The New Jersey law on workers’ compensation is purposefully broad. The state legislature wanted to be certain that employers and insurance companies covered the workplace injuries of each and every employee without loopholes or technicalities disqualifying an eligible worker. However, these laws were also designed for traditional places of work, and today’s employment landscape is far from traditional.
The digital age is changing how we connect, interact, and work. More people are requesting and accepting remote employment. This includes people that work from home, set up shop in a co-working or shared space, telecommute, and even live as digital nomads. In fact, the number of Americans working in a remote or telecommuting position now tops 40%.
We addressed how and when the workers’ compensation laws applied to a New Jersey work injury that occurred in these work setups in an earlier blog post. Now, we want to address the top tips a remote employee should take to ensure he or she receives workers’ compensation.
Tip #1: Make the Cause of Your New Jersey Work Injury Clear
Remote employees enjoy a lot of freedom. For some people, this is the freedom to work anywhere, while others appreciate the freedom of flexible work hours. This flexibility and decreased structure can present some problems if a remote employee suffers a New Jersey work injury while on a break or engaged in a non-work activity.
Just because you are hurt between the hours of 9:00 am and 5:00 pm doesn’t make you eligible for workers’ compensation. Falling during a quick trip to the store, a car accident running a kid’s carpool, or pulled neck muscle from vacuuming midday don’t qualify for New Jersey workers’ compensation. Rather, it is the nature and cause of the injury that determines workers’ compensation eligibility, not the time of day.
Therefore, in filing your claim for workers’ compensation in New Jersey, you want to be very clear how you were hurt. Give as much detail and evidence of the cause and nature of your injury as possible. This may include photographs, personal account, and a doctor’s evaluation.
Tip #2: Report Your New Jersey Work Injury Right Away
One of the most important things an employee can do is report his or her New Jersey work injury in a timely and efficient way. It’s imperative for your workers’ compensation benefits that a manager and HR know of your injury and surrounding circumstances. However, reporting is easier for employees that work in an office, warehouse, or hospital than those working on a remote basis.
You do not need to notify your work injury in person, you may write an email or make a phone call to a manager or HR representative. It’s best if you can notify your place of employment right after an injury. Particularly for remote employees, immediate reporting prevents suspicion of falsity or inaccuracy by an employer or insurance provider.
Tip #3: Only Provide Necessary Details to the Insurance Company
An insurance provider will contact you after a claim for workers’ compensation is made. The insurance representative that calls or schedules a meeting will likely have a number of questions and concerns about your workers’ compensation case. These questions can center around the cause of your injury, the severity of the harm, and necessity of medical treatment. You want to keep responses to these questions succinct and concise. Don’t provide more information than what is asked.
And always speak with a New Jersey lawyer if the questions or demeanor of the insurance representative makes you feel uncomfortable or uncertain about your answers.
Tip #4: Collect Evidence of Your Work Conditions and Location
Employers have far more control over the hazards and risks of a traditional work environment. For example, the decision to move a printer cord or fix a faulty machine is well within the employer’s control. This isn’t always true for a remote employee, and both employer and insurance company are likely to have questions about your surroundings and work environment when a New Jersey work injury occurs.
The best way to prepare for these questions is with indisputable evidence. This can include photographs of where and how you were injured or statements that an employer approved your workspace. Sometimes you even want to show specifics of your workspace, such as your chair, desk, sitting position, or give a written description of your day.
Tip #5: Review Your Remote Work Policy
Most employers now have a remote or telecommuting work policy that is provided to each remote employee. Within this policy should be information on work hours, expectations, equipment to use, reporting and checking in with superiors, and designated or mandatory work areas. If you need more information on how to read this policy or advice on how the policy could impact your workers’ compensation claim, speak with a New Jersey workers compensation lawyer.
Albert J. Talone is a New Jersey lawyer focused on cases involving workers’ compensation claims disputes, and appeals. Our office in Southeastern New Jersey has helped hundreds of New Jersey employees, including remote employees with information and representation during workers’ compensation cases. Now, we are prepared to help you. Call the Law Offices of Albert J. Talone at (856)-234-4023.
The information in this blog post (“Post”) is provided for general informational purposes only. This information may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this Post should be construed as legal advice from The Law Office of Albert J. Talone or the individual author, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter.