The workers’ compensation system helps to ensure that individuals who suffer employment-related harm are not forced to absorb the full financial impact of their situation. Yet, some cases are easier to prove than others. Proving a case of harm sustained somewhere other than an employer’s property, for example, can be challenging.
The eligibility for workers’ compensation for harm sustained remotely depends on various factors, including the specific circumstances of the remote work arrangement and the laws of the jurisdiction where the claim is being filed.
Scope of Employment and Work-Relatedness
In order for an employee to be eligible for workers’ compensation, the injury or illness generally must arise out of and occur in the course of employment. When it comes to remote work, the key question is whether the injury or harm can be considered work-related. Factors that may be considered include:
- Work-Related Activities: If the injury occurs while the employee is engaged in work-related activities or tasks, such as during scheduled work hours or while performing duties assigned by the employer, it may be considered work-related.
- Employer Control: Another factor is the level of control exercised by the employer over the employee’s remote work environment. If the employer has established guidelines, policies or requirements regarding the remote work setup and the injury is a result of noncompliance with those guidelines or policies, it may strengthen the case for a work-related injury.
- Personal Activities: Injuries sustained during breaks or while engaged in personal activities unrelated to work are less likely to be considered work-related unless the employee was performing duties that benefitted the employer at the time of the injury.
These are some of the reasons why it’s important to seek legal guidance and to be cautious on social media when navigating a remote harm claim. Claims adjusters may jump at the chance to reject a claim if it seems that someone’s harm could possibly have been caused by influences that weren’t work-related.