With more digital accessibility, many workers are choosing to ditch rush hour and work from home. Some even work remotely full-time. But what happens if you’re injured in your home while on the clock?
In California, workers’ compensation laws cover employees in nearly every industry. This means most workers can receive reimbursement for medical treatment and any lost wages from work-related illnesses and injuries. This also extends to employees who telecommute or otherwise work from home.
Do all remote workers qualify for workers’ compensation?
Workers’ comp laws apply exclusively to employees. Many businesses hire independent contractors or freelancers – these workers are not eligible for workers’ comp.
However, some employers misclassify employees as contractors to avoid certain taxes and premiums. If a contractor is hurt while working from home, they may argue that they were treated as an employee. In these cases, the Division of Workers’ Compensation will look into the claim and decide whether the person should be considered an employee. If they are, they may be eligible for workers’ comp.
What home accidents qualify for workers’ compensation?
The accident must be related to your position’s responsibilities to meet the requirements for workers’ comp. This means it must have happened during your work hours while you were doing something linked to your job.
For example, if you dropped a heavy box of work documents on your foot, that may qualify as a work-related accident. However, if you fell in your driveway while getting the mail during a break, that wouldn’t qualify for workers’ compensation. This is because the task wasn’t connected to your job.
At-home injuries can be tricky to file a workers’ comp claim for. You were probably the only one around when the accident happened. Therefore, it’s critical that you document all details about the accident and resulting injuries. You might also consider contacting a workers’ compensation lawyer for guidance.