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Workers’ Compensation for Remote and Telecommuting Employees

Remote workers face unique challenges when seeking compensation for workplace injuries.

Summary

  • Workers’ compensation covers remote workers who are injured while performing job duties during work hours, even at home.
  • Common remote work injuries include repetitive strain injuries, ergonomic injuries, and slips, trips, and falls.
  • Remote workers may face challenges proving their injury is work-related due to the home office setting.
  • A Florida workers’ compensation lawyer can help navigate the claim process, gather evidence, and fight for fair compensation.

The rise of remote work has transformed the traditional workplace landscape. But what happens if you get injured while working from home? Many remote workers face injuries or illnesses caused by their jobs but aren’t sure what options they have.

If you suffer an injury or illness as a result of your work, you deserve fair compensation. An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer like the team at Werner, Hoffman, Greig & Garcia can help you pursue a successful claim. Schedule a free consultation with us by calling (800) 320-HELP or contact us online.

Workers’ Compensation Basics

Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that provides financial protection to employees who get injured or become sick because of their jobs. It’s mandatory for most employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance for their employees.

In exchange for providing this coverage, employers generally get immunity from personal injury lawsuits by employees for negligence related to the work-related injury or illness.

What Does Workers’ Compensation Cover?

Workers’ compensation covers medical expenses, lost wages, and other benefits for employees injured on the job. Here’s a breakdown of the main benefits:

  • Medical care: Workers’ comp pays for all necessary medical treatment related to the work-related injury or illness. This includes doctor visits, surgery, physical therapy, medication, and other treatments.
  • Lost wages: If you’re unable to work due to a work-related injury or illness, workers’ compensation will replace a portion of your lost wages. The exact percentage varies by state, but it’s typically around two-thirds of your average weekly wage.
  • Disability benefits: In some cases, a remote work-related injury or illness may leave you permanently disabled. If this happens, you may be eligible for ongoing disability benefits from workers’ compensation.
  • Death benefits: If a remote worker dies from a work-related injury or illness, their family may be eligible for death benefits from workers’ compensation. This can help cover funeral costs and provide some financial support for dependents.

It’s important to note that workers’ compensation benefits typically only apply to injuries or illnesses that happen “in the course and scope of employment.” This means the injury or illness must have been caused or exacerbated by your job duties.

Workers’ Compensation for Remote Workers

Good news for remote workers: you are covered under Florida workers’ compensation laws. An injury is considered work-related if it happens while the employee is performing work duties during work hours. This applies even when the workplace is the employee’s home.

According to the “personal comfort doctrine,” you’re even covered for injuries sustained while doing activities necessary for personal comfort during work hours, like getting coffee or using the restroom.

Common Workplace Injuries Sustained by Remote Workers

Many remote workers spend most of their time at their desks, which can lead to some common injuries.

Some of the most prevalent include repetitive strain injuries or RSIs, such as:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome: Caused by repeated gripping or pinching motions, often from prolonged computer use.
  • Tendinitis: Inflammation of tendons due to overuse, can affect wrists, elbows, and shoulders.
  • Bursitis: Inflammation of bursae (fluid-filled sacs near joints), common in shoulders and elbows.

Ergonomic injuries are also common. Back pain can be caused by poor posture, sitting for extended periods, or an improperly adjusted chair, and hunching over a computer or looking down at a phone for long stretches can lead to neck pain and eye strain.

Other common injuries in remote workers’ compensation claims may include:

  • Slips, trips, and falls: These can happen anywhere, but work-related falls could occur while rushing to answer the phone or fetching something for work.
  • Electrical injuries: If work tasks involve using electrical equipment at home, there’s a risk of electrical shock.
  • Mental health strains: Working long hours or feeling isolated can contribute to stress, anxiety, and even burnout.

Many of the injuries listed above can be mitigated by a well-designed home office setup with proper equipment. Upgrading your home office can be considered a business expense, which can make it easier to justify the cost.

Challenges in Workers’ Compensation for Remote Workers

Remote workers face unique challenges in accessing workers’ compensation benefits that workers in more traditional settings don’t have to navigate. Understanding these challenges is crucial for remote workers to be more prepared to navigate the workers’ compensation process if a work-related injury occurs.

Some examples include:

  • Blurred lines between work hours and off time: Unlike traditional workplaces, remote work environments can make it difficult to prove an injury happened during designated work hours and stemmed directly from work activities.
  • Establishing work connection: The remote work setting being the employee’s home can make it harder to demonstrate that the cause of the injury is work-related. This is especially true for injuries that could have multiple potential causes, like back pain.
  • Lack of awareness and documentation: Many remote workers may be unfamiliar with their workers’ compensation rights and the claim filing process, putting them at a disadvantage. Additionally, providing concrete evidence of the injury and how it relates to work can be difficult without eyewitnesses or employer oversight readily available.

Discuss Your Options With a Florida Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

Workers’ compensation might seem straightforward, but for remote workers, the process can get complicated. Proving an injury that happened during work hours and stemmed from work duties can be less clear-cut in a home office setting. Don’t give up–a lawyer specializing in workers’ compensation can be a powerful asset for remote workers facing this situation.

Advantages of Working With a Legal Team for Your Remote Workers’ Compensation Claim

Here’s how a workers’ comp lawyer can help you navigate a claim as a remote employee:

  • Cutting through gray areas: A Florida workers’ compensation lawyer can guide you through the complexities of proving your injury is “in the course of employment” for remote work. They’ll strategize how to best demonstrate the connection between your injury and remote work activities.
  • Building a case: Since your workspace is your home, a workers’ comp attorney can assist in gathering evidence to link your injury to your home office setup. This might involve documenting ergonomic deficiencies, witness statements, or establishing a clear distinction between your work and personal areas.
  • Providing expert guidance: Workers’ compensation lawyers understand the complex laws and procedures that govern workers’ compensation. They can also help you navigate the claim filing process and ensure all necessary paperwork is completed correctly.
  • Negotiating with insurance companies: Workers’ compensation claims often involve complex negotiations with insurance companies, who may be reluctant to pay what they owe. An experienced lawyer can advocate for your best interests, appeal a denied workers’ comp claim, and negotiate a fair settlement.

By seeking legal help, remote workers can significantly increase their chances of a successful workers’ compensation claim and ensure they receive the financial support they deserve after a work-related injury.

The team of experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at Werner, Hoffman, Greig & Garcia know what you’re going through, and are ready to help. We are empathetic and supportive advocates for your rights, and our personal injury lawyers have the skills and experience to make a difference.

You can contact us online or call us at (800) 320-HELP to schedule a free case evaluation.


Frequently Asked Questions

Can remote workers recover compensation for pain and suffering in a Florida workers’ compensation claim?

No, Florida workers’ compensation benefits do not cover pain and suffering for remote workers or for traditional employees. Pain and suffering is a type of personal injury damage.

What types of injuries are covered by workers’ comp if I work from home?

Workers’ compensation covers a wide range of work-related injuries and illnesses, including repetitive strain injuries (RSIs) from computer use, ergonomic injuries due to poor home office setup, and even some injuries sustained during work breaks. Contact an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer for more specific information regarding your case.

How do I prove a work-related injury while working remotely?

While proving a work-related injury can be more challenging in a home office setting, it’s still possible. Keep clear records of your work hours, document the injury details, and maintain communication with your employer regarding the incident. A lawyer can also help strategize how to best demonstrate the connection between your injury and remote work activities.

No Win, No Fee Commitment

Werner, Hoffman, Greig & Garcia is committed to helping you rebuild your life after a hardship. We are not just your legal team—we are your allies, your partners, and your advocates. We will do everything we can to handle your case with compassion and care, and to get you the results you need!

“And for every fight we take on, know this…we are doing everything we can to make sure we win!”

— Werner, Hoffman, Greig & Garcia

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About the Author

Adam Werner is a partner and practicing attorney at WHG. He specializes in personal injury cases, workers’ compensation claims, and veteran disability benefits. He routinely writes about personal injury and workers comp topics for the Werner, Hoffman, Greig & Garcia blog

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