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Employee Denied Workers’ Compensation for At-Home Injury

Miami Workers' Compensation Lawyer

Qualified Help From a Miami Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

On April 5, 2019, the First District Court of Appeal of Florida ruled that a work-at-home employee could not collect workers’ compensation for an injury sustained during her hours of employment. The case of Sedgwick CMS and The Hartford/Sedgwick CMS v. Valcourt-Williams related to an injury sustained by Tammitha Valcourt-Williams on April 27, 2016. The initial court ruling found for Valcourt-Williams and awarded her workers’ compensation for her injury. The First District Court of Appeal reversed this ruling and denied the claim for workers’ compensation. For workers who have been injured on the job, working with a Miami workers’ compensation lawyer is often the best way to deal with these issues quickly and to achieve the best possible results.

The Lower Court Ruling

Valcourt-Williams was injured when she reached for a coffee cup and tripped over her dog. At that time, she was employed by Sedgwick CMS as a telecommuting claims adjuster for workers’ compensation cases. The Judge of Compensation Claims found in favor of Valcourt-Williams on the basis that the work environment inside her house was legally the to that in the employer’s brick-and-mortar locations. Because these two environments were considered to be equivalent, the lower court ruled that the injury sustained by Valcourt-Williams was incurred on the job and should be covered by workers’ compensation.

A Controversial Decision

The First District Court of Appeal ruled in a split decision that the injury suffered by Valcourt-Williams was not related to her employment duties and thus was ineligible for coverage by workers’ compensation. Writing on behalf of the majority, Judge Allen Winsor indicated that the risks that led to the accident were present independent of whether Valcourt-Williams was working or not working at the time and would have been present even if Valcourt-Williams were not employed.

In a dissenting opinion, Judge Ross Bilbrey indicated that this new interpretation of the law was a reversal of “decades of precedent” and that it undermined the rights of workers who were injured while telecommuting to receive fair compensation for these injuries. The majority disagreed, however, stating that other forms of injuries could reasonably be attributed to the working conditions and would be eligible for workers’ compensation.

Obtaining a Miami Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

For employees who have been injured on the job, retaining the services of a Miami workers’ compensation lawyer can be a good first step toward achieving the best possible resolution for your issues. At the Law Office of David G. Abramovici, our Miami workers’ compensation lawyers can provide you with the best possible options for your case. Call us today at 1-888-833-2843 or 305-749-7080 to schedule a free initial consultation with us. We look forward to the chance to serve you.