Remote technology allows millions of Americans to work from the comfort of their own homes. However, this does not mean that remote workers are safe from physical injuries. Slip-and-falls, soft tissue injuries and other accidents can still leave you with costly damages.
If you have suffered an injury while working remotely, you are probably wondering whether you can apply for workers’ compensation benefits. The law regarding workers’ comp for at-home employees is very complex, and it varies widely depending on your situation.
Work-from-home and workers’ comp: what to know
If you are on-site at your employer’s company, your employer has an obligation to provide a safe work environment. With some exceptions, an injury that occurs on their premises qualifies for workers’ compensation benefits. The same is not necessarily true when you work from home.
Employers do not typically have the same degree of control over a remote employee’s environment. If you have an accident at your house, apartment or office, your employer’s insurance company is not necessarily liable for your damages.
When can remote workers receive benefits?
For example, let’s say that you get up from your desk to get a drink of water. On the way, you slip and break your ankle. You would probably not receive workers’ comp benefits for this accident because you were not performing a work-related task.
You may only qualify for workers’ compensation if:
- Your injury occurs in the course and scope of your job
- The course and scope of your job exposes you to conditions that increase the likelihood of an injury
The accident in the example that we gave would not qualify you for benefits, but you may have a case against the flooring manufacturer or the contractor who installed it. If, say, you developed carpal tunnel because your employer required you to perform repetitive movements while you worked from home, then you may have a case for workers’ compensation.