Injuries at home may be covered by workers’ compensation

Workers who are hurt on the job can generally expect to have their injuries covered by worker’s compensation. But in some cases, this benefit can extend even to workers who are injured at home, as long as the worker was hurt while engaging in a work-related activity.

For instance, an Oregon woman worked for J.C. Penney as a custom decorator. Though J.C. Penney provided her with an office that she shared with others, she usually worked from her van, traveling to and from appointments at customers’ homes.

She suffered a broken wrist in her own garage when she stumbled over her dog while trying to move fabric samples into her van.

J.C. Penney argued that she wasn’t entitled to worker’s compensation because the injury didn’t arise out of her employment.

But the Oregon Court of Appeals disagreed, ruling that because the employer didn’t provide space for her to perform all her necessary work tasks, she was required to work in her home and her garage.

Therefore, the court said, those areas were part of her “work environment,” and any injuries she suffered as a result of risks in those areas – such as tripping over her dog – arose from her employment.