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Are Remote Employees Covered By Workers’ Comp?

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Posted By DAM Firm | May 6 2024 | Workers' Compensation

Remote employees – if you are an actual employee of the company you work for, chances are you can receive workers’ compensation benefits. However, this can get confusing, particularly if a company misclassifies an employee as an independent contractor instead of as an employee. Here, we want to review California workers’ compensation laws so you can see that remote workers typically will receive benefits (or they should), and we want to discuss what you can do if you struggle to recover compensation after sustaining an on-the-job injury or illness.

Are Remote Employees Covered By Workers' Comp

Common Workplace Injuries for Remote Employees

Remote work environments differ significantly from traditional office settings, which can lead to unique occupational hazards. While remote employees are less likely to suffer from injuries like slips, trips, or falls, they are more susceptible to repetitive stress injuries

Conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome or back pain are common due to prolonged periods of sitting and inadequate ergonomic setups. Mental health issues can also arise from the isolation and increased stress of working from home. Identifying these injuries as work-related can be challenging, but they are compensable under workers’ compensation laws if they can be directly tied to the employment activities.

Remote Employees Should Receive Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Under California law, remote employees are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if they suffer a work-related injury. This coverage extends to injuries occurring during work hours and in the course of employment-related activities. 

Remote employees must understand that their home office can be considered an extension of the company’s workspace for the purposes of workers’ compensation. If an injury or illness occurs while performing work tasks at home, it should be covered by workers’ comp.

Complications With Proving the Injury Occurred While Performing Work Duties

One of the main challenges remote workers face in claiming workers’ compensation benefits is proving that the injury occurred during work-related activities. 

Unlike in a traditional office, there are no witnesses or security footage to support a claim that an injury is work-related. Remote workers must, therefore, keep good records of their work activities and any incidents leading to injury. Documentation such as time-stamped emails or work logs can help establish a timeline, while medical records can link the injury to work activities (any person who suspects they have been harmed as a result of work-related activities should go to the doctor right away).

Communication with employers about work conditions and a home office setup is also important. Employees should report any injury as soon as it happens, just as they would in a conventional work environment. Work injuries in California must be reported to employers within 30 days from when the employee sustains the injury or learns that the injury occurred due to work-related duties. 

Additionally, following any recommended ergonomic guidelines and regularly scheduled breaks can help reduce the risk of injuries and strengthen any potential workers’ compensation claims.

Work injury victims should consider contacting an attorney if they experience any complications reporting their workplace injury or recovering compensation for their losses. A skilled workers’ compensation lawyer can examine the facts of the case and help communicate with insurance carriers.

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