In today’s world, remote work has become a popular choice for many employees. This is largely due to the flexibility it affords individuals, with the ability to work from anywhere at any time.
However, with remote work comes a question of eligibility for workers’ compensation. We will discuss the eligibility of remote workers for workers' comp, including what injuries are covered and which ones are not.
Remote Workers’ Compensation
It is important to note that the eligibility of remote workers for workers’ compensation will depend on the specific circumstances of their employment. Workers’ compensation laws vary widely by state, so employers would need to confirm their compliance with these laws based on their location.
Generally speaking, if an individual is hired as a remote worker and is considered an employee of the company, they are eligible for workers’ compensation in the event of an injury sustained while working remotely.
Common Injuries Sustained Working Remotely
Work injuries that would qualify for workers’ compensation include injuries sustained while using company-provided technology (such as computers or telephones), injuries resulting from work-related travel, and injuries sustained while performing work-related tasks. These injuries would be covered, just like injuries that occur in a traditional office setting.
The most common injuries sustained while working remotely are musculoskeletal conditions and repetitive strain injuries:
Musculoskeletal conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome or back pain tend to result from poor posture or inadequate ergonomics. If, for example, an employer fails to provide adequate work-from-home accommodations –a desk, proper chair, etc.– for their remote workers, and an employee gets injured as a result, then the employer may be held liable for these injuries.
Repetitive Strain Injuries
Repetitive strain injuries can also arise from extended periods of desktop use, and vision problems may result from long hours spent staring at a screen. Examples of these injuries range from carpal tunnel syndrome caused by typing on a laptop all day to shoulder and elbow injuries resulting from incorrect posture while sitting by a computer monitor for too long. Additionally, improper laptop or desk setup can lead to neck and back strains that cause severe discomfort for remote workers who don't take regular enough breaks or adjust their equipment every few hours.
What Injuries are NOT Considered Remote Work-Related?
Injuries that occur during personal or non-work-related activities are generally not eligible for workers’ compensation. For example, if an employee is injured while taking a break to go for a run, they would not be eligible for workers’ compensation. It is important to note that injuries that occur outside of normal work hours or that are completely unrelated to the employee’s job duties are not eligible for workers’ compensation.
Protecting the Rights of Injured Workers
Are remote workers eligible for workers’ compensation? The answer is yes if the injury is work-related. It is important for remote workers to understand their rights and responsibilities and for employers to communicate clearly with their remote employees regarding workers’ compensation. Remote workers with questions regarding workers’ comp eligibility should consult an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to obtain advice on their rights and potential for recovery.
If you have been injured at work and have questions or need help, the team at Lanier Law Group, P.A. is ready to help you. Call us at (855) 757-4204 or fill out our online form to schedule your free consultation today.