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As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, we are often asked, “If I am injured while I am working from home, can I file for Workers’ Compensation benefits?”

The simple answer is “it depends.” Whether you will be able to get compensation from your employer, or whether you will need to rely on your own health insurance depends on the factors below.

How Do You Know Whether You Were Injured on the job?

Workers’ Compensation is granted when an employee is injured in the course of their duties or at their workplace. Since many people are working from home these days, the lines are blurred. The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation usually errs on the side of granting benefits, since it is a win-win situation for everyone. Employees get their wages and medical costs covered, while employers and courts avoid negligence lawsuits.

In the COVID-19 work-from-home era, defining a “work injury” is more complicated. It is much harder to determine whether that injury would have occurred in the scope of your duties, or if you could have suffered the same fate while off duty.

Here’s how to tell whether you may have a claim.

Ultimately, Workers’ Compensation depends on the specific facts of the case. Working with an experienced attorney can help ensure that you get the medical and wage compensation you need. Call Nager, Romaine, & Schneiberg Co. L.P.A. to schedule a free case evaluation today.

2020 and 2021 have seen a considerable worker shortage. The effects of COVID-19 have affected every industry on the planet, from healthcare to long-haul truck driving. The worker shortage is disastrous on many levels—including the potential for accidents on the job.

When businesses are short staffed, the remaining workers are often overworked. As a result, many employees suffer from fatigue. When employees are exhausted, it’s easier for accidents to occur.

If you’re working at a short-staffed business, make sure to advocate for your right to rest. Employers need to support their employees’ health and well-being—or risk an influx of workers’ compensation claims.

How Fatigue Can Lead to Accidents

Healthcare workers have long made a case for getting adequate rest and reasonable hours. Over the course of the pandemic, this has been made more obvious than ever. Nurses and other healthcare professionals are working long, thankless hours and burning out faster than usual, thanks to the increased strain.

This 2014 study found that “[s]hift work and long work hours increase the risk for reduced performance on the job, obesity, injuries, and a wide range of chronic diseases. In addition, fatigue-related errors could harm patients. Fatigued nurses also endanger others during their commute to and from work.”

Of course, this applies to every industry. Whether you work in a bookstore or on a construction site, you’re much more likely to get injured—or sick—when you’re constantly tired. When businesses lack a full staff, the remaining employees tend to take on a heavier workload, longer shifts and more of them. When you’re tired, it affects your memory, perception, motor skills, judgment and your ability to deal with stress; you’re also far more likely to suffer an accident on the job. That can lead to serious injury, time off work, lost wages and, of course, needing to file a workers’ compensation claim.

Protect Yourself Against Fatigue

The best way to protect against fatigue is to get enough rest—but when a business is short staffed, that may not be possible. It is important to find and review the labor laws applicable to your job. If your employer is asking you to violate them by working more hours than legally allowed, or otherwise endangering your health, talk to an attorney about your options.

Your employer should have a vested interest in preventing fatigue-related accidents—the better rested their employees, the less likely they’ll file workers’ compensation claims.

For assistance with your claim, contact Nager, Romaine, & Schneiberg Co. L.P.A. today.

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