Workers Comp for Remote Workers & Work-From Home Employees
With so many people working from home, our workers comp attorneys are seeing more and more cases of employees applying for (and being denied) workers comp benefits for injuries sustained at home. In this article our experienced workers’ comp attorneys discuss the ins-and-outs of collecting workers’ comp benefits for those who work from home.
Work From Home Statistics
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a significant increase in the number of employees who work remotely from home. According to a survey conducted by Gallup in March 2021, 33% of U.S. workers are currently working remotely full time, up from just 2% before the pandemic. In addition, another 25% of workers are working remotely part time. This means that over half of U.S. workers are now working remotely in some capacity.
In California, the number of people working from home has also increased significantly. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the percentage of Californians who worked from home increased from 6.1% in 2018 to 17.6% in 2020. This represents a significant increase in the number of people working from home in the state.
It’s important to note that even before the pandemic, remote work was becoming increasingly popular. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the percentage of U.S. workers who worked from home at least part of the time increased from 19% in 2003 to 24% in 2019.
Many employees have enjoyed the benefits of remote work and are now continuing to work from home in some capacity even after the pandemic is over. But while working from home can make life easier for many employees, it does offer a significant disadvantage when it comes to collecting workers compensation benefits for employment related injuries.
Remote Worker & Work-From-Home Employees Injuries
While working from home eliminates some of the dangers of the work place, remote or work-from-home employees are not immune to work-related injuries and illnesses, despite being outside of a traditional workplace environment.
Some of the most common work-related injuries incurred by remote or work-from-home workers include:
- Musculoskeletal injuries: The most common injury is musculoskeletal injuries, which occur due to poor ergonomics or repetitive strain. These types of injuries can be caused by sitting in a poorly designed chair, using a poorly positioned computer, or performing the same motion repeatedly.
- Eye strain and vision problems: Spending long hours staring at a computer screen can lead to eye strain, fatigue, headaches, and vision problems.
- Mental health issues: Remote or work-from-home workers can experience mental health issues such as stress, anxiety, and depression due to factors such as social isolation, difficulty balancing work and personal life, and lack of structure.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were approximately 29,490 cases of musculoskeletal disorders and 1,160 cases of vision problems reported for office and administrative support workers in the United States in 2019. However, it is important to note that the BLS does not currently track remote or work-from-home workers as a separate category.
In California, the Department of Industrial Relations reported that in 2020, there were a total of 92,860 reported work-related injuries and illnesses among all industries. While specific statistics on injuries among remote or work-from-home workers are not available, it is likely that a portion of these injuries were incurred by individuals working remotely.
Workers Comp for Remote Workers
Under many circumstances, remote or work-from-home employees are entitled to collect workers’ compensation benefits if they are injured while performing work-related tasks. In general, workers’ compensation laws cover injuries or illnesses that occur in the course and scope of employment, regardless of where the work is being performed.
However, determining whether an injury is work-related can be much more challenging for remote or work-from-home employees compared to those who work in a traditional office environment. Because remote workers are not physically present in the office, it may be more difficult to determine – and prove – whether an injury is work-related.
The law states that to be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, the injury or illness must have arisen out of and in the course of employment. This means that the injury or illness must have occurred while the employee was performing job-related tasks. For example, if a remote employee is injured while lifting boxes of company supplies from their car to their home office, they may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits because the injury occurred while performing a work-related task.
Similarly, if a desk worker develops carpal tunnel syndrome from computer work, they are entitled to collect workers comp – whether the computer work that caused the Carpal Tunnel was performed in an office or at home.
Workers Comp Attorneys for Work-From Home Employees
However, collecting workers’ comp benefits for work-related injuries can be more challenging for remote or work-from-home employees than for those who work in a traditional office environment. This is because remote workers are not physically present in the office, making it more difficult to determine (and prove) what happened to cause the injury and whether or not an injury or illness is work-related.
One of the main challenges for remote workers is proving that the injury or illness was caused by a work-related activity. Because remote workers do not have a fixed workplace, it can be more difficult to establish that the injury or illness occurred while the employee was performing job-related tasks. For example, if a remote worker falls down the stairs while taking a break, it may be more difficult to establish that the injury occurred while performing work-related tasks.
Another challenge is that remote workers may not have the same level of supervision as office-based workers. This can make it more difficult for employers to determine whether the injury or illness was caused by a work-related activity. For example, if a remote worker suffers from carpal tunnel syndrome due to excessive typing, it may be more difficult to determine whether the condition was caused by job-related activities like typing or personal activities like playing golf or racquet ball.
For this reason, it is important for remote or work-from-home employees who are injured on the job to report their injury to their employer as soon as possible, as well as seek medical attention with supporting documentation as soon as possible. The workers comp application requires substantial documentation of the injury or illness, such as medical records and reports, as well as other supporting documents.
Work-from-home employees should also consult with an experienced workers’ comp attorney to help them navigate the complex process of filing a claim and pursuing benefits. A specialized workers comp attorney can help injured remote workers with the necessary paperwork and documentation, communicating with insurance companies and medical providers, and ensuring that the workers’ rights are protected throughout the process.
The workers comp attorneys at Cantrell Green can also provide guidance on how to appeal a denial of benefits and can represent remote workers in hearings and other legal proceedings.
Workers Comp Attorneys for Work-from-Home & Remote Employees
Collecting workers’ comp benefits for work-related injuries can be significantly more challenging for remote or work-from-home employees due to the unique nature of their work arrangements. So, they should consult with an experienced workers’ comp attorney to help them navigate the complex process of filing a claim and pursuing benefits.
Whether you were hurt at the workplace or while working from home, the specialized workers comp attorneys at Cantrell Green can help you receive the compensation you need to recover from your injuries and move forward with your lives.
Work-from-Home & Remote Employees Workers Comp Attorneys: 800-964-8047