home, right, and you took your dog for a walk on your 15 minute break. So you left the vicinity of what would be considered your work environment. So at that point, are you away on a 15 minute break? Are you still clocked in? Because it’s a 15 minute break? Now let’s change it to lunch? What if it’s lunch? Does that change everything? So what we’re trying to tell you is that workers comp laws are very, very nuanced, okay. And they’re constantly evolving. So we give you this information for you to kind of get a taste of what the answers might be. But as we always say every case is different. So please, if you have any questions, reach out to Alex or myself. And we will definitely provide you with the best possible information. Even though situations and law and the general worker’s compensation system is evolving, we can always give you the best answer possible. Once again, this is not legal advice that you’re seeing on the video, the legal advice would be when you call us and talk to us.

Get Legal Advice If You’ve Been Injured At Home While Working

That’s right, Jorge. And if you’re out there, you can dial the injury helpline 844-984-8414 and receive a free and confidential case evaluation with either Attorney Jorge Ibuado or myself. And we can listen to the facts and circumstances of how your work from home injury occurred and assess the situation. And if you are very injured, we’re going to file that claim. And we’re going to make that argument that is work related, we’re going to get it before a workers compensation judge right in your local area, who’s going to make the decision on whether or not you get workers compensation benefits, whether or not the insurance company can deny that claim. Definitely. And once again, if you’re working from home, let’s say a office style job but doing it from your home, and you’re feeling pain in your back, or you’re feeling pain in you know, in your hands for so much typing, or any type of something that you consider to be work related. You know, give us a call, okay, we want to help you out. And like we mentioned with so many people right now, out of the actual workforce and work environment and working from home, and you know, this needs to be taken care of, because you might think, Oh, they’re not going to help me out because I’m at home, or they’re not going to believe me, that’s not the case. Please reach out to us. We are here to do the best job possible for you so that you don’t have to deal with that. We’ll deal with it for you.

A Note About In-N-Out And Cumulative Trauma

One last thing I want to say Alex, it has nothing to do with this video. But we had delicious In-N-Out today, right? Yes, shout out to In-N-Out. Shout out. You know, I am always amazed at the employees that they hire because they seem to be the nicest, most considerate people. I mean, I get amazing customer service at In-N-Out. I have never had a worker’s comp claim from someone working at In-N-Out. Have you? I have not okay, so if you’re watching this and you were hurt at In-N-Out I am very curious as to how your worker’s comp claim process went. Because to me and not knowing obviously everything about In-N-Out, they seem to be an incredible company. I mean, they put out a great product. They’re always packed. And their employees seem to love their job. And I know they get paid very well. But I’ve never dealt with someone getting hurt at In-N-Out. And I really, really would like to hear from someone, it please reach out to us, we’d like to talk to you and see kind of how you’re working. If you’re an In-N-Out employee. Dial the injury helpline we want to speak with you. Yeah, we want to know why In-N-Out doesn’t bring us more files. Yeah, I mean, for people to help. I mean, they don’t deny claims, they must just accept most claims, right? They paid the benefits when they’re, when they’re due they provide good medical care, and they get their employee back to work. Or they might just be really safe with their workplace, they might take a lot of precautions. Either way. I’m extremely curious, I thought I just pointed out and if someone’s listening, you know, we’ll do this announcement in another video as well. That way, we get more exposure on that. And when we do talk to someone from In-N-Out, we’ll go ahead and bring you the lowdown on it. But I mean, it seems to be a great company to work for. I just think that it’s interesting that people are on their feet all day when they’re there. And you would think you would get some cumulative trauma claims. It’s something you brought up earlier on the work from home aspect of this episode is can you have a cumulative trauma? Yes, you can. And we’ve discussed cumulative trauma. What that is, is injury from repetitive work activities like type being repetitive typing, or just having to sit all day long at a desk, you could hurt your back over time, if you’ve been doing that for years and years and years. So we encourage you to dial the injury helpline if you have these types of questions. But getting back to In-N-Out. I mean, they’re standing on their feet all day, no cumulative trauma claims, no denied cumulative trauma claims. I don’t think that can happen when you’re wearing that cool hat. You know what I mean? That prevents it. Is there something about the outfit? Yeah, no, I think you know, I respect in and out just from a business standpoint, they always put out a good product, their employees must be happy. Their customers are happy. So kudos, but we do want to talk to an employee that’s been hurt at work and kind of see how it’s playing out.  Yeah, definitely. Let’s conclude the episode now. Yep.

Remember, it’s general in nature only. It’s not legal advice. If you need legal advice, dial the injury helpline 844-984-8414. Or, check out our website