Many jobs require workers to travel, and more and more employees in Georgia work from home rather from their employer’s headquarters. If you have been injured on the job while traveling, driving, making deliveries or working from home, you probably have a lot of questions about Georgia workers’ compensation.
Following are some important things to understand about your eligibility for workers’ comp if you suffer a job-related injury while working from home or traveling.
Your eligibility for workers’ comp benefits is not defined by your presence in a specific building
Some people assume that their eligibility for workers’ compensation is tied to their presence at their employer’s work premises, but that is generally not the case. Your eligibility for workers’ compensation relates to whether your injury happened in the course of your employment — and not necessarily to the place where the injury happened. As far as workers’ comp is concerned, wherever you perform your job duties is your workplace. This is true for people whose employment requires them to travel, drive, make deliveries or work from home.
For example, maybe you work from home and your job requires you to type all day. If you develop carpel tunnel syndrome because of your job duties, you can file for workers’ compensation benefits.
Similarly, maybe you work a construction or trucking job that requires you to travel and stay in hotels overnight. If you suffer a job-related injury in the hotel parking lot, you can file for workers’ compensation.
Another example: maybe your employer hired you to process, package and mail orders from your house. If you suffer a back injury while packaging and mailing an item, you can file for workers’ compensation.
Remember: Some injuries are sudden, others develop over time
Many work injuries happen in an instant: you suffer an impact injury or a fall, or maybe you suffer an obvious back or shoulder injury while moving an object. But other injuries develop over time: for example, injuries due to repetitive lifting, bending, climbing or squatting. Both types of injuries — sudden and gradual — can happen whether you work at your employer’s base of operations or at another location.
IMPORTANT: The moment you suspect that your injury is work-related, let your employer know that you think the injury may have been caused by your job duties. Don’t wait, even if you are not 100% sure and even if there was no specific incident. For the success of your workers’ compensation claim, it’s important to report the injury to your employer.
Additionally, be sure to tell the doctor or the emergency department that your work injury is due to your job duties. Documenting the cause of your injury in your medical records is very important for your workers’ comp case.
What if someone not your employer or coworker caused your injury?
You may have grounds for a a third-party personal injury claim in ADDITION to a worker’ compensation claim if you are injured at work because of someone other than your employer or coworker. For example, you can bring a third-party personal injury claim if another driver (not your coworker) crashed into you. Or, for example, if you walk into the lobby of your office building and slip on a wet floor and get injured, you may have a third-party personal injury claim against the owner of the building. In many cases, third-party personal injury claims lead to much higher compensation than workers’ compensation benefits.
Get the help you need
Employers and insurance companies find all kinds of ways to delay or deny workers’ comp benefits. That is why hiring an experienced workers’ compensation attorney is so important. To learn more about getting benefits after a work injury, please see our Georgia Workers’ Comp FAQ.