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What if a workplace injury happens at home?

The amount of inherent risk for injury varies according to what type of work an employee does each day. There are certain industries, such as construction, agriculture or logging, that are known to be among the most dangerous types of work in Oklahoma and elsewhere. If a workplace injury occurs, one of the first questions that needs to be answered is whether the employer may have failed in its obligation to maintain a safe working environment. Things become a bit more complex, however, if the employee in question works from home.

Nowadays, many people work from home. Advanced technology has made mobile employment a convenient and profitable means of earning an income. If a person is on the clock while working from home and an accident occurs that results in injury, is it considered a work accident or a home accident?

Whether an injury that occurs in a telecommuting work environment is compensable under the Workers' Compensation Act depends on various factors, one of which is whether the employer requested the person to work from home or the worker requested it as a convenience. The Oklahoma Supreme Court overturned a ruling where a judge had determined that a worker's injuries sustained while exiting a telecommuting work site were not compensable because the worker had already clocked out and was leaving the building. The high court noted that, by clocking out and exiting the building, the employee was fulfilling the requirements of his job; therefore, the injury occurred within the scope and sequence of the workplace.

Because a workplace injury that occurs at home or in another mobile location is fact specific, it is a good idea to consult with an experienced Oklahoma workers' compensation attorney from the start if an injured worker plans to file a claim for benefits. An injured worker who works from home would undoubtedly be tasked with proving that an injury occurred in the course of employment. An experienced attorney knows what type of evidence would help establish such facts and what the best course of action might be in a particular set of circumstances.

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